By H. Wadowski
With 24 world-class championship golf courses tucked into an area the size of Manhattan, it’s no wonder the International Association of Golf Tour Operators named South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island the 2016 North American Golf Destination of the Year. Sure to score a hole in one with golfers of all types, the Hilton Head Island golf experience offers an array of challenging courses, many of which showcase the area’s natural beauty.
HARBOUR TOWN GOLF LINKS AT THE SEA PINES RESORT
Home to South Carolina’s only PGA TOUR event, the RBC Heritage, this acclaimed Pete Dye-designed golf course reopened in September after undergoing a series of course enhancements. The tee boxes, fairways and rough were replaced with Celebration bermudagrass, the most technologically advanced surface used on warm season courses, and the greens were re-grassed with TifEagle ultradwarf bermudagrass. Consistently ranked among Golf Digest’s top courses, the 18-hole, par-71 course features a collection of par threes ranked among the world’s finest, as well as a par-4 18th hole overlooking Calibogue Sound that’s considered one of the most feared in golf. seapines.com
ROBBER’S ROW AT PORT ROYAL GOLF & RACQUET CLUB
This 18-hole, par-72 course was designed by noted architects George Cobb and Willard Byrd in the early 1970s before being redesigned by Pete Dye in 1994. Set atop former Civil War grounds, the course is rich in history and features historical markers throughout describing events that took place on the island. Sure to pose a challenge to any golfer, it is located on the scenic marsh side of the Port Royal Plantation and cuts through beautiful strands of magnolia and live oaks. hiltonheadgolf.net
ROBERT TRENT JONES COURSE AT PALMETTO DUNES OCEANFRONT RESORT
Boasting one of only two oceanfront holes on Hilton Head Island, this 18-hole, par-72 course is sure to challenge golfers of all skill levels, especially when breezes roll in from the Atlantic Ocean. In addition to its dramatic par-5 10th hole, widely considered one of the most spectacular holes in the United States, the course features wide fairways, expansive greens, challenging bunkers and subtle elevation changes. Designed by Robert Trent Jones and Roger Rulewich, it is considered one of the best golf courses in the Southeast and has been designated a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. Not only will golfers see a wide variety of birds during a game, but they might also spot some alligators! palmettodunes.com