As the holiday season approaches, activity around the Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort golf courses has not slowed down a bit.
Photo credit @aedreams
October was an exceptional month on the links and on one recent chilly, mid-November day, Palmetto Dunes Director of Golf Clark Sinclair said he had nearly 160 golfers. This included one group of 90 Canadians staying for a month, who have spread the word about Palmetto Dunes through the years and who enjoy traveling in a pack.
“We've got a lot of northerners and Canadians from all provinces,” said Sinclair.
Photo credit @s2key13
Sinclair said the three courses are in tip-top shape. “The Zoysia greens are in near perfect condition during the winter,” he said. “We over-seeded the Hills and Jones Courses, but did not over-seed the Fazio Course.”
Sinclair said now that the weather has started to cool, Palmetto Dunes popular “golf bikes” are being used more than during the heat of the summer. And, for the particularly health-conscious, the courses allow golfers to walk the courses year-round. Finally, Sinclair said, the four-player golf carts offered by Palmetto Dunes were “super popular” during the spring and summer months, particularly for families who wanted to tour the links together.
Speaking of the holiday spirit, Visage Mobile Golf Information System will be added to the Hills Course fleet of golf carts in December, meaning all three golf courses will now enjoy this cutting-edge technology that serves as “fleet diagnostician, marshal, ranger, concierge, caddie, marketing assistant, security officer and goodwill ambassador.”
Want to give your special golfer a Christmas present they will remember forever? Give them a visit to SwingFit, the expert club-fitting service at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort.. SwingFit is headed by Chris Wycoff, who has been once again named one of Golf Digest magazine’s "Top 100 Club Fitters” in America for 2017-2018. “Swing Fit is doing very well with steady traffic most of the time,” Sinclair said. “We enjoy having this offering because we are a full-service resort and we are offering golfers the ultimate in club-fitting precision.”
Photo credit @corrigan872
Sinclair added that the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour will be coming to the Fazio Course Nov. 18-19 for the Hilton Head Junior Challenge, with players from up and down the east coast including plenty of local, Hilton Head-area talent.
Palmetto Dunes offers numerous packages and specials throughout the year that can be catered to your needs including packages for golf, tennis, spa, family, romance, weddings and seasonal, not to mention some very enticing group offers.
Clearly, when the holiday season rolls around, there is no better place to be than Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort.
The weather is lovely, the people are friendly, the golf is glorious, and the food delicious! Fall is a wonderful time to be on Hilton Head Island, and Thanksgiving is no exception. If you’re planning on a Lowcountry Thanksgiving, you’re in luck! We’ve got plenty of specials, events, dining options, and more, so come celebrate Thanksgiving with us!
What would Thanksgiving be without a beautiful meal? At Palmetto Dunes, we're cooking up some feasts, and we're looking forward to welcoming you to our table.
Palmetto Dunes Club Thanksgiving Buffet: Just because you’ve got a fully appointed kitchen in your vacation rental doesn’t mean that you have to cook! Join us for the annual Thanksgiving Day Buffet at the Palmetto Dunes Club on Thursday, November 23 featuring all your turkey day favorites plus all the trimmings!
Thursday, November 23, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Cost: $43.00 per person
Child 12 & under: $23.00
Under 5: FREE
Price includes tax and 18% gratuity. Reservations required. Call 1-843-686-9143 by November 21 to make your reservation.
Alexander’s Restaurant: This year, up the ante on your Thanksgiving meal with a decadent feast prepared by the chefs at Alexander’s. Their Thanksgiving menu includes Lowcountry lobster bisque, apple cider and sage-roasted turkey breast, blackened salmon, pumpkin cheesecake, and more.
Thursday, November 23, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Cost: $55.00 per person
Child’s Turkey Dinner: $25.00
Price includes tax and 18% gratuity. Reservations recommended. Call 1-843-785-4999 or visit www.AlexandersRestaurant.com to make your reservation.
