Low country landscapes highlighted by lush borders, verdant fairways and meticulously trimmed greens feature sweeping water views, vivid flowering plants and trees draped in lacy Spanish moss. A premier destination for golfers, Hilton Head offers all the luxury and vacations that adventurous golfers dream of.
The best way to enjoy a golf getaway in Hilton Head is to organize a group of four golfing friends and book a resort package for a villa and select tee times. Alternatively, you can book your own accommodation; there are a host of villas to choose from and a few brand name hotels. When booking your own tee times, you may need to book well in advance if you want to be assured of choice game times.
The cheapest way to play is to share a villa and book tee times after 12pm – twilight times usually come with a discounted rate. Due to the volume of players on the island, clubs are mindful of the pace of play and closely monitor the movement of golfers, so completing a round is generally not an issue. It’s the heat and humidity of the afternoon that will get you.
Hilton Head’s lower elevation courses are generally flat. For golfers in other parts of the country where you have rolling lies, undulating fairways and blind tee shots, you’ll find that less of a case here. Don’t be fooled into thinking that your turn will be a piece of cake, on the contrary, there are plenty of sneaky and challenging moves in your future.
There are more than 30 public, semi-private and private lessons in the Hilton Head area for your golfing pleasure. Many championship courses are open to the public, and of course, depending on who you know, you may be able to access one of the private courses.
Hilton Head’s main season rates are on target for quality courses; however, great deals can be had during off-peak seasons or when you book a golf package with one of the resorts or golf groups. Each course listed below has been assigned an in-season price range according to the breakdown below.
Up to $150 per golfer
$$ Between $150 and $250 per golfer
$$$ Between $250 and $350 per golfer
$$$$ Over $350 per golfer
To note: Some information in this article was obtained through a sponsored press trip, but all recommendations are my own.
1. Harbor Town Golf Links, The Sea Pines Resort
The best of the best on Hilton Head, Harbor Town Golf Links, that’s where the big kids play. The cart path course was designed by Pete Dye with consultation from Jack Nicklaus and is home to the RBC Heritage Classic on the PGA Tour.
Professional caddies accompany you on your link game. For this course, forecaddies are required and they serve as ambassadors for the Harbor Town Golf Links while providing you with all the yardages, strategies and green readings to make your game both enjoyable and achievable.
The forecaddie program began in 2007 and one is required for each foursome on the Harbor Town Golf Links course and is optional on their Heron Point by Pete Dye and Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love III courses. John Farrell, PGA, Director of Golf Operations at Sea Pines Resorts,
noted, “Our caddies have servant hearts and our guests can feel it. They accompany golfers by indicating sight lines, targets, course knowledge, reading greens, raking bunkers, and much more. They serve as a group concierge.
The Sea Pines courses have been connected to the Maritime Pine Forest Reserve since 1970. The reserve is a protected habitat for local wildlife where walking and exploring trails take you deep into the wilderness of the Hilton Head Lowlands. Farrell noted, “We have a high level of environmental sensitivity. We use natural and organic materials instead of harsh chemicals, blending the course into the natural environment. We are very careful not to disturb the health of our fauna and plants. This is not always obvious to the casual observer. However, Sea Pines Resort prides itself on being an environmentally responsible resort.
Farrell recommended visiting and “Enjoying all that Sea Pines has to offer; golf, tennis, biking, boating, fishing, epicurean delights and ambiance.” Playing and staying at Sea Pines Resort is like immersing yourself in bayside golf. Magnificent water views of Calibogue Sound and the Harbor Town Lighthouse are your reward for hitting the 18th hole at Harbor Town Golf Links.
Pro tip: If you want to attend the RBC Heritage Classic, be sure to book your tickets and accommodations in advance.
2. Arthur Hills Golf Course, Palmetto Dunes
the Arthur Hills Golf Course at Palmetto Dunes is one of Hilton Head’s golfing gems. The tight course gives you the opportunity to try risky approaches that may (or may not) reward your go-for-it ball-striking.
The first hole sets the tone for your game, a delicate par 4, it will test your accuracy. Classic Hill dunes, rolling fairways and waterholes make the quest for the pin pleasantly challenging. The par-3 of the 8th hole is above water and requires a certain finesse of landing.
