(NOTE: This is the third of a series of public golf courses in the Lowcountry.)
Playing Hilton Head National is the ultimate golf experience in the Lowcountry. It has been rated by local magazines and golf apps (Golf Now, Golf Advisor) as one of the best courses in South Carolina.
Hilton Head National opened as a Gary Player Signature Course in 1989 to rave reviews. In 1995, they opened a third nine with Bobby Weed as the architect.
However, in 2008, construction of the Bluffton Parkway took nine of the holes away.
The course is now a combination of Player-Weed design. This makes the course more interesting with two different styles of design.
The course is extremely popular with tourists, with 75% of play coming from visitors to the Lowcountry.
Head professional Sterlyn Mitchell said that “word of mouth, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have helped with our popularity. Locals also enjoy playing the course because we treat them like a member.”
Residents have no problem getting a starting time 48 hours in advance.
I played the course during the winter months and it still is in excellent shape. In fact, the greens are perfect.
The course recently underwent a bunker renovation, making the bunkers perfectly manicured and consistent to hit out of. The bunkers are strategically located so that you can run up shots to many of the greens, instead of the forced carries you have at most golf courses in the area.
One of the exclusive aspects of the course is the golf carts. They have a GPS system, Visage, that shows the golfer the hole design and distances to the pin on the green. It can also show you how far it is to bunkers and water hazards.
The system allows the pro shop to know where every cart is on the course so they can monitor pace of play. They guarantee a round of 4 hours and 15 minutes or less.
The sixth hole is the most picturesque and is their signature hole. This hole is very narrow, with a lake all along the right side and bunkers well placed along the left.
The shot to the elevated green is challenging and well bunkered, with water coming into play if you use the wrong club into the green.
The final hole, No. 18, is very challenging with both length and accuracy needed to end your round with a good number. A water hazard along the right side makes accuracy important on both your drive and shot into the green.
It should be noted that construction has begun on the Hilton Head National RV resort, but Mitchell assures us that construction work will have no affect on golf play. The park is not visible from the course.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local courses. firstname.lastname@example.org; golfdoctorjean.com