Each April, as we celebrate the RBC Heritage Classic here on Hilton Head Island, one sport that might go unnoticed is all the people-watching that we enjoy. Imagine hosting guests who love the same things you love, who enjoy life in so many of the same ways, and who are willing to make the arrangements necessary to come and enjoy them with you – some of them year after year.
Situated right here amongst the Sea Pines golf courses that have done more than their part to turn Hilton Head into America’s favorite vacation island, the folks with inside knowledge that led them to Spicebush at Sea Pines – a kind of neighborhood wrapped in a resort – we are in a great position to catch the energy and enthusiasm, the pure enjoyment, that people bring with them to these legendary Sea Pines golf courses.
Literally Out of the Box
With five hours of scenic television coverage every year, the Heritage Classic made the Harbour Town Golf Links into one of the best-recognized and most sought-after courses in the world. It is a course of legends and dreams. And yet, the folks who know about the vacation villas of Spicebush – how to rent them and how owning one is just as easy – these fortunate insiders enjoy the firsthand experience of seeing all three of the Sea Pines golf courses come out of the TV and into their lives.
These courses come alive for their families and their favorite foursomes, and Spicebush puts them all in easy reach. The Harbour Town Golf Links are just the beginning. From here you can make your own selection.
For the Long Game
With seven sets of tees, including tees for junior golfers, Heron Point, a 7,035-yard course from the back tees, offers an excellent round for the heavy hitter. This Pete Dye course can be played a variety of ways, including shorter. Regardless of the approach you choose, the experience is dramatic, with four holes guarded by water; fairways bounded by dense, green bulkheads and walls of wooded groves; and Dye’s sculptural way of using mounds and swales to both frame and guard the target areas.
Heron Point achieves this in the nature-friendly way pioneered by Sea Pines, such that it has won the designation of Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. It’s welcome and challenge to golfers made Heron Point the 2015 Golf Course of the Year for South Carolina and one of Golf Digest’s “Best Places to Play.”
Refreshed and Refreshing
Davis Love III is a Heritage Classic favorite as a player, and so he brought special insights about the character of Sea Pines golf courses to his new design. Atlantic Dunes is Love’s complete reconstruction of Sea Pine’s original golf course, the historic Ocean Course. As a result of this deep understanding, Atlantic Dunes was named Course of the Year by the National Golf Course Owner’s Association (NCGOA).
Atlantic Dunes sometimes flirts with the shoreline, and sometimes embraces it, blending the beachfront with the stately pines that gave this resort its name, and with the ancient, Spanish moss-draped live oaks that seem to pass an age-old blessing on the rounds of Sea Pines golf that people play today.
One for the Books
The stories behind Harbour Town Golf Links have rightfully passed into legend. In fact, the true story begins with a couple of legends. When they completed it, just in time for the first Heritage Classic tournament, course architect Pete Dye and consultant Jack Nicklaus predicted that “only players of championship quality” would win at Harbour Town Golf Links. Indeed, only four of the 54 Heritage winners thus far found their first championship here.
When Harbour Town Golf Links was completed – in just 18 months – for that first Heritage, Sports Illustrated called it “nothing short of a work of art.”
It’s interesting that even when they reached into golf history for the design, Dye, Nicklaus, and Sea Pine founder Charles Fraser were ahead of their time. The links design at Harbour Town anticipated by more than four decades the restoration of Pinehurst No. 2 to its original design. Harbour Town Golf Links calls for skill with every club – and a bit of cunning, they say. Designed like the links of Scotland, it can’t be won with power alone, or even power primarily.
We Call Them Neighbors
A friend told us that one of his favorite memories of golf was hosting a client from Ireland for a round on the old Ocean Course of Harbour Town. The Irishman had grown up steeped in the heritage of golf and had long dreamed of playing here. In addition to the delight of finding himself on one of the Sea Pines golf courses that he had dreamed of playing, he noticed something more.
“As we played on beyond the third or fourth hole, my Irish friend got quieter and quieter,” he told us. “The look of pleasure on his face never left but his concentration seemed to grow.”
It turned out that the Irishman had begun to realize that he was playing one of the best rounds of golf in his life. His scorecard became just as memorable as the beauty he was experiencing.
The Sea Pines golf courses inspire stories such as this one just about every day. We count ourselves fortunate, here in Spicebush at Sea Pines, to call these courses – and the people who play them – our neighbors.