On my first visit to Hilton Head a few years back I was a golf beginner and so Hilton Head golf was not a top priority: it was all about the sun and fun surrounding the island.
My husband and I chose to stay at Sea Pines Resort, a 5,000 acre sprawling enclave of rental apartments, villa rentals, hotels and an inn spanning a third of the entire Island. The Resort is also home to Harbour Town Golf Links, home to the PGA Tour's Verizon Heritage event (congrats to Jim Furyk!) Harbour Town is also named as one of the ten most beautiful golf courses in the country by ForbesTraveler.com and crowned as the number twelve resort course in the nation.
Although I considered it essential to have access to the amenities which make the stay in Hilton Head more than just a golf vacation; spa, fine dining and even bicycling beachfront, Sea Pines Resort also has four pro shops, vital for any golf vacation, and there are a plethora of shops, craft stores and dining options to indulge the family.
In addition to Sea Pines, Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort is also a worthwhile vacation option. Golf Magazine awarded this retreat a Silver Medal as one of the country's "Top 75 Resorts" and the Resort equals the beauty of Sea Pines so either decision will leave you with a rich vacation experience.
The choices of where to play golf, how to get the best Hilton Head tee times and what to see on the Island are expansive and that is where we needed assistance. While my husband insisted on 36 holes of golf per day, I limited him to one round. Come on, we took the vacation to be together!
Sure, the lighthouse visible on the 18th hole of Harbour Town make it a shoo-in for a visit and a photo-opportunity but, with an assortment of high-end golf courses, it is no wonder that Golf Digest readers named Hilton Head Island number 'ten' on its list of the world's best golf resorts!
Considered a "modern masterpiece" and designated as a "Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary", Heron Point at Sea Pines underwent a multi-million dollar restoration and was reopened in 2007. It is considered both dramatic and difficult and is located only a mile from Harbour Town.
Heron Point Hole 4
One of the oldest golf courses on Hilton Head Island is The Ocean Course at Sea Pines. Although you will see lagoons and water everywhere, you will barely see the ocean here. This course was also awarded a "Beginner Friendly" award from the National Golf Course Owners Association!
The 40-year-old Robert Trent Jones Course at Palmetto Dunes Resort is not too difficult for the average golfer but you need to make good shots or be punished if you don't! The Arthur Hills Course at the same Resort is surrounded by palmetto trees and, if you're looking for a visual spectacle, the elevation changes will take your breath away.
Arthur Hills Golf Course
Palmetto Dunes also offers Segway X2 personal transporters and air-conditioned golf carts, if you have trouble walking or pulling a cart around the golf course. Ah, the modern comforts of life...hope a drink cooler is attached too!
One important reminder for golfers who have not yet traveled to South Carolina: alligators will come up and "greet you" on every course with no shame. They are hungry and looking for food!
The salty ocean air, the traditional southern charm and the ability to play golf on some of the best courses in the United States make Hilton Head Island in South Carolina a vacation experience worth investigating and experiencing but I issue you fair warning. Once you visit Hilton Head Island for the first time, you will yearn for a return trip!