Pine Lakes’ location on Granddaddy Drive is quite fitting, as the course, built in 1927, is the granddaddy of all the courses on Myrtle Beach’s Grand Strand. Robert White, the PGA’s first president, designed the course and encompassed the area’s natural dunes into the layout. The course recently underwent a massive renovation which included moving holes and bringing much of the course back to White’s original vision. While the course is on the National Register of Historic Places, it is still up-to-date for today’s game.
The course was originally built in association with the legendary Ocean Forrest Hotel. After the hotel’s destruction, it became the focal point and went from 18 to 27 holes. The recent renovation brought the course back to 18.
Craig Schreiner redesigned the course with White’s original plan in mind. His goals were to keep the Scottish feel of the course, try to maintain 16 original holes, add two new holes to accommodate the new entrance, introduce SeaDwarf Paspalum grass (which tolerates high-salt-content irrigation and requires less fertilization), use local bunker sand and contour the course to allow rain channeling. A massive undertaking! The results make this a mustplay for any Myrtle Beach excursion. It is a part of true Americana golf history.
Hole 1 (343 yards, par 4)
Schreiner’s design eases golfers into the course with three relatively straight holes in a row. This first hole was formerly Hole 10. The redesign raised the fairway 15 feet and enlarged the pond and bunkers. From the tee box, drive your ball center right for the best approach to the green. Errant shots left might make the pond. Two large bunkers guard the front of the largest green on the course.
Hole 2 (195 yards, par 3)
The conversion of Hole 11 into Hole 2 added a large mound to separate holes 1 and 2 and moved the tee box to the left but maintained a tree corridor. Drive your ball over a small pond into the prevailing wind. The hole lies straight ahead of you and does not have any particular gimmicks. Bunkers guard both the right and the left sides of the green on your approach shot. A natural hazard lies behind the green.
Hole 3 (463 yards, par 4)
Originally Hole 12, the redesign has turned this former par 5 into a par 4. The course architects likened this hole to the famed Augusta National, with pine trees lining the fairway and a pond next to the green. The pond was enlarged and moved closer to the green. Both of our foursomes cursed architect Schreiner for this design. Your drive should be placed slightly left of center to take most of the pond out of your approach shot. Your choice is to place the ball over the pond to the green or shape the ball around the left side, rolling up to the green.
Hole 5 (529 yards, par 5)
This is a new addition, replacing the old 18th hole, which was removed to build a grander west entrance to the club. It is a dogleg left with natural hazards that you need to shoot over off the tee. Your drive is best placed slightly right so you can maneuver the ball for your second shot. Big hitters might be able to reach the green in two, slamming a perfect shot to the small green. The approach bunker was created to follow Robert White’s original design, similar to the fairway hazards on holes 4 and 15. A large, deep, greenside bunker often catches golfers as they shoot for the green.
Hole 10 (554 yards par 5)
Hole 10 was formerly Hole 1 and is a long par 5. A forward tee was added, and the landing area was raised three feet, with soil added to the fairway. This is a drive-hole dream. You can bring out your best driver and hit to this straight fairway with plenty of room. Your second shot should be your 3-wood. Give it all you’ve got to make it to a mid-iron shot to the green. Three bunkers protect the green; there are also an approach bunker right of the green and two bunkers on either side. The green was restored to its original size and shape but was raised an entire foot from the fairway.
Hole 14 (438 yards, par 4)
Hole 14 was formerly Hole 3, with the tee box shifted south and back and the landing area raised to help improve drainage and fairway conditions. On this slight dogleg right, drive your ball off the tee to land slightly right of center for the best position to the green. The pond was enlarged and made more visible from the tee — it comes into play on your second shot. The green was raised about a foot and returned to White’s design and size. Mounds were added to screen Kings Highway behind the green.
Hole 17 (415 yards, par 4)
Heading home, you come to Hole 17, which was formerly Hole 6. This is classic White design, with the feel of the old course. The fairway was extended and a blind water hazard was removed, but the pond in front of the tee box was enlarged. From the tee box, drive your ball to the center or center left of the fairway. Pines extend left in a peninsular shape, which can block balls right of the green. The approach and greenside bunkers were restored to the original design and deepened, much to the chagrin of my group. This green was also enlarged and moved slightly south to its original size, shape and design.
Hole 18 (450 yards, par 4)
The finishing hole, formerly the second hole, is not a disappointment. The wind here is a huge factor, as its direction is ever-changing. From the tee box, you can see the restored clubhouse on the left. The landing area was raised to help soften shots and keep them in play. The pond was extended and lies just right of the landing area to catch errant shots. The approach area was also extended at the right and rear of the green. An abundance of swales and moguls makes for interesting lies. From the tee, it is best to land left center, then try to reach the green with a long-iron or wood. Avoid the pond on the right or, like my fellow golfer John Ecklund, make a trick shot from the water hazard!
Pine Lakes Country Club
5603 Granddaddy Drive
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
tel 843 315 7700
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