When the star on the marquee of the three courses at The Sea Pines Resort shines as brightly as does Harbour Town Golf Links, the two other layouts there must be exceptional on their own merits to share in the spotlight.
After all, Harbour Town is not only a coveted “bucket list” course for amateurs seeking to pad respective resumes of top courses played, the Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus co-design is even gushed over by the game’s best practitioners.
Two-time major champion Jordan Spieth says, “I really love Harbour Town Golf Links. It is a fantastic golf course.” Golfing great Tom Watson agrees, “I loved Harbour Town right from the beginning. I still love it and put it in my top five golf courses.” Perhaps Ernie Els says it best, “Harbour Town is incredible.”
The resort’s Heron Point course has received more and more recognition since Pete Dye was brought in to tweak his original 2007 design. The architectural maestro made a series of subtle modifications in 2014 with the objective of making the course more player friendly. His team softened the green surrounds and contours, enlarged several greens, and added ornamental landscape beds throughout the layout.
His efforts were well received by most everyone teeing it up there with the culmination of Heron Point named “2015 Course of the Year” by the Lowcountry Golf Course Owners Association as well as ranked No. 11 in GOLF Magazine’s “Best You Can Play Near You” in South Carolina.
Now the resort is showcasing its splendid new Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love III course which opened in Oct. The work of Love Golf Design, Atlantic Dunes is a complete reconstruction of the historic Ocean Course, the first on Hilton Head. Love, the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain, lead architect Scot Sherman and Mark Love created entirely rebuilt holes to accommodate modern shot values and frame scenic corridors.
Atlantic Dunes features a pronounced seaside ambience and Lowcountry feel accented by coquina shells and seaside grasses. The course benefits both visually and strategically from restoration of natural sand dunes as well as the creation of new dunes blending seamlessly into the design. Tens of thousands of indigenous plants were installed in these areas to complete the seaside feel.
“Atlantic Dunes is challenging from the back tees, but with several additional tee-boxes the course is thoroughly enjoyable for players of all abilities,” says Love. “It is a classic layout that rewards strategic thought and well-executed shots, and misses are not overly penalized.”
Sea Pines also upped the ante significantly with its golf amenities surrounding its exceptional 54 holes. The spectacular new 44,000-square-foot Harbour Town Clubhouse was named the 2016 “Best New Public Clubhouse” by Golf Inc. Magazine. The resort’s 23,000-square-foot Plantation Golf Club was awarded the 2015 “New Clubhouse of the Year” by the same publication.
Receiving “Platinum” status in GOLF Magazine’s biennial Premier Resorts list for 2016-2017 put a final bow on the results of the substantial investments Sea Pines has made. Platinum is the highest honor bestowed by the publication and singles out the “best of the best” golf destinations. Pebble Beach Resorts, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Kiawah Island Golf Resort, The American Club and Pinehurst Resort joined Sea Pines on the list.
Everything mentioned above makes for a true world-class golf experience. Even better, The Sea Pines Resort is right here on Hilton Head Island.
Photo Courtesy of The Sea Pines Resort / Rob Tipton.