When we finished playing up in Cleveland last week, one of the fine fellows we met there was a Myrtle Beach regular. When we told him we were South Carolina bound, he provided us with a list of the courses he recommended we play. We were already committed to a round at Arrowhead GC and I needed to fill the first two days we were in Myrtle Beach. Mike Garufi’s list included a couple of musts, one being the very time honored Pine Lakes Golf and Country Club one of 21 courses here in Myrtle Beach under the management umbrella of The Founders Group International. . He gave us a couple of tidbits as to why this should be high on our list in a place that has over 90 golf courses from which to choose. He informed us of two things that perked my interest. First, Pine Lakes is the oldest golf course in Myrtle Beach. Second, it has the distinction of being the location where the masterminds who started Sports Illustrated first met and set the groundwork for the inauguration of a sports only magazine.
We entered the pro shop in the beautiful white washed plantation style clubhouse and there organizing shirts and stocking shelves was our host Mr. Jimmy Biggs. There’s nothing like seeing the GM/Head Professional working the front lines that sets a great example to the entire team. The response I received from Jimmy Biggs, Head Professional/GM of Pine Lakes, was very encouraging so I decided that we would start our 3 course review at this iconic course. The weather was absolutely gorgeous when we woke up – clear skies heading to a high of 80F. We arrived at the course and breathed a sigh of relief as we drove up the road to the entrance. After playing numerous rounds on severely undulating courses the landscape here was just what we needed; basically flat and inviting.
Jimmy took a few minutes away from his merchandising duties and in his very friendly manner made Myra and I feel like we had been lifelong members as he showed us the interior of the gorgeous clubhouse and telling us about its illustrious past.
He left us in the capable hands of Tara in the Robert White Pub where we enjoyed a very delicious lunch. I highly recommend the grilled cheese and chili, seriously, it’s that good. Now if you aren’t that hungry, but need a little snack Pine Lakes follows a tradition that’s been in place for decades; complimentary clam chowder served outside before tee off. Given how warm the day was, lemonade may have had a better uptake, but Ron was a real gem of a guy and if you said no to his clam chowder his warm personality made it worth the stop.
As the course lacks a driving range we spent some valuable time getting used to something very foreign to us in the west coast of Canada; the dreaded Bermuda grass. After 15 minutes of chipping and putting we felt ready to go and our disdain for Bermuda was quickly disappearing. There are some necessary ingredients to a great day golfing and some of those had already been covered. A welcoming, friendly pro, great food served in a professional way and excellent weather. Playing the course would obviously be the key determining factor and of course on a busy day we would be paired with another twosome. This can make or break a day.
We were introduced to 2 of the nicest golfers you could ask to play with and for once I was the odd man out. Our playing partners were two awesome gals, Theresa and Gwen. Not only were they friendly and really fun to play with, but these 2 gals had game and on numerous holes all 4 of us ripped drives right down the middle of the a fairway. What a delightful foursome we were.
The course is not one of those jaw dropping, oh my God courses, that are often more of a distraction. There’s no waterfalls, 3 tiered greens or 10 feet deep unplayable bunkers. What you are presented with is a traditional layout, something that is often lost in the world of modern golf course design. The course was in very good condition and not at all punishing to play. How many times have you played a course which beats you down, destroys your confidence and empties your golf ball pouch too? There were a few holes with modest sized ponds to carry, but nothing insurmountable at all. Off the tee landing areas were generous, the ball sat up nicely. The greens rolled beautifully and even when you went into the rough, the grass length was not overly penal.
On what was a very hot day the cart girl was ever present. There were also water coolers at many of the tee boxes to stay hydrated. The course has numerous very rewarding holes 3,5, 9 and 17 were excellent holes, 9 probably being the most rewarding and visually stimulating. We finally caught up to a foursome in front of us after about 13 holes so it was a little slow going to finish but we actually finished under the magic 4 hour mark in an area of the US where some courses are cursed with 6 hour rounds. Myra wrapped it up perfectly mid round when she said it was a “ very pretty, gentle course”.
After a thorough cleaning of the clubs by the eloquently dressed outside staff resplendent in their plus 4’s we bid a friendly farewell to our 2 new golfing buddies, vowing to come back and play another round with them at the wonderfully, rewarding historical Pine Lakes Golf and CC aka “The Granddaddy”. Start your own Myrtle Beach golf vacation here too. www.pinelakes.com 1 843 315 7700