Picture Perfect: Hilton Head Island’s Most Beautiful Golf Holes
Hilton Head Island is home to some of the game’s most beautiful golf holes. Every year the PGA TOUR comes to “Golf Island” to tee it up in the RBC Heritage and every year, they leave with a greater appreciation for the legendary Lowcountry locale. While every hole on and around Hilton Head Island offers its own unique challenge, here is a collection of the most picturesque par threes, fours, and fives bound to take your breath away:
No. 17, Harbour Town Golf Links
While the 18th hole at the iconic Harbour Town Golf Links is often the most talked about, the par three 17th silently steals the show. Measuring 185 yards from the back tees (174 yards during the RBC Heritage), it plays out to the Calibouge Sound and provides a spectacular vista, especially in the setting sunlight. The undulated green is guarded by a lagoon, large bunker, and Pete Dye’s signature railroad ties.
No. 6, Oyster Reef Golf Club
Rees Jones’ signature hole at Oyster Reef Golf Club, the par three 6th is one of the most exciting on the island; it’s a huge reason why Oyster Reef was named among the Top 20 in the Carolinas and the “Golf Club of the Year” by the Lowcountry Golf Course Owners Association. Tipping out at 192 yards from the back tees, its green is set against the Port Royal Sound and gives many golfers pause to enjoy the natural beauty of its routing.
No. 15, Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love III
A newcomer to the island is also one of its most visually stunning. The new Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love III is a complete reimagining of Hilton Head Island’s oldest golf course and presents golfers with an unmistakable seaside-feel. It has some of the island’s most exciting and creative hole layouts, none more so than the signature par three 15th. It’s pure postcard material; playing out to the Atlantic Ocean and guarded by massive bunkers and railroad ties, golfers need to see it to believe it.
No. 10, Robert Trent Jones Course at Palmetto Dunes
There’s something about seeing the ocean that gives golfers pause; whether it’s the melodic sounds of crashing waves, the meeting of two forces of nature or the simple fear of losing a golf ball, holes that play near or along big bodies of water always seem to top the list of most memorable. That’s why the par five 10th on the Robert Trent Jones Course at Palmetto Dunes ranks among the best on Hilton Head Island. The work of master architect Robert Trent Jones, the straightaway five-par typically plays into a prevailing ocean wind; fairway bunkers frame your drive while three large, u-shaped traps guard a green that sets the stage for memorable vistas of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s on the front of the scorecard for a reason.
No. 18, Heron Pointe by Pete Dye
A fitting end to one of Hilton Head Island’s most exciting layouts, the par four 18th at Heron Point by Pete Dye is as challenging as it is awe-inspiring. Featuring all the trademarks of a Dye-designed hole (mounds, narrow bunkers, railroad ties, and undulations), the final hole can make-or-break rounds. It demands golfers to play smart off the tee and be precise on approach, all while not getting distracted by the sheer beauty of its routing. A wide fairway gets pinched the farther you hit it while the slightly elevated green is guarded by a large pond and railroad ties. Even if you hit it in the water, a smile will still be on your face … probably.
No. 6, Ocean Creek Course at Fripp Island Resort
Designed by Davis Love III and Paul Cowley in 1995, the Ocean Creek Course at Fripp Island Resort is an off-island treat. An hour’s drive from Hilton Head Island, Ocean Creek is well worth the journey, especially when you lay your eyes on the par-3 6th (and following par-4 7th). Situated on the “Old House Creek” and a marsh that Jacques Cousteau called “one of the most pristine salt-water marsh habitats in the world” (and that guy knows a thing or two about bodies of water), golfers would be wise to pack the camera in the bag for this one.
No. 7, Old South Golf Links
It doesn’t take long for golfers to realize that Clyde Johnston expertly encapsulated the natural beauty of the Lowcountry at Old South Golf Links. Located just before the bridge to Hilton Head Island, Old South winds through towering oaks and provides unforgettable vistas from multiple island greens abutting the Intracoastal marshes of McKay’s Creek. One of the most entertaining holes on this most entertaining layout is the par four 7th; not long by today’s standards (370 yards), what it lacks in distance it more than makes up for in demanding accuracy. Golfers tee off toward an “island” fairway then have to carry marshland to a green guarded by bunkers in front and back. A par here is as good as the view.
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Here on The Golf Island, fall is peak golf season. Daytime highs are in the 70s and 80s, there’s plenty of “cold beer and sunshine,” to borrow a line from our native son, Darius Rucker…
One in 12,000. Those are the odds of a single golfer carding a hole-in-one. One in 17 million.
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