It's RBC Heritage time at Harbour Town Golf Links, which means Hilton Head Island is abuzz with activity. (Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor) Next to Harbour Town, the Robert Trent Jones Course at Palmetto Dunes is one of the most popular courses on Hilton Head Island. (Courtesy of Palmetto Dunes Resort) Many believe the Leamington Lighthouse, located near the Arthur Hills Course at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, is haunted.
 (Courtesy of The Rees Jones-designed Oyster Reef Golf Club is one of seven courses the Heritage Golf Group has open for play on Hilton Head Island, S.C. (Courtesy of Heritage Golf Group)

Golf on Hilton Head Island: Choice options to consider if you're in town for the RBC Heritage

One of the best things about attending the PGA Tour's RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links this week besides its tradition is the fact that it's in one of the best golf locations in the United States.

That means if you bring your sticks, you can play golf, and Hilton Head Island, S.C. has so much to offer from great dining to fishing, hiking, beaches and, of course, playing golf.

And while the Sea Pines Resort is busy playing host the tournament, there are around two dozen other golf courses in the area open to the public.

One of them is Oyster Reef Golf Club, which is part of the Heritage Golf Group, and there are still some tee times available. It's one of the seven golf courses in the Collection, and arguably its best. Designed by Rees Jones, this championship course is carved out of 190 acres of Lowcountry terrain, surrounded by winding lagoons, lush vegetation and scenic views of the island. Its signature par-3, sixth hole overlooks Port Royal Sound and is one of the most recognized and photographed holes on the island.

But there's a bonus at Oyster Reef. It's the newly opened Lagerhead Tavern, which is a great place to get a craft brew and a bite to eat from a menu that features Lowcountry dishes made from homegrown ingredients. Plus, there's live entertainment all week there.

Golf at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort

Just minutes away from Harbour Town is the large Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, which has all kinds of activity going on this week. Those seeking a break from the tournament traffic on the south end of Hilton Head Island can enjoy Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort's wide variety of luxurious accommodations along with its acclaimed trio of golf course designs by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., Arthur Hills and George Fazio and many more resort activities

"It's an electric week around here," said Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort Director of Golf Clark Sinclair. "Our guests and residents go back and forth to the [RBC Heritage]. The tournament helps generate an exciting buzz throughout the resort."

The best known course of the group is the Robert Trent Jones Ocean Course with its iconic 10th hole right on the Atlantic.

But one of the other layouts, the Arthur Hills Course in the Leamington Neighborhood, has some interesting history.

You see, while Harbour Town and the RBC Heritage are known for the red-and-white lighthouse that overlooks its 18th green, Palmetto Dunes boasts a lighthouse of its own, and by some reports, it's haunted.

The Hilton Head Rear Lighthouse near the Hills Course was built in 1881 and put to use in 1884. Four years later, the lighthouse keeper, Adam Fripp, died of a heart attack while trying to sustain the light during a hurricane. Right before he died, Fripp urged his 21-year-old daughter, Caroline, to keep the light burning, but she mysteriously died three weeks later. Since her untimely death, it has been reported that a girl (who wears her blue dress), known as "The Blue Lady" has been seen in one of the lighthouse windows or at the foot of the lighthouse on wild, stormy nights.

For more information about Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, visit And to find out more about more about the Heritage Collection, visit

Apr 13, 2016

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Mike Bailey

Senior Staff Writer

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in the Houston area. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 20 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @Accidentlgolfer.