How many World Series did the Giants win after Barry Bonds left them? Van Halen survived just fine after Sammy Hagar replaced David Lee Roth. You could argue Genesis rose to greater heights after Peter Gabriel left and was replaced by some guy named Phil Collins. The most popular Broadway shows replace their original stars all the time, and they’re STILL great Broadway shows!
What am I getting at? Hilton Head Island golf will be just fine this summer, even without its iconic Harbour Town Golf Links, closed until late September for a major irrigation renovation and a complete re-grassing of the course in Celebration Bermuda, the most technologically-advanced strain for warm weather climates that was planted at Heron Point just last year and has received rave reviews.
While Harbour Town is the best-known course on the Island, some would argue it really has a lot of company at the top of anyone’s must-play list of Island courses. Sea Pines Resort invites you to make just a slight detour to the aforementioned Heron Point, a much more player-friendly course since Pete Dye softened some of the mounding during its re-grassing last summer. The Ocean Course is also a player-friendly and family-friendly course that, by the way, will close when Harbour Town reopens to give Davis Love III a year to freshen up its look.
Palmetto Dunes Resort’s three courses have now all been named South Carolina’s Course of the Year by the state golf course owners association. The George Fazio Course is the 2014 Course of the Year and the Island’s only par-70 championship layout. The Robert Trent Jones Course, arguably the most popular on the Island, features a back nine that plays around and over part of Palmetto Dunes’ 11-miles of canals and lagoons, and the only par-5 that plays out to the Atlantic Ocean. And the Arthur Hills Course is the perfect complement to the other two, steering you through dunes, palmettos and over numerous water hazards. Maybe the best endorsement of Palmetto Dunes’s courses is that the people who work there all have their own favorites.
Then there’s the Heritage Collection, which truly is a collection of different architectural styles and features, from the three player-friendly Shipyard nines that can be combined to give you a different 18 every time you play it, to the 54-holes at Port Royal that all have their unique features, the 36-holes at Palmetto Hall that have just undergone re-grassing within the last two years and are in spectacular condition, and Oyster Reef, a dogleg-filled gem in Hilton Head Plantation designed by Rees Jones, who also designed the Country Club of Hilton Head that’s been used as a U-S Open qualifier. Country Club of Hilton Head and Indigo Run’s Golden Bear by Jack Nicklaus offer up special opportunities for Club Corp members, and the rest of us as well. And then there are off-island courses like Old South that offer up their own version of Lowcountry hospitality, and fun, target-style holes with amazing views of Hilton Head Island.
So while the batting order might be a little bit different this summer, there are all-stars galore on the Golf Island, and no reason not to explore some of the fabulous layouts you might not have played before. You’re likely to be impressed by the depth of the roster, and even more pumped when Harbour Town comes back this fall, better than ever.