Golf Island, My Way, With 2017 RBC Heritage Winner Wesley Bryan
Wesley Bryan is on his way to the Wednesday practice round at the TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm in Maryland ahead of the Wells Fargo Championship. He’s happy, healthy and more than happy to talk about his home state of South Carolina and, more specifically, his favorite golf destination, Hilton Head Island.
The 2017 RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing winner’s memories of “Golf Island” date back to his early childhood when his family would spend summers along the Calibogue Sound at The Sea Pines Resort. The drive from Bryan’s hometown of Chapin (near Columbia) was just under three hours. But leaving the scorching heat of South Carolina’s Midlands for the coastal breezes of the Lowcountry was like visiting a different world.
“It's something everyone takes for granted, that we live in a state with such diverse geography,” Bryan says. “The Lowcountry is one of the most beautiful places on the planet, people move there from all over the country. We still like to visit a few times a year, but we have a one and a three-year-old, making it a little harder.”
Growing up, Bryan’s best friend’s family had a villa just a lob wedge from the 10th tee box at Harbour Town Golf Links where they’d stay. He confesses to sneaking on to the storied course “way more often than we probably should have” and falling in love with Jack Nicklaus and Pete Dye’s bold, timeless design.
Later, as a highly-ranked junior golfer growing up playing in South Carolina Junior Golf Association events, Bryan frequently visited Golf Island for tournaments and played Harbour Town and other area courses several times a year.
“There’s just this magnetic forcefield that draws me to Harbour Town,” Bryan says, laughing. “That golf course is very special to me.”
In fact, Bryan confides that his 2017 RBC victory in front of his friends and family felt like winning a major, and that it meant more than winning almost any tournament. It was his rookie season on the PGA TOUR, and somewhat remarkably, he became the first South Carolinian to win the state’s only regular PGA TOUR stop.
“I’d rather win the RBC than a WGC [World Golf Championship] tournament or even The Player’s Championship, it means that much to me,” he says.
Bryan struggled with a shoulder injury the second half of 2018 that eventually led to surgery in 2019 for a torn labrum. His medical exemption has expired, and Bryan says he’s “playing in every tournament they’ll let me in” through sponsor’s exemptions and Monday qualfiers.
When he’s back in the Palmetto State you can usually find Bryan hanging with his brother, George, cutting videos for their wildly popular YouTube channel, Bryan Bros Golf. George, a noted trick shot artist, had just advanced to U.S. Open sectional qualifying as of this writing.
“The channel has been a fun outlet for me and a great way to engage with fans,” Bryan says.
Many of those fans and followers are planning their golf buddy trips for the summer and fall. When asked why golf groups should choose Golf Island over other golfing hotbeds, Bryan points to three things: the scenery, the weather and the people.
“The land, the water and just the pure beauty of the Lowcountry, especially along the coast,” he says. “And the weather is amazing, I can vouch for that, if you aren’t afraid of a little heat, sweat and humidity. That’s pure golf weather. And the people are such a big draw; you won’t find nicer folks.”
As for Bryan’s perfect day on Golf Island, it’s a healthy balance of friends, family and golf.
“It would start by going to the Harbour Town Bakery and Café then going to [The Sea Pines Resort] Beach Club for a few hours with the family,” he says. “After that, we’d take the kids back for a nap and I’d go play Harbour Town with the boys, probably throw some dollars around. We’d top it off with dinner at the Quarterdeck and be in bed by eight.”
It just doesn’t get any better than that.
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