When the winter months roll around, golf nuts living above the Mason-Dixon know that Hilton Head Island — and its renowned Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort — are ready when they are.
It is an irrefutable fact of life for golfers who reside in the northeast. After the leaves have fallen from the trees and the holidays have come and gone, golf gloves are replaced by gloves and mitts; golf clubs give way to a snow shovels; and instead of counting strokes, they are reduced to counting inches and sometimes feet of white stuff dropping from the sky.
Of course, recreational activities don’t have to come to a screeching halt during this time of year. For many Yankee golf nuts, winter months simply mean a temporary change of address. They know American, Delta, United, US Airways and JetBlue — starting February 13 from JFK and Boston Logan — are ready when they are. For these snowbirds, Southern hospitality cordially beckons their arrival: “Hey y’all,” a voice calls out with sugar sweetness, “Come on down.”
Question is, where to go on your winter golf getaway? Sure, there’s Florida. Here’s one suggestion for a change of venue on your winter menu: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, the largest barrier island off the Atlantic coast between Long Island and the Bahamas, located just north of Savannah, Ga., and 90 miles south of Charleston, Hilton Head is called “The Golf Island” for good reason, with its world-class, public-access golf 12 months a year, and more than 400 holes on the island and plenty more off island.
As for where to stay during your visit, Hilton Head’s “hottest” spot these days is Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, which is simply one of the most family-friendly Shangri-Las you’ll ever find. Palmetto Dunes 2000 acre resort offers vacationers a choice of three superb golf courses, each one unparalleled in design, and yet distinctly different and challenging.
Readers of Golfweek magazine rated the completely renovated Robert Trent Jones Oceanfront Course among the best golf courses in the Southeast. The George Fazio Course is regarded by many golfers as the island’s most challenging championship course and stands apart as the only par-70 course on this island. The Arthur Hills Course offers a careful blend of beauty and challenge. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson honed their skills on the Arthur Hills Course when both were college athletes, while the Robert Trent Jones Oceanfront Course and the Arthur Hills Course have both been named “Golf Course of the Year” in South Carolina by the South Carolina Golf Course Owners Association.
New in 2014, the golf carts at the Robert Trent Jones Course are now equipped with a state-of-the-art Visage GPS system, making Palmetto Dunes the first golf course on Hilton Head Island to offer such technology. The touch screen system offers 3D graphics, yardages, real-time tournament tracking, ability to email scores, and food and beverage call buttons. The systems have shown to improve pace of play due to increased knowledge of the course — and the resort also offers a free new golf app with features for booking packages, making tee times, tracking round info and more.
Former PGA Tour player Doug Weaver, Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort’s highly regarded director of instruction, manages the golf academy and supervises all instruction. In addition, golfers may take advantage of “The Custom Fitting Experience,” a one-hour free swing evaluation and club fitting conducted by Rod Thompson — Plane Truth Certified and recognized by Titleist as one of the country’s top club fitters six straight years.
Palmetto Dunes offers free golf clinics on Mondays, as well as a number of appealing Winter Golf Packages and “Golf-Buddy Getaways” that include accommodations at either of the resort’s two hotels, or in its golf villas and homes. If you happen to not play golf, Tennis magazine has ranked Palmetto Dunes among “The 50 Greatest U.S. Tennis Resorts” since 1975 and Palmetto Dunes Tennis was also recently ranked No. 5 in the “World’s Top 100 Tennis Resorts and Camps” by Tennis Resorts Online. There is an 11 mile inland salt-water lagoon system for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing
Little wonder why in 2013 Palmetto Dunes was named one of the “World’s Top Family Getaways” by Travel + Leisure Family, while Forbes magazine has rated Palmetto Dunes among its top 11 family resorts.
Needless to say, you can’t beat the surroundings. One of America’s great resort meccas from the second half of the 20th century until today, Hilton Head Island rests luxuriously along the Intracoastal Waterway and encompasses 42 square miles of semi-tropical, Carolina Low Country warmed by the Gulf Stream and framed by palm trees, live oaks and rolling dunes. Making this enchanting haven all the more appealing are its unspoiled sea marshes, creeks and lagoons, and 12 miles of broad Atlantic beach.
Hilton Head boasts an active culture and nightlife, and fancies itself cultural and sophisticated. Springtime blooms early and falls leaves late in Hilton Head’s perennial climate.
Yet, Hilton Head’s hidden secret is that once summer has come and gone, most of the tourists have gone, too. Which is what makes the months between November and march— when the average high temperature on Hilton Head is 62.5 degrees — one of the most popular times of the year for locals and savvy out-of-towners. During winter months, you’ll find a relatively small number of people tackling the island’s 23 golf courses (not including a dozen more in neighboring Bluffton) meaning those who want to play seemingly have golf courses all to themselves.
If you are looking to mix it up a little this winter and want to enjoy some world-class golf or tennis at the most family-friendly resort around, try Hilton Head Island, S.C., and its venerable Palmetto Dunes Resort. You’ll be glad you did. For more information, call 877-567-6513 or visit www.PalmettoDunes.com.
About Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort
Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort is a 2,000+ acre vacation community ideally located in the middle of Hilton Head Island, S.C. bounded by three miles of prime Atlantic Ocean beach on one side and a beautiful sheltered Intracoastal Waterway marina on the other. The resort features three world-class golf courses, an award-winning tennis center, an 11 mile inland salt-water lagoon system for kayaking and fishing, the impressive Mediterranean-style Shelter Cove Harbour deep-water marina with shopping and dining, and an outdoor adventure center for bike rentals, canoes, kayaks, fishing and much more. The marina is also home to a wide variety of charters including nature cruises, dolphin tours, sport crabbing and fishing. For information about activities or reservations, please call 877-567-6513 or visit www.palmettodunes.com