Whether you’re planning a golf trip or not, you should plan to play a game of golf when you visit Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Playing a game of golf at one or more of the amazing golf courses in Hilton Head adds a lot to even a short vacation. With beautiful wilderness including the marshlands, wonderful oak forests and views of the Atlantic Ocean, golf courses in and around Hilton Head are known as some of the premier destination golf spots in the country. Here are some of the best public courses vacationers can experience when traveling to Hilton Head Island.
6 Most Beautiful Golf Courses In Hilton Head
1. Harbour Town Golf Links
Harbour Town Golf Links is undoubtedly the most prestigious golf course on Hilton Head Island and one of the most well known courses in the United States. It was co-designed by famous golf course architect Pete Dye and one of the greatest professional golfers of all-time, Jack Nicklaus and completed in 1969 when it held its first PGA Tour event. Pete Dye is known for also designing courses like Whistling Straits, TPC at Sawgrass, Kiawah Island (Ocean Course), Winged Foot Golf Course as well as many others.
It’s a very challenging golf course that takes advantage of forests, tall oak trees and pines as well as lagoons, narrow fairways and uniquely shaped greens. Harbour Town Golf Links plays as a par-71 golf course at 7,101 yards, a 75.6 course rating and 147-slope rating.
One can get a professional golf experience when playing at Harbour Town as it is currently home to the PGA Tour’s annual RBC Heritage event that takes place in April following the Masters Tournament and it has hosted PGA Tour events since 1969.
Harbour Town is a must-play for travellers heading to Hilton Head Island and it’s rates run between $209-$264 per person depending on the season. While it is expensive, the breathtaking scenery including the well-known candy cane striped lighthouse seen on the 18th hole and the pristine, professional grade course conditions, it’s well worth it for any avid golfer or golf fanatic who wants to play one of the highest rates courses by professionals in the country.
2. Heron Point
Also a part of Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island, Heron Point is another beautiful and challenging Pete Dye design that was completed in 2007. The course was modified in 2014 to make it more player-friendly to the likes of travellers and was named South Carolina’s golf course of the year in 2015.
There are four different holes that have water surrounding the greens making them tough, but fun targets for players. With a plethora of water and sand hazards with some fairways shaped to lead you right into them, you may need to pack a few extra golf balls before heading to the tee, but the beauty and brilliance of this golf course is well worth any trouble you find yourself in during play.
It’s a par-72, 7,058-yard course with a 74.7 course rating and 140 slope rating but it comes with seven sets of tees including junior tees to the convenience of golfers of all skill levels. Rates to play Heron Point run around $99-$144 depending on the season.
3. Robert Trent Jones Course at Palmetto Dunes Resort
If you’re looking for a slightly easier course to play, a beautiful option is the Robert Trent Jones Course at Palmetto Dunes Resort on Hilton Head Island. It’s the least challenging of the three courses at Palmetto Dunes Resort with a more open look and wider fairways and target spots.
The course was designed by famous golf architect Robert Trent Jones and completed in 1967. The resort course was named South Carolina’s golf course of the year in 2003 with it’s stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean all over the course especially on the par-5 10th hole, noted as one of the must-play holes on Hilton Head.
The Robert Trent Jones Course is a par-72 course at 7,005 yards, a 74.3 course rating and 138-slope rating. Rates run between $95-$159 depending on season. The course also offers a phone application that gives GPS yardages and tips for golfers during their play.
This course is a must play for Hilton Head travellers especially if you’re looking for a wider, more player friendly course that keeps you on your toes at the same time. With some of the best views in golf, don’t leave it off of your itinerary.
4. Hilton Head National Golf Course
If you’re looking for a more inexpensive value golf course while on your Hilton Head Vacation, the Hilton Head National Golf Course is a wonderful option. Located just inland of Hilton Head Island in Bluffton, SC, rates to play Hilton Head National run around $55-$99 and are currently offering a two-for-one $69.99 option or a $120 foursome option through the end of January.
Well-known architect Bobby Weed designed the front nine of the course, and legendary professional golfer Gary Player designed the back nine.
Golf at Hilton Head National is a more laid-back player friendly option that’s very playable for golfers from juniors to seniors. That is enhanced by placing sand bunkers and hazards to the sides of the fairways allowing for more accurate shooters to really enjoy their time on the course and speed up the pace.
Something that makes the course unique is the fact there are no houses or roads surrounding or within the golf course, which makes the public course have a very private feel.
At 6,730 yards from the back tees, it’s not as challenging for the skilled golfers and allows the weekend golfer to really enjoy themselves.
5. The Country Club of Hilton Head
While a country club, The Country of Hilton Head also offers public play and it can be well worth it if you’re looking for a very fun golf experience full of surprises. With 14 doglegs, 16 different holes with water and deep pot bunkers this course offers plenty of variety for the thrill-seeking golfer.
This 1986 creation by golf architect Rees Jones was re-grassed in 2011 and underwent bunker renovation in 2014 giving it the feel of a brand-new golf course. The course takes advantage of surrounding marshland, along South Carolina’s Intracoastal Waterway.
It’s a par-72 course that plays 6,919 yards from the back tees. Rates to pay The Country Club of Hilton Head can range from $89-$119 per player.
6. Old South Golf Links
Located just inland of the island in Bluffton, SC is another value play for the bargain golfer or if you just want to play a more affordable golf course that still ranks among some of the best in terms of good maintenance and beautiful views.
Designed by architect Clyde Johnston in 1991, the low-country Old South Golf Links offers a unique experience for visiting golfers with plenty of natural beauty and wildlife along the Intra-coastal waterway, May River, beautiful oak forests and plenty of marshland surrounding the course.
It’s a par-72 golf course at 6,772 yards that allows players of all skill levels to enjoy it’s natural feel at a value rate that usually falls between $55-$95.
This article was written by Cameron Lafontaine.