Play on Harbour Town Golf Links, the same course as past champions like Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, and the late Payne Stewart — or choose from more than 30 other local courses.

By Patricia Doherty
November 01, 2020
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Credit: Tony Roberts/Getty Images

For weekend golfers everywhere, a trip to Hilton Head Island tops their wish lists. The reasons are clear: 24 world class courses, ideal weather year-round, and lots to do après-golf. Delicious seafood, lowcountry specialties like gumbo and peach cobbler, and stunning scenery just enhance the experience.

The annual RBC Heritage Tournament, a PGA event, is played on the Harbour Town Golf Links, a favorite of both tour pros and spectators. Golfers around the world get to see Hilton Head Island, as the tournament is broadcast in 23 languages to 226 countries. They recognize the familiar red and white stripes of the iconic Harbour Town Lighthouse, an iconic guide for golfers on the 18th tee. It’s very likely that quite a few golf trips are planned in the days following the tournament at Harbour Town — what golfer wouldn’t want to play on the same course as past champions like Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, and the late Payne Stewart?

Many of the best Hilton Head Island golf courses are open to the public. In addition to the famed Harbour Town Golf Links, Sea Pines Resort also features Heron Point by Pete Dye and Atlantic Dunes, designed by David Love III as a complete reconstruction of the resort’s original Ocean Course. At Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, golfers can choose from courses designed by Arthur Hills, George Fazio, and Robert Trent Jones. The Country Club of Hilton Head offers 18 holes set in pine forests along the Intracoastal Waterway. Many other public courses are available to golfers who want to plan a trip to Hilton Head Island, and like course style and difficulty, rates vary widely.

A golf vacation can include families and non-golfers as well. At Sea Pines Resort, for example, guests enjoy the spa, fitness center, and seasonal family events like pumpkin carving or wagon rides. A pool, equestrian center, and marina might tempt golfers away from the course for a day or two. In other words, Hilton Head Island is not just a spectacular golf destination, but an ideal vacation destination as well.