Hilton Head Island. Just saying those three words instantly puts you in a better mood as your mind envisions the relaxing nature of the Lowcountry with pristine beaches and bucket list golf.
Hilton Head is without a doubt one of the golf meccas in the United States, with the island highlighted by The Sea Pines Resort, the home of Harbour Town Golf Links.
Golfers all over the world instantly recognize the famous lighthouse beyond Harbour Town’s 18th hole, but that’s just one element of why this is such a special destination.
The golf: Harbour Town Golf Links
The Sea Pines Resort is best known for one of the most famous golf courses in the United States, Harbour Town Golf Links.
Harbour Town has quite the story, as this Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus collaboration is at the center of modern golf course architecture. This is the course that really put Pete Dye on the map, and it also ignited the flame inside Nicklaus in course design, leaving the golf world in Harbour Town’s debt, as who knows if they would exist had it not been for the success of this epic collaboration.
Harbour Town Golf Links captivates you from the opening tee shot, and it doesn’t let go until you reach the famous 18th hole with the red-and-white striped lighthouse framing your approach shot along the water. All you need to know about the genius of the design of Harbour Town is to look at the list of who plays well at the RBC Heritage. Davis Love III has won the event five times, a notorious power player in the game of golf. The tournament has also been a fruitful event for the likes of Graeme McDowell, who won the event in 2013, and it’s hard for a year to go by without seeing Luke Donald’s name high up on the leaderboard here.
The course requires a balance of imagination, accuracy, and touch rewarding those who bring all facets to their game to this famous destination. What this means is that the course is gettable for all types of players, and it can be as rewarding as it is penalizing depending on how you make your way around this genius design.
There’s a reason why the 18th hole gets all of the attention that it does, but our favorite part of this golf course is the collection of par-3s that include:
- No. 4: A 200-yarder over the water that continues up the left side of the green
- No. 7: A very unique hole that features two oak trees greenside, as well as a horseshoe bunker around the front and sides of the green.
- No. 14: A tree-lined hole with an exceptionally difficult green that features water all the way down the hole and up the right side. This hole has crushed quite a few dreams of players hoping to dawn the tartan jacket during the RBC Heritage.
- No. 17: As you approach the green on 16 you can look over and get your first reveal of 17, a beautiful hole along the Calibogue Sound. It features a 90-yard bunker along the front left that can actually save some shots from finding the water, and two bunkers long and right that make for a difficult up-and-down. You’ll find the marsh if you’re a bit long here which is easy to do on back pins as the wind coming off the water can leave even the best players scratching their head.
This is one of the game’s most treasured designs, and it’s the type of course you’ll want to play over and over again.
The golf: Atlantic Dunes
Originally called the Ocean Course, which was the first golf course on Hilton Head Island, Atlantic Dunes was recently redesigned by Davis Love III and Mark Love to reinvigorate the property, and as you’ll see they knocked it out of the park. It can be tough to take on a renovation when you know that people are going to constantly compare it to Harbour Town Golf Links, but the Love brothers did an exceptional job with Atlantic Dunes, as the course brings a challenging and visually appealing look that blends the natural sand dunes and the integration of coquina to highlight the waterside feel.
The highlight of your round will be the par-3 15th hole, a long and slightly uphill hole that features a bulkhead-lined waste bunker up the middle and left side of the hole, with the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean and palm trees for your Instagram-worthy pic of the day.
The redesign of Atlantic Dunes brought the overall golf experience at The Sea Pines Resort to another level, and it’s a must-play in any itinerary during your visit to Hilton Head Island.
The golf: Heron Point
Any time you get Pete Dye involved in the development of a golf course, you know that you are going to be in store for a day of fun challenges. Dye is known for visually playing tricks on golfers, and Heron Point is a great example of how he can play with your mind. It has been said that if you look back from the green on many of Dye’s holes, you’ll see that what looked menacing from the tee was actually very playable. Heron Point epitomizes that as the course provides a mixture of risk/reward holes that can allow you to score if you play with your brain and not brawn.
All three of these courses will satisfy your golfing needs and provide you with one of the most memorable golf trips of your life.
Accommodations: The Inn & Club at Harbour Town
When you step into the lobby at the Inn & Club at Harbour Town, you know you’ve arrived at the ultimate in luxury that Hilton Head Island has to offer. This newly designed boutique hotel features 60 luxury rooms that give you the sense of the Lowcountry feel alongside exceptional service for a relaxing stay. It’s only a few steps away from the recently renovated 26,000 square foot Harbour Town Clubhouse that features a variety of dining options and makes for the ultimate in convenience for your tee time. Guests of the Inn are afforded a slew of amenities including seasonal beach concierge service, complimentary valet parking, complimentary use of adult bikes, internet, preferred dining reservations and tee times, two hours daily of court time at the Sea Pines Racquet Club, and access to the pool and fitness center.
Accommodations: Hilton Head Vacation Rentals
If you are looking for more of an independent experience for your group or family during your stay, Sea Pines has more than 400 different villas, condos and vacation rental homes to choose from. The condos are a popular choice for many golf groups as it gives you and your crew the ability to have well-appointed rooms and the convenience of a shared living area to recap the day’s adventures with a cold one or two. There is a ton of variety in these selections, and it gives the Sea Pines team the flexibility to customize your experience on property for a group of any size.
The Sea Pines Resort is one of those resorts that every golfer simply needs to cross off their list before they hang up their clubs. As an iconic resort in one of the best golf destinations in the country, Sea Pines can be a one-stop shop for all of your golfing needs. If you’re looking to play even more golf, there are plenty of other options in the area that we love as well and feel free to email us at Groups@golfstayandplays.com if you need any advice on how to maximize your experience at The Sea Pines Resort and Hilton Head Island.