Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort

Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort With the opening of one of Hilton Head’s first golf courses more than 40 years ago, the Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort played a key role in the island’s eventual evolution into one of the world’s most renowned golf destinations. Now, 40 years later, Palmetto Dunes is again redefining the golf and vacation experience on Hilton Head, further enhancing the legend of this small barrier island off the South Carolina coast.

Long the home to three of Hilton Head’s finest golf courses, Palmetto Dunes has now evolved into a fullservice resort offering visitors to the island the complete vacation experience both on the links and away from them. From world-class golf, relaxing accommodations, three miles of oceanfront beach, tennis and a host of other outdoor activities, Palmetto Dunes offers the entire Hilton Head menu, all within its gates.

Indeed, there’s a reason why Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort was recently rated the top Family Resort in the U.S. by Travel and Leisure Family Magazine. In addition to the 54 holes of championship golf, the resort offers visitors a world-class tennis center featuring more than 25 clay and hard courts, a host of water sports supported by a full Outfitters Center, a private resort-access beach and dozens of shopping and dining options all within the resort property.

Add to all that a multitude of villa options to fit most group sizes and one can see why Palmetto Dunes is among the most popular destinations on Hilton Head. Tying it all together, the resort offers free transportation throughout the resort, including Shelter Cover Marina, where most of the dining and shopping is located.

“Unless maybe to go grocery shopping, our guests never have to leave the resort,” said Bret Martin, vice president of Hilton Head Island operations for owner Greenwood Communities and Resorts. “We offer the Dunes Buggy to get people around the resort, so our visitors really can just park their car and forget about it.”

No. 9 on the Robert Trent Jones Oceanfront Course.

The entire experience notwithstanding, Palmetto Dunes is best known for its trio of golf courses – The Robert Trent Jones Course, The Arthur Hills Course and the George Fazio Course . While all three layouts offer their own unique personalities and challenges, they share the same high level of pristine conditions and customer service that one would expect on Hilton Head. Almost to a pain-staking level, the resort pays close attention to the “little details” that can make or break a golf course.

“We’ve made improvements to the drainage on our courses and to the landscape and general areas around the course,” Martin said. “And we now over-seed all three golf courses.”

In 2007, Palmetto Dunes took its facilities to yet another level with the introduction of the air-conditioned “Coolwell” golf carts that help keep golfers comfortable during the summer months.

The new X2 Segway Golf Transporter

The Palmetto Dunes courses are the only facilities on the island that offer the air conditioned carts and do so at no additional charge to the golfers.

“I was skeptical at first, but the ‘Coolwell’ carts really do make a difference,” Martin said. “It really makes an impact for golfers during the summer. It makes it more enjoyable.”

In addition to the carts, Palmetto Dunes also offers Segway Golf Transporters for players looking for the “walking experience” without all the, well, walking. The Segways, which must be booked in advanced and do require a 10- to 15-minute training session before the round, will go forward and backward at a speed up to 12.5 mph and come equipped with an attachment that’ll keep your golf bag balanced.

“This year we added the new X2 Segways that feel sturdier,” Martin said. “It really feels like you have something underneath you.” While these additions undoubtedly enhance the golf experience, it’s the courses themselves that create the lasting memories at Palmetto Dunes. Taken as separate parts, each course provides memorable challenges; taken as whole, they provide an unforgettable golf experience.

The Coolwell air conditioned cart

“All three of these golf courses can play differently depending on the tees you play,” Martin said. “Hills is the tighter of the golf courses and Fazio is known for its smaller, well-protected greens. And, of course, at Trent Jones you have the oceanfront holes.”

Perhaps the most decorated and well-known of the three, the Robert Trent Jones layout offers one of only two true oceanfront holes on Hilton Head Island. In fact, the par-5 10th that runs out to the Atlantic Ocean is among the most photographed holes on Hilton Head. It is, however, only the icing on a very good cake. The layout, which was completely renovated a little more than five years ago to a tune of more than $3 million, was rated by GolfWeek Magazine readers among the best courses in the southeast. Eleven of the course’s 18 holes play along and across the resort’s unique 11-mile lagoon system, creating a great emphasis on accuracy and strategy throughout the round.

No pushover by any means, the Arthur Hills Course pays tribute to the designer himself with rolling, treelined fairways and green complexes that require accurate shots to hit. Hills, who himself has called this course among the finest he ever crafted, carved the layout among breathtaking strands of palmetto trees and rolling dunes, which provide stark elevation changes that will quickly make one forget they are playing island golf.

Segway Personal Golf Transporter in action

Standing guard behind the challenging par-3 15th hole is the Leamington Lighthouse; an island landmark that legend has it is haunted to this day by the famed “Blue Lady.”

You want a real haunting, leave Palmetto Dunes without finishing the golf trifecta with a stop at the Fazio Course. One of the youngest ever to land in the Golf Digest Top 100, this unique par-70 layout offers perhaps the most challenging mix of par-4s on the island.

Like the Jones Course, many of Fazio’s most challenging holes, including the long par-3 17th, play alongside or across the resort’s lagoon system, creating equal emphasis on length and accuracy.

Led by former PGA Tour player Doug Weaver, Palmetto Dunes is complements its courses with a worldclass instruction program. A daily golf clinic featuring the stroke of the day takes place at the Jones Course, and with an instructor-student ratio of 6:1, individual attention is the club of choice. Additionally, the resort offers a free golf clinic each and every Monday at 4 p.m. at the Jones Golf Center.

No. 16 of the Arthur Hills Course at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort

With so much to offer and so many options to choose from, the Palmetto Dunes Resort offers its soon-tobe visitors with a full-service reservation center and soon an all-inclusive Internet site where every aspect of a Hilton Head Island vacation can be booked.

The new site, which will carry the same url – – will allow visitors to not only book golf and accommodations, but also other outdoor activities such as tennis, kayaking, boating on the lagoon system and even group dinners or events at the resort’s beach club.

Palmetto Dunes doesn’t just limit this all-in-one, full-service experience to visitors to the island. For the first time, the resort is offering to Beaufort County residents a Golf Plus Member Program.

Doug Weaver, Director of Instruction Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront ResortThe social membership will provide residents of Beaufort County with year-round access to the three championship golf courses for a low annual fee ($395) and unrivaled cart and greens fees ($49 regular; $39 twilight). The program allows members up to 72-hour access to reserving tee times and access to seasonal specials and membership events as well as year-round discounts on pro shop apparel and golf equipment.

So whether it’s creating the vacation of a lifetime or just making life a little better every time, the Palmetto Dunes Resort continues to redefine and, in many ways define, what Hilton Head Island is really all about.

For more information on the Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, or to book your next golf or family vacation, log onto or call 800.827.3006.


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