If you're an avid golfer, chances are you've heard of Hilton Head, the island community off coastal South Carolina. And you may be familiar with the PGA Tour's RBC Heritage, staged every April at the famous Harbour Town Golf Links.
But you might not be fully aware of just how incredible and diverse Hilton Head Island is as a golf destination. Trust me - no matter your background or budget, you need to check this place out.
Not to put too fine a point on it, here are our top five reasons to plan a Hilton Head golf vacation:
1. The list of area golf courses is phenomenal.
You're familiar with Harbour Town, the Pete Dye/Jack Nicklaus collaboration that served as the beginning of the Golden Bear's own storied golf course design career. But there are 30 other courses to choose from in the area, designed by such titans of golf course architecture as Tom Fazio, Arnold Palmer, Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and Rees Jones, as well as fantastic solo designs by Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus. Want a "hidden gem" recommendation? Check out Bear Creek Golf Club, a Rees Jones design that was private until recently. It maintains that country-club feel, but now everyone can enjoy.
2. Multiple facilities are coming off millions in recent renovations.
In recent years, Hilton Head-area facilities have invested a combined $200 million in their golf courses, accommodations, dining and other amenities. The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort completed a $30 million project and Palmetto Dunes' two hotels - the Omni Hilton Head Oceanside Resort and the Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa Resort - have undergone their own multi-million dollar renovations of late. On the golf side, both clubhouses on the ground of Sea Pines have been totally rebuilt n the last two years, Harbour Town was completely re-turfed last summer and Davis Love III's design firm is currently overhauling Sea Pines' Ocean Course, which will debut this fall. In short, everywhere you turn, there's something new to discover on Hilton Head.
3. It's easier to get there than ever before.
In the past, one legitimate criticism of Hilton Head has been that it's a challenging destination to fly into. Luckily, those days are over, as the number of airlines and cities serving the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) has exploded in recent years. Now, you can fly nonstop to Hilton Head from Boston, New York, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Washington, DC; and many more. Jet Blue, Allegiant, American, Delta and United all serve the airport.
4. The food is as good as the golf.
Golfers love to eat almost as much as they love playing golf, and Hilton Head delivers a culinary standard that matches that of its golf courses. Speaking of which, those golf courses are often home to top dining spots, such as Big Jim's, located in Palmetto Dunes' Robert Trent Jones clubhouse, and the LagerHead Tavern at Oyster Reef Golf Club. Elsewhere on the island, top chefs have opened eateries that are popular among both visitors and island residents alike. There's OMBRA Cecina Rustica, run by Chef Michael Cirafesi and longtime mentor Chef Nuncio Patruno, and One Hot Mama's American Grille, which celebrity chef Orchid Paulmeier regards as a personal favorite.
5. The weather is pretty darn close to perfect.
There's a reason why the RBC Heritage is known as the first tournament of "Sundress Season" on the PGA Tour. Golf is a year-round activity on Hilton Head, and 36-hole days abound from March through October and beyond. Highs in the 60s and 70s in January and February are well within reach, and ocean breezes keep the heat from becoming oppressive in the summer.
To be honest, this doesn't even scratch the surface of what makes Hilton Head one of America's best golf destinations. If you're interested in chatting with the folks who know it best about heading there for your next golf vacation, click here.