Photo Courtesy of The Sea Pines Resort / Rob Tipton
You’d have thought it might be possible the first week of October when the sparkling new Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love III layout was christened in the Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island. A week later, the thought of being South Carolina’s Golf Course of the Year was the farthest thing from anyone’s mind as The Sea Pines Resort worked seven days a week to recover from the blasting absorbed by Hilton Head Island from Hurricane Matthew. Yet only a little more than nine months after reopening, Atlantic Dunes has been named the state’s Course of the Year by the South Carolina Golf Course Owners Association, making it eligible to be the National Course of the Year to be selected by the National Golf Course Owners Association.
It’s the second straight state award won by a Sea Pines course (Heron Point by Pete Dye was the 2016 Course of the Year), and third straight won by a Hilton Head Island course, following the George Fazio Course at Palmetto Dunes’ crown in 2015.
Many of you longtime Hilton Head visitors would know Atlantic Dunes as the Island’s original “Ocean Course”, but will recognize numerous changes in the layout since Love Golf Design came in and did a complete reconstruction of the layout to give it a more open, seaside look with more sand dunes, coquina shells and marsh grasses framing the holes on a course that is forgiving to the less-experienced player, while providing an opportunity for a challenging tournament-style setup.
The course debuted at #7 in Golfweek’s “Best Courses You Can Play in South Carolina,” and is a fitting culmination to a remarkable year for Love, who captained the victorious 2016 Ryder Cup team the week before the course opened. His brother Mark and lead architect Scot Sherman were nearly full-time Island residents while the year-long project was being completed. What they created is a remarkable compliment to Heron Point and the iconic Harbour Town Golf Links to give Sea Pines an award-winning trio of must-play courses.