Six Hilton Head Golf Island Area Courses to Checkout This Summer

Summer in the Lowcountry means long days, lots of sitting and sipping in the shade and boatloads (literally) of fresh seafood. And for have-clubs-will-travel visitors to Hilton Head Golf Island,” it’s prime season for hanging the proverbial golf hat and settling into an extended stay-and-play lifestyle.

With 26 courses to choose from golfers enjoying a long summer sojourn on Hilton Head Island, or in neighboring Bluffton or Beaufort, can play a new layout every day for nearly a month. Golf Island’s marquee golf destinations like The Sea Pines Resort, Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort and the Heritage Collection are often first on golfers’ punch lists, and with good reason.

And after logging rounds on famed layouts like Harbour Town Golf Links, the Robert Trent Jones Course and Oyster Bay, golfers still have a bevy of courses to sample. Golf Island’s formidable bench strength invites additional exploration of uncharted fairways and greens, both on- and off-island. Here are six courses to check out this summer in between the refreshing sips and succulent seafood.

  1. Golden Bear Golf Club

Jack Nicklaus is no stranger to Hilton Head Island, with the Golden Bear famously consulting with Pete Dye in creating Harbour Town Golf Links. Golden Bear Golf Club, set within the Indigo Run golf community, is an eminently playable Nicklaus design with six sets of tees ranging from 4,974 to 7,014 yards. All greens and bunkers were renovated in 2017 along with the club’s spacious practice range, giving the Golden Bear an unmistakable touch of modernity. 

  1. Bear Creek Golf Club

This on-island layout designed by Rees Jones, known as the Open Doctor” for his updates of U.S. Open venues, and the architect of nearby Oyster Reef. Bear Creek weaves through towering pines and shimmering lagoons, presenting golfers with a metrical mix of straight and dogleg holes. Five sets of tees tip out at 6,804 yards with a redoubtable course and slope ratings of 74.2 and 139, respectively. Bear Creek is located amid a fistful of course on the island’s northeast end, setting up perfectly for a 36-hole day.

  1. Dolphin Head Golf Club

Formerly a private course within Hilton Head Plantation, Dolphin Head Golf Club was designed by Gary Player, known for his player”-friendly approach to golf course architecture. The front nine takes golfers through marshland and natural preserves, while the scenic back nine plays out to Port Royal Sound and features signature Lowcountry marsh views. Dolphin Head isn’t overly long, at just 6,606 from the back tees. But it does challenge better players to shape shots around doglegs and into greens in order to score well.

  1. Old South Golf Links

Old South is Hilton Head Island-based golf course architect Clyde Johnston’s Lowcountry pièce de résistance, a tapestry of fairway and greens playing along the Intracoastal Waterway with views all the extending to Calibogue Sound. Starting with the 383-yard par-4 16th, the course begins its exhilarating crescendo with a triumvirate of finishing holes that bring MacKay Creek into play early and often. The stout two-shotter requires not one but two shots over the water. Golfers are then treated to one of the area’s best, and most scenic, par 3s at the 180-yard 17th. Of note, nearly half the holes at Old South are bunker-less around the greens, or have bunkers placed 10-20 yards from the putting surfaces.

  1. Arthur Hills Course at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort

The golf world recently said goodbye to famed golf course architect Arthur Hills, who passed away at age 91. Hills designed more than 200 courses, globally, and renovated an additional 150. The Arthur Hills Course at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort is one of two signature Hills designs on the island and is a must-play for fans of the Ohio native’s celebrated work. Hills routed holes over natural dune lines hemmed in with coastal grasses, live oaks and palmettos. The island’s oldest lighthouse, the Hilton Head Rear Range Lighthouse, sits just behind the green on the par-3 15th hole. 

  1. Hilton Head National

Like Old South, Hilton Head National is located at Bluffton’s western edge just before bridge-hopping over to Hilton Head Island. The layout is a rare Gary Player, Bobby Weed design collaboration, with PGA Tour consultant Weed crafting the front nine and the Black Knight forging the back. Weed’s nine offers ample greens with comparatively severe undulations, while Player’s nine serves up diminutive putting surfaces with less break. All-in-all, the combination works beautifully. A handful of holes require forced carries over water, but there are plenty of opportunities to play the ball on the ground.

Getting Here

Major metro areas in the Carolinas, Georgia and north Florida are well under a half-day’s drive from the U.S. 278, I-95 exit. Golfers outside of driving range can choose from two award-winning airports: Savannah-Hilton Head International (SAV) in Savannah, Ga. and Hilton Head Island Airport (HHH), on the north end of the island.

For easy access, fly into Hilton Head Island Airport (HHH) on the island’s north end. American Airlines offers nonstop and one-stop service from multiple hub cities and connections. Seasonal Saturday flights to/from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) are offered as of April 10, 2021

The new route complements year-round service from Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) and seasonal service from Washington Reagan Airport (DCA), Chicago (ORD), Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW) and Philadelphia (PHL).  Book your flight to Hilton Head Island at www.AA.com.

Delta Air Lines Airlines also offers nonstop and one-stop service to HHI via its Atlanta (ATL) hub with connections from 200+ cities worldwide.

Golfers can also utilize Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV), with direct flights from numerous East Coast, Midwest and Texas airports. Southwest Airlines service began in March with six flights from five markets.

Major metro areas in the Carolinas, Georgia and north Florida are under a half-day’s drive, while several Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern cities are seven to nine hours away.

Our expert golf vacation planners are available to help you design your ideal Hilton Head Golf Island golf trip. Click here to complete a brief form and to receive a custom quote.


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Hilton Head is America’s favorite island, offering 12 miles of pristine beaches and everything you need for the ultimate retreat. Enjoy easy days relaxing in the sun, sand and surf on some of the best beaches in the country.
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