Myrtle Beach's First Golf Course, Pine Lakes Country Club, Turns 90 Years Old

September 21, 2017


Myrtle Beach, South Carolina - Myrtle Beach’s first golf course, Pine Lakes Country Club, will celebrate its 90th birthday this Fall. Originally known as Ocean Forest Golf and Country Club, the course was rechristened as Pine Lakes in the 1950s, and both the course and the clubhouse underwent a $27 million renovation in 2009. The birthplace of Sports Illustrated, the course’s clubhouse is on the National Register of Historic Places.

“Pine Lakes provides an enjoyable test of golf, as well as an opportunity for golfers to learn more about the history of Myrtle Beach golf,” said Steve Mays, acting president of Founders Group International, owner of Pine Lakes. “We have both the history hall and the Myrtle Beach Hall of Fame on site. To celebrate its 90th birthday, we’re bringing back some of the traditions that were part of the Pine Lakes experience in the past. Those who play Pine Lakes will feel steeped in tradition and treated to a golf experience unlike any other in the Carolinas.”

The original Ocean Forest course was designed by Scottish architect, Robert White who later became the first president of the Professional Golfer's Association (PGA) of America and co-founder of the American Society of Golf Course Architects. White came to the United States from Scotland to study agronomy, then became a golf professional and worked as a greens keeper in Massachusetts, New York, and Illinois. A pioneer in the area of scientific turf grass management, he came to South Carolina to build the Grand Strand's first golf course.

When it opened for play in October 1927, the original layout was 27-holes. Plans were then completed for a clubhouse and Inn which would open in 1930. When Ocean Forest was built, it was just the second development in Myrtle Beach.

Ocean Forest Golf Club and Inn, designed by celebrated New York architect Raymond Hood, opened as one of the first major hotels in Myrtle Beach with 38 guest rooms. A newspaper from that time noted that it was state-of-the-art and included indoor plumbing and electricity.

The club was renamed Pine Lakes in the early 1950s when purchased by Fred Miles. Miles gained national attention for Pine Lakes by promoting the facility as the “Granddaddy” of Myrtle Beach golf.

In 1954, Pine Lakes became another part of history when Time-Life executives met there to discuss and create what is now Sports Illustrated magazine. After its initial publication, the first issue of Sports Illustrated was sent to Pine Lakes and is still proudly on display in the clubhouse.

In 2014, Pine Lakes became one of 22 Founders Collection golf courses in Myrtle Beach. Less than half a mile from the ocean, Pine Lakes continues to be known for its rich history, pristine clubhouse, and numerous freshwater lakes. The par-70 course features water on a dozen holes, deep soft-sand bunkers, fairways that roll over natural dunes, and elevated greens.

Although it is has a place in history, Pine Lakes is also at the forefront of modern day golf in Myrtle Beach. It is the first course along the Grand Strand to use SeaDwarf Paspalum grass, which requires less irrigation and fertilization to grow and thrive. Also used at The Ocean Course at Kiawah, S.C., this warm-season perennial grass is known for tolerating high salt content in irrigation water which makes it ideal for Myrtle Beach’s seaside climate. Paspalum is used on Pine Lakes tee boxes, fairways, rough, and on the greens.