Heritage Golf Group

The folks at the Heritage Golf Group promised to build on the rich tradition of each of their unique properties when they first came to Hilton Head Island late in 2004. Not satisfied with 99 holes of golf when they arrived on the island, they added te two 4-Star Palmetto Hall Plantation Club courses in ’05 and also did extensive renovations on their original acquisitions.

Now they’ve brought in one of the most renowned golf schools in the world with the opening of the Carolinas’ first John Jacobs Golf School at the Port Royal Golf and Racquet Club. The new golf school, a new clubhouse for Port Royal, continued improvements to all 135 holes of golf on the Golf Island and even to its centralized reservation system makes it hard to argue when the Heritage Collection calls itself the ideal solution for the perfect Hilton Head experience. 

With over 35 years in golf instruction, the John Jacobs Golf Schools have successfully offered 15,000 golf enthusiasts a year a very practical approach to become better golfers, and (maybe more importantly) their own best teachers.

Their variety of 2 and-3-day schools will feature full-swing instruction, short game work and specialty classes for individuals and groups. “This partnership with the Jacobs Golf School and the Westin Resort (adjacent to Port Royal) emphasizes our continued commitment to become the premier golf destination of choice, “ said Director of Operations Ray Dznowski. “Now our members and guests will enjoy some of the best instruction in the country and then carry it over to any one of our seven championship courses.”

The opening of a brand new clubhouse at Port Royal this summer will also raise the bar at one of Hilton Head’s most unique golf and tennis resorts. The new 15,000 square-foot clubhouse set under a canopy of oaks and magnolias, with a bar and grill for guests, a private area for members, and a 68-hundred square-foot veranda wrapping around it all replaces an Antebellum-style facility that had begun to show its age.

But the Heritage folks like to think of their style as more than just additional programs and new projects. What they want you to experience is the “Heritage Touch” that they think will distinguish your visit with them from any other clubs in the area.

Beginning with a world-class reservation system you can access online at www.hiltonheadgolf.net or by calling 800-2-FIND-18 that not only books your tee times but can offer you fabulous stay-and-play package deals for the entire family with the island’s most popular resorts; to their “Bobby Jones” greeter, clad in traditional plus-fours, that sets a warm and comfortable mood for your golf odyssey; to the golf shop staff that is more knowledgeable about its apparel and equipment because they’ve been through an extensive training program; all of Heritage’s staff are “golf people” who love and respect the game and its traditions.

But they’re also well aware that if the greens aren’t in great shape, it won’t matter how many smiles you see. The Palmetto Hall Plantation Club courses underwent extensive renovations in 2005, restoring their huge greens to the original designs of Arthur Hills and Robert Cupp and new Champion Bermuda grass installed tee-to-green. In 2006, the bunkers at the Oyster Reef Golf Club were rebuilt, adding to the character of the great Rees Jones design.

But the best thing about the Heritage Collection is that it is indeed a “collection” of unique golf experiences. The service and course conditions can be held to a specific high standard, but it is the variety of the golf that forges the separate identities at each club.

The two Palmetto Hall Plantation Club courses share a marvelous piece of island real estate, yet are as different as their designers and namesakes, Arthur Hills and Robert Cupp. The Hills Course has towering pines and moss-draped oaks framing its lush fairways, with par-5s that allow you to be aggressive but par-4s that demand precision. The first and last holes, both long par-4s with water down one side, are the two toughest. The signature 18th that wraps around a serene lake that tightens both the tee and approach shots, could be the best finishing hole anywhere on Hilton Head Island.

Former GolfWorld Architect of the Year Robert Cupp put an interesting signature on his layout, computer-generating many angular edges on his greens, bunkers and berms. With water in-play on 17 of the 18 holes, it can be one of the Island’s toughest layouts (with a rating and slope of 75.6/149 from its 7100-yard tips) and yet also one of its most playable (at 69.9/124 from its 6000-yard white tees).

The new bunkers are just one of the challenges at the Rees Jones-designed Oyster Reef, within the Hilton Head Plantation. From its two back tees, you’re asked to hit tee shots through narrow chutes of tall Carolina pines, with no parallel fairways to keep alive an errant tee shot. But from the 6000-plus yard white tees, Oyster Reef is a lot of fun, if you bring your short game. The treacherous par-3 sixth that plays out to Port Royal Sound and is protected by a huge, amoeba-shaped bunker, is the signature hole, but the challenge of a finishing fivesome of holes, four great doglegs and a full-water-carry par-3, might be what brings you back again, and again.

A terrific trio of 9-hole layouts can be played in any combination at longtime tourist favorite Shipyard Plantation, where the island’s wildlife is on full display. The parking pass to enter the plantation even comes with a warning not to feed or provoke the alligators, something you’ll understand as you weave your way through the 27 holes, 25 of them with water in- play. Miller Barber and Lee Elder were among the winners when Shipyard played host to the Hilton Head Seniors International in the mid-1980s.

The Planter’s Row course at Port Royal has also hosted the Seniors International. The Willard Byrd design has narrower fairways and more undulating greens than its two sister courses at Port Royal. The Barony Course, designed by George Cobb, might be the most player-friendly, but with water on 14 holes has more than its share of risk-reward opportunities. Pete Dye updated Cobb’s Robber’s Row design in 1994 through stands of majestic magnolias and live oaks over the grounds of Fort Walker, a Union outpost during the “War of Northern Aggression,” as folks down here like to call it. Port Royal also features a nationally-recognized tennis center and a croquet lawn.

With all those amenities and 135 holes of golf, the Heritage Collection can offer unprecedented value, variety and convenience through their centralized reservation center, with packages including nearby resorts, some that even provide shuttle services to the courses. And now with the John Jacobs Golf Schools at Port Royal, you can mix game-improvement with an unmatched level of relaxation.

For tee times and personalized package information, visit them online at www.hiltonheadgolf.net or call 800-2-FIND-18.

 

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