The Arthur Hills Golf Course will help you perfect your shooting accuracy while enjoying the beautiful low country setting.
Pro tip: Lots of water and close shots here, so bring your precision and patience.
3. Oyster Reef Golf Club, Heritage Golf Collection
The 6th hole at Reef Oyster Golf Club offers one of the most spectacular views imaginable. The par-3 green is perched on the edge of Port Royal Sound, making it difficult to concentrate on the pin.
This classic course offers wide fairways and large greens. It is playable for an advanced beginner, and experienced golfers will find it fun and challenging. Along the edge of the course are beautiful homes and lush landscaping with classic low country charm.
Pro tip: Make sure you have your camera ready to capture the view from the 6th tee.
4. Heron Point by Pete Dye, The Sea Pines Resort
Redesigned by Pete Dye, Pointe du Heron offers golfers seven sets of tees on each hole allowing you to choose your poison with the Dye tees clocking in at 7,035 yards of play. Conversely, you can choose the junior tees to significantly shorten the course, making it playable for confirmed beginners.
Part of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary program, the landscape of the course creates a stunning backdrop for every shot. At Sea Pines Resort, you’ll encounter nature at every turn. The ecological station is a paradise for birds, plants and local fauna.
Known for his iconic par-3 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course, Dye brings the same challenging approaches to Heron Point. Get ready to experience a spectacular round of private club-style golf accessible to the general public.
Pro tip: Bring your spirit of adventure and go for the long haul.
5. Robert Trent Jones Course, Palmetto Dunes
the Robert Trent Jones Course at Palmetto Dunes is synonymous with magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean. No slicing or snagging here, or you’ll find yourself in the trees pretty quickly. Tree-lined fairways and sandy bunkers will catch your ball.
Their signature par-5, 10th hole is tough to land on the green in three, but the reward of the elevated green is a quintessential ocean view.
Pro tip: The ocean winds come to play on several holes.
6. Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love III, The Sea Pines Resort
The third course at Sea Pines Resort is Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love III and was completely rebuilt from the old Ocean Course. The Love team incorporated the natural beauty of the island by showcasing the vistas at their best.
The par-3 15th hole offers spectacular ocean views that can disrupt your concentration. The natural lowland landscape brings golf nirvana to your game while putting your skills to the test.
Pro tip: Bring your precision shots to stay clear of the course’s strategically placed traps.
7. Robber’s Row, Port Royal Golf And Racquet Club, Heritage Golf Collection
The row of thieves is one of three courses at the Port Royal Golf Club; the other two are Barony and Planter’s Row. Conceived by George W. Cobb and Willard C. Byrd then redesigned by Pete Dye, the project resulted in a beautifully designed and challenging 18 holes.
The holes are surrounded by stands of magnolias and live oak trees dripping with airy Spanish moss. Small greens and narrow fairways make it difficult to stay clear of the trees.
Pro tip: History buffs will appreciate the markers along the route highlighting the area’s Civil War history.
8. Shipyard Golf Club, Heritage Golf Collection
the Shipyard Golf Club is unique in that it offers three 9-hole courses that expand your 18-hole options, from advanced level suitable for beginners to challenging for the seasoned golfer. The three courses, the Clipper Course, the Galleon Course and the Brigantine Course, allow you to combine all three and play a 9, 18 or 27 hole course that combine to exceed your golfing expectations.
Wide fairways lined with mature trees and beautiful homes make this flat course perfect for the advanced beginner but can challenge the expert golfer.
Pro tip: Mix and match your 9-hole game to create a round that complements your golf prowess.
9. George Fazio Golf Course, Palmetto Dunes
the George Fazio Golf Course at Palmetto Dunes is a local favorite and is ideal for golfers just starting their swing. The par-70 course has just two par-5 holes, making it suitable for beginners. With a mix of open and narrow fairways, the George Fazio Golf Course offers challenging and rewarding play.
Pro tip: The small greens will test your chipping skills.
When you head out on your Hilton Head golf getaway, The Best Things To Do On Beautiful Hilton Head offers dining options, stays and activities to enhance your golf getaway experience.