Dunes House Oyster Roast: It’s oyster season in Lowcountry and the annual Dunes House Oyster Roast & Seafood Boil is the perfect way to celebrate. So take a break from turkey and head to The Dunes House on Saturday, November 25 to enjoy oysters by the bucket, live music, food and drink specials, and more!
Saturday, November 25, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Live music from 2 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Oysters are $20 per bucket.
(Entertainment, hours and specials are subject to change and are weather permitting.)
Thanksgiving isn’t just about eating until you’re too full to move! At Palmetto Dunes, there are some fantastic events that will be fun for the whole family. (Not to mention that nothing burns off a turkey dinner like a round of golf!)
Shop, Dine & Stroll at Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina: Stroll right into the holiday spirit with this annual tradition at Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina. Take in the festive holiday lights on the boats in the marina, and even get a head start on your holiday shopping with specials at the stores in Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina happening throughout Thanksgiving weekend.
Friday, November 24 – Sunday, November 26 Store specials at Nash Gallery, Tradewinds, La Belle Image Fine Art, Christmas on the Harbour, Taffeta, Eliza Bleu Boutique, Ship’s Store
Santa at Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina: One of the highlights of Thanksgiving at Palmetto Dunes is when Santa Claus comes to town! Rumor has it he’ll be pulling into Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina at noon on November 24 to say hello, get some Christmas wishes from kids and kick off the holiday season. Come early to enjoy all of the family fun, including gingerbread decorating courtesy of Hilton Head Social Bakery (while supplies last), a bounce house, wax hands, train rides, and more!
Friday, November 24, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Santa’s Arrival: 12 p.m.
Live Music at The Dunes House: Celebrate Thanksgiving by the beach at The Dunes House! Weather permitting, everyone’s favorite beachside restaurant will be open with a limited menu and live music for your enjoyment on Thanksgiving Day. For the complete monthly schedule, click here.
Friday, November 24 from 2 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday, November 25 from 2 - 5 p.m.
Congratulations! You’ve crossed picking the perfect place to say “I do” at Palmetto Dunes off your to-do list! What’s next? It’s time to start putting together the team of vendors that will make your wedding day go off without a hitch. From wedding planners to transportation, and everything in between, here are all the pieces of the wedding puzzle:
We have an award-winning resort team just waiting to guide you on the day of your dreams. But, if you want to take your wedding to the next level, a wedding planner can help coordinate the smaller details of your big day and make your wedding planning process as smooth as possible.
Book 12+ months in advance.
Your officiant sets the tone for your entire wedding, so make sure you find someone whose style speaks to you. We recommend getting referrals (luckily, we have some!) and taking the time to speak beforehand about your ideal ceremony. After all, you want to make sure it’s the right fit!
Book 8-10 months in advance.
While your big day will go by in an instant, the memories captured by photo or video will last forever. There are many photographers/videographers to choose from, so do your research and book well in advance to make sure you get the best. We suggest that you check out past work, read through reviews, and set up interviews to talk through your preferred style with a few options before deciding.
Book 8-10 months in advance.
The entertainment at your wedding plays a big role in getting people out on the dance floor and having a good time. Whether you’re choose a DJ or a band, listen to their music, and touch base to discuss what music you want them to play and whether they are open to requests before making the big decision.
Book 8-10 months in advance.
The decor of your wedding can truly bring your big day to life. Lucky for you, rentals are one thing that you don’t have to worry about on that front! At Palmetto Dunes, with the facility fee comes set-up and break-down of your choice of tables—60” or 72” rounds for dinner tables, sweetheart tables, highboys, and 8ft tables—white folding chairs, white or ivory linen, cloth napkins (selection of colors available), our in-house supply of centerpieces, and all silverware, glassware, and china. We also have a beautiful arbor available for rent that comes decorated with sheer curtains.
Confirm 8-10 months in advance.
