The Sea Pines Resort - Experience the Appeal of Hilton Head's Most Famous Destination

The Sea Pines Resort - Experience the Appeal of Hilton Head’s Most Famous DestinationA voracious reader and Ivy League educated lawyer, Charles E. Fraser was known for his tendency to preside over spirited intellectual debates. With that said, it’s hard to fathom how the founding father of The Sea Pines Resort could’ve convinced the PGA Tour to bring professional golf’s premier circuit to this tiny island community.

It’s an especially remarkable achievement when you consider that Hilton Head’s total population a little more than a dozen years prior to his deal with the Tour wasn’t too far off from the crowd you’ll find gathered around the 18th green on the weekend during this year’s Verizon Heritage.

The PGA Tour accepted his offer to stop in Hilton Head. One of its most talented young players even helped build the venue – Harbour Town Golf Links, a collaboration between upstart designer Pete Dye and legend-in-the-making Jack Nicklaus. Arnold Palmer won the first Heritage Classic in 1969, and the championship course collected rave reviews from the most respected golf scholars of the day. Fraser’s vision of building an environmentally-friendly, yet world-class resort that blended golf, real estate development and recreation all while catering to a cross section of generations had come to fruition.

Hilton Head had become a nationally-recognized destination overnight, and that almost instantaneous attraction experienced more than 40 years ago has persisted.

Sea Pines Resort

“The legacy continued to grow as we added new courses, by highly-acclaimed architects in a relatively small area,” said Cary Corbitt, director of the sports division for The Sea Pines Resort. “The beach, the natural beauty, the water sports, world-class tennis, miles and miles of bicycle and leisure trails throughout the area also supported the island’s reputation as a world-class destination, as did the unique land-use covenants and policies put into place by [Charles] Fraser. That helps make the island especially unique from other competitive destinations.”

Today, The Sea Pines Resort is synonymous with Hilton Head Island and continues to preserve Fraser’s legacy. It has deservedly earned a reputation as one of the last unspoiled, upscaled family vacation destinations in America.


The narrow corridors of Harbour Town Golf Links have witnessed a procession of Hall of Fame players during the course’s run as host of the annual PGA Tour event that awards its champion a tartan sports jacket. Currently ranked by Golf Digest as the No. 13 golf course in the nation in its biennial listing of America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses, Harbour Town keeps elite company.

But your name doesn’t have to be Nicklaus, Palmer or Norman to play this Lowcountry landmark. Harbour Town is open to the public year-round, and like its sister courses within Sea Pines, has made a commitment to accommodating families by offering junior tee placements and instructional programs for women and children designed to welcome new players to the game.

Harbour Town Golf LinksIts championship yardage has been extended more than 300 yards since Pete Dye barely made it out of a bunker prior to the first competitive PGA Tour round on the course more than 40 years ago, but like Hilton Head, Harbour Town has remained true to its roots.

Highlighted by a signature 18th hole that borders often blustery Calibogue Sound and flows toward the barrier island’s iconic candy-striped lighthouse, Harbour Town is a true shot-maker’s layout shaded by overhanging trees shrouded in Spanish moss, protected by bunkers, some more unusual than most, built using railroad ties and bulkheads and punctuated by petite greens.

Wildlife is also abundant, so don’t be surprised if you cross paths with an alligator or snowy egret whose frail body is supported by little legs thinner than the carbon fiber shafts on your golf clubs. In a 1970 Sports Illustrated article entitled ‘A Course with Rare Bite,’ distinguished sportswriter Dan Jenkins wrote of the course, “Moody, scenic, mossy, watery, creaturish, inventive and demanding – all of this is Harbour Town Golf Links, a course to strike the old golfer with new fantasies. What better can happen to the game?”

Heron PointEager to emerge from Harbour Town’s shadow the other 51 weeks of the year are The Ocean Course, which holds the distinction of being Hilton Head’s first ever golf course, and the recently transformed Heron Point by Pete Dye, another brainchild of golf’s most esteemed modern architect.

Named to Golf Digest’s “Best Places to Play” list in 2009, Heron Point is Hilton Head’s latest must play design. had this to say of the reconstruction that spawned Heron Point, “An extreme makeover of the island’s second oldest layout, a 1966 George Cobb product called Sea Marsh. Cobb was a pretty fair talent, once serving as consulting architect for Augusta National, but he could never have contemplated what Pete Dye has wrought. In a nutshell, Dye retained the old corridors and most of the trees, but transformed everything else, turning marshmallow into monster, but one that’s fun to play.”

The Ocean Course As the inaugural golf course built on Hilton Head, and one of only two layouts where golfers can gaze out at the Atlantic, a certain aura of originality emanates from The Ocean Course. A classic design emblazoned by bunkers and bordered by lagoons, this scenic course was exquisitely rebuilt by Mark McCumber in 1995 and welcomes both novices and veterans.


Within the friendly confines of The Sea Pines Resort, world-class service and amenities are the standard. The attention to detail by the staff along with a dose of Southern hospitality, breathtaking Lowcountry landscapes and a tremendous breadth of recreational opportunities offered at the 5,000-acre oceanside resort have brought visitors back again and again. It’s not surprising to see second and third generations who’ve continued a family tradition of visiting Hilton Head’s most famous destination.

In addition to unparalleled golf courses, The Sea Pines Resort is home to award-winning tennis facilities, five miles of beautiful Atlantic Ocean beach, a labyrinth of paved trails for biking/running/walking, a 605-acre forest preserve, a splendid equestrian facility and a collection of gourmet restaurants. A variety of shops are also scattered throughout Sea Pines, including the unique specialty stores found at Harbour Town and the South Beach Marina.

The Sea Pines Resort

Guests of The Sea Pines Resort can choose from a variety of options including home and villa rentals (which can be customized by location, proximity to the ocean and level of luxury) and rooms at the prestigious Inn at Harbour Town, recipient of the AAA Four-Diamond Award seven years running and Forbes’ Four-Star label in consecutive years.

Immerse yourself in the incomparable luxury of The Sea Pines Resort, Hilton Head’s most distinguished retreat.

Discover the countless reasons why repeat guests and newcomers have descended upon this timeless destination since it was developed by the imaginative Charles Fraser in 1956.

For more information on a Sea Pines vacation, golf packages or real estate, please visit


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