RBC Heritage notebook



The RBC Heritage is an event rich in tradition. The tee shot into the Calibogue. The deafening pall of the opening cannon fire. The tartan jacket. The endless phone calls to that friend of a friend who you heard has extra clubhouse badges.

But with the tournament often playing out so close to Easter (even on Easter, as it is this year), there is one tradition that often doesn’t get as much attention. The Easter Egg Hunt will return this year on Easter Sunday, April 20, shortly after the traditional sunrise service. Like so many hackers combing through undergrowth after shanking one off the tees, young egg hunters will root around the Heritage Lawn for colorful prizes from the Easter Bunny.

They’ll be aided in their quest by Sir Willie Innes as they search for the elusive golden egg, each of which will have a ticket inside for a special RBC Heritage prize.

Children as old as 10 are welcome to the free event, with egg hunters split into groups of five-and-unders and six-and uppers. NOTE: Each child must bring their own basket or bag, as none will be provided.

The fun starts at 8:30 a.m. April 20 on the Heritage Lawn at Harbour Town Golf Links. Happy hunting!


CALIBOGUE-CLUBOver the years, a debate has blossomed about the best places to watch the action at the Heritage. The 10th fairway is a strong contender, given that you can pull an about face and check out the action on 16. Likewise the clubhouse has its fans, given that you can keep an eye on the 1st and 9th without being too far from drink service.

But true adherents to the Heritage know there’s magic in the view behind the 18th teebox, watching a drive careen into the unforgiving winds off the Calibogue, through the tumult of the armada of boats moored in the sound, and toward the iconic lighthouse.

This year, that unparalleled view gets an equally majestic home when the Heritage unveils the Calibogue Club. The crème de la crème of Heritage patrons will call the club home, where they’ll enjoy an exclusive skybox view of not only the famous 18th tee, but also the 17th green, skybox row, and envious looks from everyone who passes by.

The larger of the two buildings includes a shared dining area with copious flat screens, top-shelf food and beverage, and meeting space for anyone conducting official business during the tournament. It’s the swankiest spot on the sound, and it makes its debut this year.

Tickets range from a $15,000 12-guest package good Thursday-Sunday to a two-guest ticket package on either Thursday or Friday, with everything in between. Luxury like this may be sold out (more than half had been sold before Monthly went to press), but if you want behind the poshest velvet rope on the course, call 843-617-2448 or email bill@ www.heritageclassicfoundation.com


The 18th annual Christian Heritage Breakfast will welcome PGA Tour winner Kevin Streelman as its guest speaker at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, April 15 at the Marriott Resort in Palmetto Dunes. Everybody is invited to attend the event, which helps tee off the RBC Heritage presented by Boeing. Local musician Lavon Stevens will provide the morning’s music. Open to men, women and young people, the Christian Heritage Breakfast requires advance reservations, as no tickets will be sold at the door. Tickets are available by mail at $27.50 each or a table of 10 for $250. Make checks payable to “Christian Heritage Breakfast,” P.O. Box 5192, Hilton Head Island, SC 29938. For more information, call 843-290-3744. All proceeds will go to support the local South Coastal FCA organization’s coaches, campuses, camps and community and our FCA Golf ministries.


securytySecurity at the Heritage had always reflected the event’s laid-back feel. When was the last time you were asked to show your badge at one of the course’s many entry points? Us neither. This year’s RBC Heritage will be much different. Security personal will be screening all spectators at tournament checkpoints, including the shuttle bus parking lots, the main entrance and several other access points. No bags larger than a small purse of 6 x 6 inches will be allowed. This includes carrying cases, backpacks, camera bags and portable chair bags. Instead of sticking your badge in your pocket, it must be hanging from a lanyard at all times this year. Security will be checking to make sure everyone on the golf course is supposed to be there.


