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Looking for Lowcountry Golf on Hilton Head Island

By Hilton Head Insider

This is part 1 of a 3 part blog series in collaboration with published golf author, Jay Revell and nationally-acclaimed golf artist, Dave Baysden. Jay and Dave made their first trip ever to The Golf Island recently with Jay jotting down his thoughts on his experience, while Dave sketched his way around the courses played.


Day One: A Taste of the Lowcountry Begins


For a lifelong golfer from the South, its odd that it took me 36 years to make it to Hilton Head Island. With so much great golf concentrated in one destination, I should have made it to Americas Golf Island much sooner. However, life and tee times in other far flung places kept me away until recently. Now, after getting my first taste of golf in Hilton Head, Im already making plans to go experience this mecca again soon.

Hilton Head Island occupies an interesting space in the range of American golf destinations. The combination of its lowcountry setting, amenity rich communities, and range of convenient golf options makes it one of the most approachable golf trip locations in the U.S. Its the kind of place you have to visit to fully appreciate.

While I had heard many positive reviews over the years, it wasnt until I arrived in person that those many Hilton Head golf stories started making sense. As I drove over the bridge leading to the golf island, the sun was setting over the marshlands and boats were racing back to their docks before darkness. Seemingly every intersection on the main road was dotted by entrance signs to golf hubs I had heard about for years. In the fading light, I began to see what all the fuss was about.

With an itinerary loaded with golf, I checked in at the wonderful Sonesta Resort. There was just enough light left in the day for me to drop my bags and walk out to dip my toes in the Atlantic Ocean. After that refreshing stroll on the beach, I stopped back off at the hotels wonderful restaurant for some seafood pasta before turning in for the night. The next item on the menu was golf.

A Full Day at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort


My first taste of Hilton Head golf was at the popular Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. I was greeted there by their incredible golf staff who were happy to show a first timer around. Their stellar driving range was equipped with TopGolfs Toptracer technology which was quite helpful in preparing me for the Robert Trent Jones test that lied ahead.

The first hole of a golf trip is always loaded with anticipation, but the reputation of Palmetto Dunes had me particularly eager to see the course. I took my pushcart along for this round and was glad I did as I was able to take in all the natural beauty of the low country that was on display. Like many courses on Hilton Head Island, Palmetto Dunes takes golfers on an adventure through moss draped oaks, marshy wetlands, and even out to the beachside dunes. Robert Trent Jones, one of the most respected architects of the 20th century, did a stellar job routing the course through those various landforms.

The most popular course at Palmetto Dunes( they also have attractive offering designed by George Fazio and Arthur Hills) had many of Trent Jonessignature design elements - raised greens and amoeba shaped bunkering protecting every target, but I found the course also had some added charm that I couldnt quite put my finger on. I could feel it while standing on the 10th green, a long par 5 terminating at the Atlantic Ocean with views of the whole back nine ahead. However, It would take a few more rounds on the island to discover what that feeling was all about.

Before I left the Palmetto Dunes community, I stopped off for dinner at the fabulous Alexanders restaurant. With wonderful creekside views throughout the main dining area it was a beautiful place to enjoy a memorable meal. They are famous for their prime rib and after trying it myself, I must say, its easy to understand why.

Day Two Up Next!


Jay Revell is a golf writer from Tallahassee, Florida. He is the author of two books, Swing, Walk, Repeat and The Nine Virtues of Golf. His stories have been featured in The Golfers Journal,, McKellar Magazine and the Golf Channel. You can learn more about his writings at

Dave Baysden is a NC based Golf and Landscape painter focused in the mediums of Acrylic and Watercolor. His work has gained recognition over the past few years: having been the official artist for the 2022 Presidents Cup, 2021 US Senior Amateur, 2023 Arnold Palmer Cup, and having been commissioned by individuals and clubs around the world such as Bandon Dunes, Ohoopee Match Play Club, Old Town Club, Palmetto Bluff, Quail Hollow Club, Inverness, Dormie Network, Tree Farm and Country Club of Detroit among others. See Dave’s art at

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