Looking for Lowcountry Golf on Hilton Head Island
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. It’s the kind of place you have to visit to fully appreciate.
While I had heard many positive reviews over the years, it wasn’t 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 hotel’s 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
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 Jones’ signature design elements - raised greens and amoeba shaped bunkering protecting every target, but I found the course also had some added charm that I couldn’t 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 Alexander’s 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, it’s easy to understand why.
Day Two Up Next!
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 DaveBaysden.com.
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