The Lowcountry is incredibly rich in heritage and culture and has had a unique role in American history. From Charleston to Savannah, there is no doubt that this area is the historic origin of black America’s beginning. Significantly, this area can lay claim to the origins of black America because it is where newly freed slaves first became self-sufficient legal citizens of the U.S. The Port of Charleston served as the entry point for more African slaves than any other port, and as a result, in pre-Civil War days South Carolina’s black population was far greater than the population of the whites who enslaved them. The economic impact of the slave trade made South Carolina a “slave society,” but the state also is the birthplace of Reconstruction — the gateway to a post-slavery future.

Canadian online travel site Flight Network ranked The Inn & Club at Harbour Town No. 43 on its list of the “100 Greatest Hotels in the World.” Results were determined by a panel that examined accommodations based on everything from their original style to first-class services, ability to embody local culture, and access to remarkable environments.

The organization’s impact can’t be measured in dollars and cents alone.

Every year, the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing rolls into town, and every year, the numbers get bigger. Hundreds of thousands of dollars raised for this, hundreds of thousands raised for that.

It’s a testament to the fantastic work this organization does that we somehow find ourselves getting numb to the numbers. We applaud when we hear the total and congratulate everyone on another year of fundraising.

Almost like the release of a new iPhone, hoards of golfers lie in wait for Pro-Am tournament packages to go on sale for the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing. There are more than 300 spots, but in essence some reserved their place in line years ago because corporate partners and longtime Pro-Am players get first rights of refusal.

“We have one person who is playing his 49th Pro-Am,” said Derek Paton, vice president of sales and marketing for the Heritage Classic Foundation. “There isn’t room for many new players.”

Later in the same month that Hurricane Matthew slammed its Category 2 wrath into Hilton Head Island, Simon Fraser announced that the Heritage Classic Foundation had committed to donating up to $100,000 for hurricane relief efforts. Local residents in need of food, shelter or clothing would soon get it.

This is what the nonprofit foundation does — it helps people and organizations in the Lowcountry and has since its founding in 1987. More than $35 million has been distributed to charitable groups, as well as area students in the form of academic scholarships, said Fraser, now in his 11th year as foundation chairman.

GOLF CONTINUES TO BE HILTON HEAD’S BIGGEST BREADWINNER

There is no place more glorious than Hilton Head Island in the spring. The temperature is perfect, azaleas are in full bloom and the area is getting reading for its biggest party, the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing.

The festivities aren’t just for those at The Sea Pines Resort. It’s a gift for the entire area, and, boy, after the fall we’ve had, we need it.

Random stuff you should know about this year's Heritage.

HERITAGE CLASSIC FOUNDATION NAMES 8 SCHOLARS

Eight outstanding Beaufort County seniors were named Heritage Classic Foundation Scholars at a luncheon on March 21 at Sonesta Resort. The students come from five different high schools including May River High School and Whale Branch Early College High School, which have never had scholarships awarded previously.

Non GolfersThe top golfers on the PGA Tour flock to Hilton Head Island each year, and not just for the quality of the golf.

Yes, Harbour Town Golf Links provides world-class competition for the pros, but the laid-back, family-friendly atmosphere and the fan support on Hilton Head make the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing one of the tour’s premier events.

The action is non-stop for golf fans, giving locals a chance to walk side-by-side with the greatest in the game for a week. But the true beauty of this glorious week each year is the social aspect of the RBC Heritage.

Heritage Classic Foundation thanks service members with Patriots Outpost

veteransThe RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing will continue its tradition of honoring military men and women at this year’s tournament, even as one longtime volunteer steps down from his leadership role.

The Heritage Classic Foundation offers free tournament admission to active-duty military and their dependents, and its Patriots Outpost will once again offer a free party and skybox by the 16th green for those who serve their country.

Doug SmithGolf is not just a fun sport for Doug Smith, but a decades-long mission.

His advocacy of the game hit a new high this year when he was picked to serve as the 2017 tournament chairman for the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing. Smith, of Spartanburg, was selected for the post by the Heritage Classic Foundation in recognition of his work toward the foundation’s mission, which is “to enhance quality of life and economic vitality of South Carolina through signature golf events.”

Branden GraceSouth African star golfer Branden Grace returns to defend his title

On the eve of last year’s RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing, Hall of Fame golfer Ernie Els told fellow South African Branden Grace he had a good feeling about his pal’s prospects at Harbour Town Golf Links.

“We went to his house for coffee, and he told me this is one event that I’m going to win a couple of times in my career,” Grace recalled after notching his first PGA Tour victory at Harbour Town last April. “It was nice to hear from a legend like that.”

A mere six months after Hilton Head Island was hit by a hurricane, Harbour Town Golf Links is again playing host to one of the most celebrated PGA Tour events for an impressive 49th consecutive year.

As it has every year for nearly five decades, the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing has attracted many of the top PGA Tour stars, including marquee International players and popular American stars. Back to defend his first Heritage victory is one of those international standouts: Brendan Grace. The South African is joined by European stalwarts such as Martin Kaymer and Luke Donald, who has five top 5 finishes at Harbour Town, but no title to show for it.

At first glance, it may be difficult to see the logic of linking the concepts of diversity, change and fear, and yet it is easy to connect them. The connection between change and fear is obvious; we all know that change can be scary. We also know that because change is often scary, we are sometimes motivated to resist it directly, even in bombastic ways, or indirectly through subtle forms of passive resistance.

For more than three decades, the cheerful Windmill Harbour sign has greeted those crossing the bridge to Hilton Head Island from the mainland. Few, however, have experienced the exclusive waterfront lifestyle enjoyed by the residents who live behind the gates of that community.

Sometimes we forget to pay attention to the everyday things that surround us; the things that create a familiar backdrop for our lives. We don’t often ask ourselves about the design of our community, or who planted that tree or why those statues are honoring people with names that we’ve never heard of. We also tend to ignore all of the “cultural stuff,” even though we know that someone decided long ago that it was important.

Hargray Communications Group and The Pritzker Organization recently announced that Tom Pritzker Family Business Interests has agreed to acquire Hargray in an all-cash transaction. Hargray is the main broadband communications and entertainment provider to the Lowcountry and is growing throughout Georgia. Over the past 10 years, the company has invested over $250 million to create a communications network that includes 2,000 route miles of fiber and serves over 65,000 customers. The transaction is expected to close in the third calendar quarter.