Arbors. Centerpieces. Bouquets. When it comes to being sure that your wedding makes an impression, your florist is a key player. The first step is establishing your flower style and floral needs. Then, to find a florist to create this wedding day vision, get recommendations (like these!), schedule interviews, and view portfolios of past work.
Book 8-10 months in advance.
The Caterer & Cake
Planning the food and picking the wedding cake is a fun part of wedding planning! Whether it’s hors d'oeuvres, a served meal, or a buffet, the Executive Chef at Dunes Catering & Events will help you select the ideal catered menu for your wedding. Then, it’s time to pick a baker who can satisfy your sweet tooth. Our tip: taste, taste, and taste some more until you find a cake that’s just right!
Book 4-6 months in advance.
Before all the fun can start, you, your wedding party, and your guests need to get to your wedding venue. For a smooth, fun, and prompt ride, book your transportation in advance—especially if you are coordinating transport for all of your wedding guests. Lucky for you, if you and your guests stay right at Palmetto Dunes, getting to your venue will be a sinch!
Book 3 months in advance.
Your wedding day is one of the biggest days of your life, so why not go all out to feel your very best! From manicures and pedicures to hair and make-up, your beauty dream team is never far at Palmetto Dunes. Here are our top recommendations!
Book 2 months in advance.
Feeling inspired to start planning, check out all of our vendor recommendations here.
At Palmetto Dunes, life is simply better on the golf course! With three superb courses, top-notch golf pros, daily lessons—not to mention complimentary golf clinics on Monday nights—and fully-stocked pro shops, it’s no surprise that novices and golf legends alike are drawn to our oceanfront resort to perfect their game. To help inspire your next golf trip to Palmetto Dunes, here are 5 golf tips from the pros:
Palmetto Dunes has not one, not two, but three (yes, you heard us right!) world-class courses to choose from—each guaranteed put your swing to the test! The Robert Trent Jones Oceanfront Course, South Carolina’s Golf Course of the Year, the George Fazio Course, Hilton Head Island’s only par-70 public golf course, and the award-winning, Arthur Hills Course, challenge and delight golfers of all levels. No matter which you choose, you can trust that your time on the course will be memorable.
Palmetto Dunes, not only can you “smell the roses” but you can take in the
natural beauty of this South Carolina sea island, including rolling dunes,
ocean views, and iconic Lowcountry scenery. On top of that, but you can admire
the dozens of species of birds as well as alligators and deer that call the
island home. In fact, the scenic Robert Trent Jones Oceanfront Course has been
named a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” for its commitment to
providing a sanctuary for wildlife.
We couldn’t agree more with this quote—that’s why Palmetto Dunes operates one of the finest golf academies in the world. With golf lessons, clinics, and instruction available to golfers of all ages and levels, you’ll be just at the top of your game before you know it—now that’s lucky!
It’s fair to say the more you play, the better you’ll get—and, of course, the more fun you’ll have! Fortunately, our golf packages offer you the chance to play plenty during your stay at Palmetto Dunes.
The golf courses at Palmetto Dunes are open year-round, giving you plenty of chances to come back and play like a champion!
Do these professional tips have you feeling inspired to hit the course? Let us help you plan your perfect golf trip!
Oysters are practically a way of life in the Lowcountry! Whether you’re eating them on the half shell, à la Alexander’s, or roasted, there’s no denying that they’re simply delicious. There’s a saying here on Hilton Head Island that any month that contains the letter “r” is oyster season, which means we’re right in the thick of it!
Our local oysters are salty and sweet; with a unique flavor you won’t find anywhere else. Make sure to sample some local oysters the next time you’re at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, and in the meantime, read up on how to shuck an oyster like a pro!
1. Place the oyster curved-side down and find the hinge where the top and bottom shell meet.
2. Wedge your oyster knife into the hinge at a 45-degree angle by wiggling it back and forth and pushing it in until it feels “stuck.” Then continue to wiggle and rotate the knife back and forth until the oyster releases and its shell pops open.
