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Long Weekend: Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Playing More

If you have time, of course, there are many more excellent tracks to choose from. A short list would include Shipyard Plantation (27 holes, 843-689-4653), Palmetto Dunes Resort (54 holes, 843-785-1130), Port Royal Plantation (54 holes, 843-689-4653), all south end or mid-island; and Hilton Head Plantation (36 holes, 843-681-4653) on the north end. And while "off-island" may sound distant, just minutes away are eight more great layouts. Try Old South Golf Links (843-785-5353, $89), a good course that's always in great shape.


Staying

Think strategy. As you may have surmised by now, the island is divided into three parts: There's the south end, mid-island and the north end. The island measures only twelve miles by three miles, so outside the ten private, gated communities, traffic is pretty ferocious. Where you stay can have a lot with where you choose to play.

If you select south end or mid-island courses, stay in those areas. If you play on the north end or off-island, stay mid-island or in the north end. If you've got a mix, call the pro shop of the various courses and ask how long it will take to get there.

You'll also have to figure out if you would like a hotel, a condo or private home. Luxury hotels like the Westin (mid-island, 832-681-4000), Hyatt Regency (mid-island, 843-785-1234), Hilton Oceanfront Resort (mid-island, 843-842-8000) and Crowne Plaza (south end, 843-842-2400) are all on the ocean and offer excellent golf packages. If you prefer something a bit different, the new Inn at Harbour Town (888-807-6873) is awesome. While you can't play the famous course until it reopens, you can have a butler on your floor to tend to your every need. And you'll be minutes from the Ocean Course.

Hilton Head's private-home and condominium vacation rentals offer everything from individual suites (with kitchens) to oceanfront homes with private pools. Call Hilton Head Golf Vacations (800-364-9683) or The Vacation Company (800-545-3303).

Eating

It's that choice problem again. The eating is as superb as the golf. Here are some local favorites: On the north end, Charlie's Crab (843-342-9066) and The Old Fort Pub (843-681-2386) both offer great seafood and great water views. Mid-island, try the Old Oyster Factory (843-681-6040) on the water. It's more open, louder and lots of fun. On the south end, CQ'S (843-671-2779) in Harbour Town has general fare; there's not a bad dish on the menu. Don't miss one of the two Reilley's pubs. Family-owned local favorites, one is just off Sea Pines Circle (843-842-4414) in the south end; the other is at Port Royal Plaza (843-681-4153) in mid-island.

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