A Hilton Head Island golf course just for you

As I wrote in my last blog, there are as many reasons to plan a buddy trip to Hilton Head Island as there are grains of sand on the beach. Ugh. That’s a cliché. Sorry about that. Anyway.

There are 6,000 places to stay and about 200 restaurants at which to dine, and that’s just counting what’s on the 12 mile by 5 mile island. The numbers swell when you include Bluffton, too.

So, you’re contemplating a trip to Hilton Head. The crucial question: where to play golf? I know you don’t want to waste a day on a course that doesn’t fit your game. If you’re a long hitter, you want some rewards for your prowess. If you’re excellent at course management, you want a course that will test the gray matter. Maybe you want the most scenic course. Here are some suggestions.

Best ocean or marsh views

The ninth hole at Crescent Pointe

The ninth hole at Crescent Pointe is deep into the marsh. Photo by Lisa Allen

Hands down, Robert Trent Jones course at Palmetto Dunes wins for its intoxicating views of the Atlantic Ocean. You get so close to it, you’ll wish you had packed your bathing suit in your golf bag. The best marsh views belong to Old South Golf Links and Crescent Pointe, both just over the bridge in Bluffton.

Longest/toughest courses

The Robert Cupp course at Palmetto Hall exceeds 7,000 yards. Some of the carries required off the back tees will prove whether your game is what you hope it is. The George Fazio course at Palmetto Dunes is plenty tough and remember it’s only a par 71. It’s long and very, very sandy.

Iconic course

Yup, Harbour Town Golf Links at Sea Pines Resort is the big daddy of Hilton Head Island golf. It gets national face time every year for the Heritage PGA Tour tournament, which landed a new sponsor this year, so it will be the RBC Heritage Tournament and will fall the week after the Masters. If you can play only one course and you want to brag about it, play Harbour Town.

A classic

Oyster Reef Golf Club was designed by Rees Jones and opened in 1982. It has everything you would expect from Jones: strategic bunkers, lots of tall trees right in your way and large, sloped greens. An added Hilton Head Island bonus is a beautiful view of Port Royal Sound on the par 3 sixth hole.

A course in management

The Barony course at Port Royal Plantation is a tight trek through the trees with a

Barony course

Barony at Port Royal Plantation is a tight walk through the trees. Photo by Lisa Allen

plethora of doglegs. Blasting away will only frustrate you. Tread lightly and carry a big wedge.

Rest assured, though, that no matter which course you choose, conditions will be excellent, the service impressive and memories lasting.