READING-PROGRAMThe Heritage Classic Foundation’s fourth annual Plaid About Reading program ran Feb. 5-19, giving young fans across the Lowcountry the chance to read their way to the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing. The lighthearted scholastic competition allowed area elementary school students in grades K-5 a chance to win $500 for their school and class, tickets to the RBC Heritage and the chance to meet a professional golfer. A PGA Tour pro and Sir William Innes will meet with students on Wednesday, April 16, at Hilton Head Library. Students who read the most pages from each class (K-5) received two daily grounds tickets to the RBC Heritage. For more information on the Plaid About Reading program, contact Sir William “Willie” Innes at willie@heritageclassicfoundation.com or call his friend Nadine General at 585-899-3242.


enterBICYCLEIn an effort to reduce traffic congestion, access to Sea Pines by bicycle will be encouraged for RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing ticket holders and volunteers. Tournament and volunteer badges must be presented for entry into Sea Pines. Access will only be granted during tournament hours. Bike path signage will direct cyclists to the free parking locations located on the tennis courts at the Harbour Town Golf Links and in the parking lot near the 13th green off Baynard Park Road. For route information, a bike trail map is available at www.rbcheritage.com/spectators/bicycling.


For the sixth year in a row, the RBC Heritage has committed to power the tournament with 100 percent green power, teaming up again with Palmetto Electric Cooperative and Santee Cooper. Under a promotion campaign proclaiming “Plaid is the New Green,” the RBC Heritage will purchase green power from Palmetto Electric Cooperative for the duration of the tournament. The tournament was the first major Green Power event in the state, back in 2009. Santee Cooper generates its green power from clean, renewable energy sources including landfill biogas, solar power and wind power within South Carolina.


Think the RBC Heritage is special? You’re right. The Heritage is one of only five tournaments given invitational status by the PGA Tour. Invitational tournaments have smaller fields and more freedom than full-field open tournaments in determining which players are eligible to participate. Invitationals are not required to fill their fields using the PGA Tour Priority Ranking System and there is no open qualifying. The other four invitationals are the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, the Memorial Tournament and the AT&T National.


Erica Sullivan, of Macon, Ga., is the winner of the Plaid Nation Celebration contest. Sullivan and a friend won a VIP golf experience, including behindthe- scenes access at the RBC Heritage, a Doc’s BBQ Club 15 ticket booklet, a ride in the MetLife Blimp, Plaid Nation memorabilia and a South Carolina Just Right prize package. The RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing, in partnership with South Carolina Tourism and MetLife, hosted the Plaid Nation Celebration contest. To enter, fans had to answer the question “Why do you love the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing?” After the entry period, five finalists were named based on entries with the best content and most votes (votes included retweets on Twitter and likes on Facebook comments). A brief of Sullivan’s winning post stated, “Lighthouses, tartan and superb golf! Champions, bag pipes, and salt air! Who could ask for more? The RBC Heritage has it all! What other tournament is packed onto such a small island, and comes complete with alligators, bicycle rides, and beautiful ocean sunsets? Easy…None.”


The PGA Tour came close to pulling the plug on the Heritage 28 years ago when Hilton Head Holdings, the parent company of Sea Pines Co., filed for bankruptcy. The golf course was in poor condition due to lack of funds. Joseph B. Fraser Jr., John Curry and Sol Blatt formed a plan to save the tournament, enlisting a group of local businessmen to create the Heritage Classic Foundation, a non-profit organization that became the general sponsor of the Heritage. The men also raised $300,000 to restore the course to playable condition and acquired the resources needed for the $1 million purse. The foundation decided any proceeds left over from the tournament would be donated to local charities. Since 1986, the foundation has donated more than $23 million.


The RBC Heritage has a coveted spot on the PGA Tour, usually one week after the Masters in Augusta, Ga. That hasn’t always been the case. From 1969 to 1972 it took place on Thanksgiving Weekend (take that, Dallas Cowboys). In 1973, it was played in September. From 1974 to 1982 the Heritage took place in March, usually two weeks before the Masters. The tournament has been played in April since 1983.


Charles Fraser decided to build the Heritage’s traditions after researching the South Carolina Golf Club, America’s first golf course and golf club. In 1786 the club was formed and established “Harleston Green” in what is now downtown Charleston. The term “green fee” is thought to have evolved from dues paid by members to maintain the course. While the club is now a memory, its golf tournament.


Ever see those Heritage Classic Foundation license plates around town? You don’t have to be a member of the foundation or even a big shot to get one for your favorite ride. The plate is available to anyone with a vehicle registered in South Carolina. It costs $75 every two years. In the first year, $66 is donated to the foundation. Each time the plate comes up for renewal, $71 is given to the foundation’s charity programs. Show the world how much you love the Heritage while driving up charity dollars!