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Myrtle Beach, S.C. — Playing Myrtle Beach’s first golf course, Pine Lakes Country Club, just doesn’t feel complete without a steamy bowl of its savory clam chowder.
And now, Pine Lakes officials are sharing a page from their cookbook on two versions of the famous Manhattan Clam Chowder.
The original recipe began in 1981 with Shirley Poulter, who was the food and beverage manager at the time at Pine Lakes. Poulter would mix the tomatoes, potatoes, celery, clams dill, fat back, and seasoning together to make the clam chowder. An employee would then station himself just outside the first hole and ladle the chowder into bowls for hungry golfers.
“You knew when you got to that hole, you were going to see him and you were going to get the chowder,” said Mary Bell, current food and beverage manager at Pine Lakes. “Having the chowder has long been a tradition associated with playing this course.”
Pine Lakes celebrated its 90th birthday in 2017. 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.
Bell said the chowder was served between 9 a.m. and noon, and was given outside as a lure to bring golfers in to the clubhouse for a complete meal. After a short hiatus in 2010, Pine Lakes began serving the chowder indoors and now offers it on its menu during operating hours.
“It was amazing how many people would come in here and say, ‘Where’s the chowder?’” Bell said of the hiatus. “As far as our soups, we have our house soups and we have chili, which are homemade. But when they know they can get the chowder, they’ll order the chowder. “It’s a big seller. When we run out, I hear about it because people are upset.”
Lois Spoto, director of food and beverage for the parent company of Pine Lakes, Founders Group International, said keeping people who have visited Pine Lakes happy is part of the reason for delivering the clam chowder recipe to the public.“Our guests have enjoyed the Manhattan Clam Chowder at Pine Lakes for decades, and we felt it was time for our golfers to bring home a taste of their visit,” Spoto said. “We know the importance of the rich traditions Pine Lakes has, and the clam chowder is one of the richest, and tastiest, traditions among all of our 22 golf courses.”
Bell said although there have been variations to the recipe over the years, the object to release the recipes was to reach golfers who may have enjoyed the original chowder or the new recipe. “It’s part of the history,” Bell said. “As the staff outside have gone back to wearing the kilts and the knickers, the guests who came here in the 80s, 90s and the 2000s remember that, and they remember the chowder.”
Note: Bell said Poulter used memory and taste as opposed to portions for her recipe.
4 No. 10 Cans Tomatoes
Salt, Pepper and Garlic
2 ½ lbs. Diced celery
2 ½ lbs. Diced onions
10 lbs. Potatoes (Largely Diced)
1 lb. Clam Base
7 Quarts Water
1 No. 10 Can of AP Tomatoes
3 51-ounce Cans of Chopped Clams
5 Bay Leaves
2 Tbsp Old Bay
2 Tbsp White Pepper
3 Tbsp Dried Thyme
1 Tbsp Salt
Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil
Allow to simmer for at least one hour
Chill thoroughly before refrigerating
Cover and refrigerate
Since 1927, Pine Lakes Country Club has been a favorite of Myrtle Beach golfers. Nestled in the heart of Myrtle Beach, the graceful Southern architecture of the Clubhouse symbolizes the deeply rooted history and tradition of the Grand Strand. Pine Lakes was built upon natural dunes less than a half mile from the ocean and features numerous freshwater lakes and rolling fairways. Designed by architect Robert White, the first president of the Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) of America and a co-founder of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, Pine Lakes has surpassed its initial glory after a complete restoration.
After an extensive renovation to the golf course and clubhouse, golfers now experience the Granddaddy as it was in the spirit of the 1920s. The back nine reflects White’s original design and the front nine was renovated to enhance the elegant experience golfers from around the world associate with Pine Lakes Country Club.