Palmetto Dunes Golf Trio Honored in South Carolina Rankings

For a half-century, Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort on Hilton Head Island has served as a prime example of what longstanding commitment to quality and customer satisfaction can accomplish. Golf has always served as the heart and soul of the Palmetto Dunes experience.

Little wonder that all three Palmetto Dunes championship golf courses were once again voted among South Carolina’s best for 2017.

In the Golf Course Ratings Panel’s biennial listing of the “Best Courses You Can Play,” all three Palmetto Dunes courses — Robert Trent Jones, Arthur Hills and George Fazio — made the list. The feat is particularly impressive considering there were only six total courses from Hilton Head and the Low country on the South Carolina Panel’s list.

The George Fazio Course was one of four newcomers to the list this year. The par 70, 6873 yard challenging layout has only two par 5s. The front nine features tree lined fairways and the back nine is tighter and more severe. Although Hurricane Matthew had an impact on all the courses in the low country, the Fazio course lost some of its bordering trees, but still presents a formidable challenge from the tips and an enjoyable round from the other tees.

The South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel is composed of golf enthusiasts representing a diverse range of occupations, handicaps and backgrounds. These individuals have been charged with the task of identifying the best that South Carolina golf has to offer. In odd-numbered years, the Panel releases a listing of the best non-private courses in the state. Every resort, public access, and daily-fee course is eligible for this elite listing.

Also, in Golfweek magazine’s “Best Golf Courses You Can Play in Each State” — a state-by-state list of the best golf courses you can play across the United States as selected by Golfweek’s raters — the Robert Trent Jones Course at Palmetto Dunes checked in at No. 11 in the state. The RTJ course is probably the best you can play on Hilton Head with its oceanfront holes and length, which would even make it suitable for the RBC Heritage should they ever choose to leave the current venue. Of the threesome, I enjoyed Robert Trent Jones the most during a recent visit.

Warming up on the RTJ range, I met up with Doug Weaver, Director of Instruction at Palmetto Dunes. Doug is a former PGA Tour Pro, U.S.Open record holder and has many years of teaching experience. He was named the 2012 Teacher of the Year by the Hilton Head Island PGA Chapter. Doug and his fine staff of PGA Instructors give daily group lessons, stroke of the day classes on Mondays and are available for private instruction at either the Arthur Hills or the Robert Trent Jones driving ranges.

Golfweek’s eclectic ranking panel consists of 675 voters from seven countries who rely on 10 criteria to rate a golf course, including overall land plan, variety and memorability of golf holes, conditioning and ecology, and the “Walk in the park test”, which rates the sense of the course as worthy of spending four hours on it. The number of courses per state varies based on course supply, population and level of play; and the Golfweek rankings include daily-fee layouts and golf courses accessible via resorts.

In past years, the South Carolina Board of Directors of the National Golf Course Owners Association has named all three golf courses at Palmetto Dunes — each one distinctively different and uniquely appealing — the “South Carolina Golf Course of the Year.”

The Arthur Hills course is tucked away within the serene enclave of the private residential community of Leamington in Palmetto Dunes. It is the shortest of the three, but truly a shotmaker’s favorite. The layout emphasizes accuracy and precision over distance, providing formidable challenges at every turn. The Hills design is also home to one of the low country’s most historic lighthouses, the Hilton Head Range Light Station, which guided ships into Port Royal Sound beginning in the late 1800’s.

“At Palmetto Dunes, we obviously take great pride in offering our members and guests a unique trio of the finest golf options in one convenient place,” said Palmetto Dunes Vice President of Resort Operations Brad Marra. “Being recognized by the golf course ranking experts year in and year out is part of the equation. We are honored that they appreciate the high prioritization we place on great golf.”

About Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort

Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort is a 2,000-acre resort destination located in the middle of Hilton Head Island, S.C., bounded by 3 miles of Atlantic Ocean beach on one side and a sheltered Intracoastal Waterway marina on the other. Named to the top 25 World’s Best Family Getaways by Travel + Leisure in 2013, 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, and Hilton Head Outfitters for bike rentals, canoes, kayaks, fishing and much more. The Mediterranean-style Shelter Cove Harbour, Hilton Head Island’s largest deep-water marina, located right across from Palmetto Dunes, features waterfront shopping and dining and a wide variety of charters, including nature cruises, dolphin tours, sport crabbing and fishing. Dining inside the gates of Palmetto Dunes is a real treat. Each clubhouse has its own unique restaurant. Arthurs at the Hills, Big Jim’s at RTJ and the Fazio Grille serving sandwiches and beverages in comfortable settings. Alexanders is an upscale restaurant featuring seasonally inspired cuisine with locally sourced seafood and ingredients for fresh menu choices. The Dunes House is right at the beach and has good food  in a relaxed atmosphere with the best fish tacos in Hilton Head. For information about activities or reservations, please call 877-567-6513 or visit

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Dave Daubert

David, Editor & Feature Writer, has been writing about golf since the turn of the century. He was Managing Editor at a regional golf magazine for 11 years, published in Canada, the IAGTO and a Staff Writer for The Georgia Golf Trail. His insightful perspective brings golf to life.

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