Birthplace of Sports Illustrated Monument – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina - Atlas Obscura

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Birthplace of Sports Illustrated Monument

The story of the country’s most famous sports magazine began at a historic Myrtle Beach golf club. 

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At many of the country’s storied golf clubs, just as much history is made off the greens as it is on them. Case in point: the story of Henry Luce and Pine Lakes Country Club.

By the 1950s, Henry Luce was something of a self-made magazine magnate. He founded Time, Inc with his Yale classmate Briton Hadden in 1922; the two dreamed of, and succeeded in, founding a weekly news magazine. In 1929, Luce founded Fortune as a luxury magazine; in 1936 he bought and completely revamped Life.

By the late 1940s, Luce began to wonder whether he might expand his portfolio with a sports magazine. The idea was unpopular with his peers and even his advertisers; Luce was barely even a sports fan. But in 1954, the determined businessman directed 67 Time Inc. employees to convene in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to make a plan for a sports magazine. The location he chose was the scenic Pine Lakes Country Club. The magazine they created was called—you’ve probably heard this one—Sports Illustrated. It launched on ​​August 9, 1954. While it didn’t turn a profit for a full 12 years, its longevity has proven Luce right. Today, Pine Lakes pays tribute to this story with a memorial plaque.

The plaque is free to visit and open to the public, easily in view outside at the country club. Inside, the club has a room called “History Hall,” which includes information on the history of the club as well as more detail on the Sports Illustrated story. They’ve even got a copy of the first ever issue of the magazine.

Whether you’re a golfing fan or a Sports Illustrated fan or just a magazine fanatic, you’ll want to swing by the club for a glimpse of history—and maybe a round of golf to cap it all off.

Know Before You Go

The golf club is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. No admission is required to visit the monument or the hall of fame.

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