Hilton Head - The Golf Island

While many golf destinations struggle to stay true to successful pasts, Hilton Head Island has never lost sights of its glorious roots. From the day the first course was born on Hilton Head in 1961 to today, the island golf community has always vaued quality over quantity – a belief that has earned Hilton Head the reputation as The Golf Island.

Hilton Head, which truly began its journey to treasured golf destination with the 1969 opening of Harbour Town Golf Links -- host course to the PGA TOUR Heritage Classic for more than three decades, boasts more than 20 public golf courses featuring the works of great architects such as Arnold Palmer, Arthur Hills, Robert Trent Jones Sr., Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus.

But Hilton Head has never been about the number of courses it hosts, but rather the quality of those courses. From design, to conditioning to service, Hilton Head Island’s golf community has always strived for, and often reached, perfection.

To be sure, the Hilton Head menu features just about every flavor of golf one could want. Traditional parkland courses with tree-lined fairways and challenging water hazards; breathtaking Lowcountry layouts with marsh and wetlands creeping close on numerous holes; and even links-style courses reminiscent of the Old World each call Hilton Head home.

Though forever tied to its past, Hilton Head and its golf courses have never been afraid to embrace change. Two years ago, Harbour Town Golf Links underwent an extensive multi-million-dollar renovation to ensure the future of the celebrated Pete Dye-designed course located in Sea Pines Plantation.

Following that lead, Robert Trent Jones Oceanfront at Palmetto Dunes took the first half of 2002 off for some extensive renovations. Popular architect Roger Rulewich, who helped on the original construction of the course more than 30 years ago, returned to make the improvements to the resort course. If it wasn’t before, the renovations, which included drainage improvements, slight routing changes, rebuilt greens, the addition of several water hazards and improved views of the Atlantic Ocean on the 10th and 11th holes, have made this a “must-play” on the island.

It is, however, one of only several Lowcountry unforgettables. In addition to the Trent Jones course, Palmetto Hall and Palmetto Dunes offers four other layouts, including a pair of Arthur Hills designs, which golfers annually rate among the finest on Hilton Head.

In addition to Harbour Town, Sea Pines offers two other resort courses, including the Ocean Course, which, along with Robert Trent Jones Oceanfront, offers the only views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Port Royal Plantation and Shipyard Plantation are home to five American Golf layouts, including the difficult yet enjoyable Robber’s Row and Planter’s Row courses. Indigo Run Plantation offers the Jack Nicklaus-designed Golden Bear Golf Course, one of many Lowcountry courses created by Nicklaus.

Great golf neither ends nor begins at the bridge to the island, as the mainland offers a number of unforgettable layouts as well. Sister courses Old South Golf Links and Old Carolina offer vastly different, yet equally memorable experiences. Similarly, Eagle's Pointe Golf Club and Crescent Pointe Golf Club, two of the newest additions to the Hilton Head golf scene, have brought the first Davis Love III and Arnold Palmer creations to the area.

With the addition of a new nine designed by Bobby Weed, Hilton Head National now boasts 27 holes of championship golf, including 18 designed by the legendary Gary Player.

The beauty found on Hilton Head’s courses is only part of the natural landscape of the area. Miles of beautiful beaches wait when off the links, and nature preserves are found throughout the island. Water activities such as dolphin cruises, boat tours and sunset cruises are popular among visitors to the Lowcountry.

The same level of quality and service that exemplifies Hilton Head’s golf is found in its accommodations, dining and nightlife.

From beautiful oceanfront, full-service hotels, to elegant villas overlooking the ocean or a golf course, the island features some of the finest accommodations found in the Carolinas. Major hotel chains The Westin Resort & Spa, Hilton Oceanfront Resort, The Marriott Beach & Golf Resort, The Crowne Plaza Resort and Holiday Inn Express all feature oceanfront properties, and offer custom stay and play packages.

In addition, golf villas located right on some of the finest layouts on Hilton Head, including Sea Pines and Palmetto Dunes courses, offers golf groups luxurious private accommodations and access to great golf experiences.

Since golf can only be played during daylight, nighttime activities are a must, and Hilton Head has that covered as well. Dining options run the entire menu from unforgettable seafood, terrific American cuisine and active casual bars and grilles. After dinner, the Island offers cigar bars, brew houses, sports bars and dance clubs.

Indeed, at its core, Hilton Head will always be “The Golf Island ” but one trip to this beautiful Lowcountry island, and you’ll find it’s really about so much more.


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