Shuck the routine: Golf on Hilton Head Island during oyster season

Golf and oysters -- that's fall in the Lowcountry.

The arrival of autumn does nothing to slow the activities in the Lowcountry — it fuels them.

Oyster season returns, a reward for those who buck the high tourist season and show up after the flocks of families have returned to routine. In the fall, the evening air might be a little smoky because of the nearly weekly oyster roast somewhere, for something.

Autumn rewards those who have caught onto the weather patterns of the Lowcountry. It is in the fall that the weather is nearly perfect and the water temperatures are still warm. During the day, you can continue to enjoy summer activities of romping in the waves, waterskiing or paddleboarding. In the evening you might have to pull on a light jacket around that oyster-roasting bonfire. Visit either the Historic Bluffton Arts and Seafood festival Oct. 16-23 or the Hilton Head Island Oyster Festival Nov. 13-16.

But the best activity for fall days really is golf. Not only are the skies overhead cloudless, but the grass beneath your feet is vibrant, lush and flawlessly groomed. The fairways are full, the putting surfaces unblemished and the tee sheets accommodating.

I played Heron Point in The Sea Pines Resort this week and the course was absolutely perfect and a friend said the same thing about Island West in Bluffton. I can assure you the same can be said for every one of the dozens of courses in between.

Another huge benefit to southern golf is that your ball won’t disappear beneath those infernal layers of leaves found up north. Fall comes later here and most trees that grace area golf courses are either pines or live oaks that drop their leaves in the spring. You might think that’s a small thing. It isn’t, trust me.

With a little planning, you can get your golf trip to coincide with the 10th annual Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival and Concours d’Elegance from Oct. 28 to Nov. 6. Play a round in the morning, then drool over some of the sweetest automobiles ever made. Or plan your evening enjoying some of the Halloween festivities held at just about every resort and community. Load up your days with golf, your afternoons with gorgeous sheet metal and your evenings with wagon rides, ghost storytelling and costume contests.

A little later in the season, you can plan another golf trip to dovetail (get it?) with the annual Audubon Christmas bird count, an event that draws feather peepers from around the world as migration patterns pull rare and gorgeous birds to coastal islands.

Without question, Hilton Head Island and Bluffton can boast of some of the best golf anywhere. But the festival that is fall in the Lowcountry makes a golf visit here, now, a must. Come see for yourself. Bring your clubs, your appetite and a sense of adventure.