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Story by Ian Guerin
MYRTLE BEACH S.C. | For much of Pine Lakes Country Club’s nine-decade existence, the golf course found ways to set itself apart.
Originally opened in 1927, it has lived through money issues during the Great Depression and multiple ownership changes, different names and even a redesign. It continued to exceed expectations during a golf explosion that began in the 1960s and eventually led to as many as 100 courses comprising South Carolina’s Grand Strand.
On Monday October 16th, Pine Lakes started looking a little more like the course with the storied history again.
Following nearly a year of discussions and execution, the staff returned to its Scottish-themed outfits - knickers, knee-high socks and polos for the bag drop staff; kilts, button-down shirts and bow ties for starters; plaid baseball-style caps for most of the employees.
“It is what we’re known for and we should embrace the history and traditions we are fortunate enough to have,” Pine Lakes Head Golf Professional Jonathan Brock said. “It has taken some time for it to all come together, but with the relaunch of the new uniforms we’re excited.”
The updated look is a tribute to not only the game’s origin, but also that of Pine Lakes designer Robert White. Originally from St. Andrews, Scotland, White relocated to the States, became the first president of the PGA of America and then designed Myrtle Beach’s inaugural golf course a few years later.
During the third ownership tenure, it adopted the nickname “The Granddaddy”, and it has hung onto that status throughout. For as many other playing options are now available, there can be only one first.
This week, the old/new-look staff went back to the days when ownership of that status was loud and clear.
In addition to the outfits, Pine Lakes will re-start its chowder and mimosa traditions - served on-course during specific months of the year - in March and June, respectively. Over the last several days, the staff received their new threads and were able to try them on, many for the first time.
“They hear about the old tradition day in and day out from our guests,” Brock said. “I think this is an opportunity for them to [play a bigger role at] Pine Lakes. They know they are about to be part of something special. This whole thing starts with the staff and customer service. They have to buy in to make it successful, and I believe they have.”
This wasn’t exactly new territory for the club, as employees wore a similar get-up prior to the course’s redesign and re-opening in 2009.
Now in kilts, knickers and the rest, the staff will again be the well-garbed gatekeepers to a par-70 layout that has continued to thrive for 90 years.
“I think the course speaks for itself,” Brock said. “Obviously, it is an old design right in the middle of Myrtle Beach. It does not have the flare of some of the new modern designs, but that is part of what we’re doing. We were always known as ‘The Granddaddy’ and these changes just let people know we are serious about our history.”