3. Carefully run the oyster knife along the top of the shell to cut the muscle and loosen the meat.
4. Next, run the knife gently underneath the oyster, taking care not to cut the oyster or spill too much of its juice, to release it from the bottom of the shell and clear out any debris or shell fragments.
5. Add your topping of choice, be it a squeeze of lemon or a dash of hot sauce, and enjoy!
What’s your favorite way to eat oysters? What do you think is the best oyster dish on Hilton Head Island? Tell us! And don’t forget to share photos of all of your Hilton Head adventures with the hashtag #PalmettoDunes.
While the weather may not seem to suggest it, the autumn season is upon us. With this change in season comes a myriad of changes ranging from our guests to activities throughout Hilton Head Island and our resort.
At Alexander's Restaurant, the Fall season offered Chef Sean Carroll an opportunity to present a new menu. Alexander's Restaurant Chef Carroll shares, "I was really excited when it came time for me to make some changes to our menu. The new season opens up a different avenue of ingredients and flavors. Since my primary sources are local growers, farmers and fisherman, what's available in our area factors into the culinary experiences we can provide for our guests."
Guillermo Carrera, Alexander's Restaurant Manager adds, "We're excited to welcome back our Fall season guests. For those that have been coming year after year, this will be their first visit in a while since the restaurant was not open last Fall. The team is ready to introduce them to the new Alexander's and look forward to forging new long-term guest relationships."
Here's a peek at some of the new dishes on the menu:
Autumn Greens Salad (pictured above) features mixed greens with tart cherries, roasted butternut squash, candied pecans, feta cheese with a charred orange vinaigrette.
Braised Beef Short Rib (pictured above) slow cooked low and slow for 4 hours in red wine, carrot, celery, onions, spices, beef stock, chicken stock and herbs. The short ribs are accompanied by creme fraiche whipped potatoes, baby spinach, roasted tomato, garlic and a "red eye" veal glace. Garnish includes a large beer battered onion ring and parsley.
Grilled Bone-In Pork Chop entree includes a grilled 12 oz bone-in pork chop that has been brined in apple cider for 18 hours and accompanied by collard greens, Geechie Boy grits and espresso BBQ jus. Garnish includes scallion grass, micro greens and toasted bread crumbs.
The updated Fall menu also brought on some new desserts including a Homemade Apple Cobbler (Granny Smith apples, maple syrup and vanilla ice cream), Toasted Almond "Eclair" (pate choux, whipped cream, coffee ice cream and chocolate sauce) and Pistachio Chocolate Marquise (dark and white chocolate with pistachio geniose).
You’ve got the ring, you’ve picked the date, and you’ve got a rough idea of your headcount. Now it’s time to choose your dream wedding location. Unmatched in its beauty and charm, Hilton Head Island is the perfect place to bring your venue visions to life.
Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort offers a golf course nestled amongst sleepy oak trees, casual beachfront scenery, and elegant banquet spaces—all ready and willing to serve as the setting for your lowcountry wedding.
From intimate gatherings to grand affairs, here are our top places to say “I do” at Palmetto Dunes:
With beautiful views of the ocean and sounds of waves lapping the shore, the beaches in Hilton Head Island are a breathtaking backdrop for your wedding. Perfect for parties of all sizes, a beach ceremony is a simple, elegant way to surround your guests with nature’s beauty. After your oceanfront ceremony, celebrate at any one of the other venues at Palmetto Dunes.
The Dunes House
With sweeping views of the ocean and a variety of options for your wedding ceremony and reception, it’s no surprise that The Dunes House is our most popular wedding venue. Its 800-square foot beachfront location, with an adjoining 1,000-square foot deck, is easily customized for a casual reception or a lavish lowcountry event of up to 200 guests. Whatever you choose for your special day, your guests will love the seaside scenery of The Dunes House.
Centre Court Pavilion & Ballroom
Steeped in the charm of the Old South, the Centre Court Pavilion & Ballroom offers a beautiful location as well as event services and amenities to make your special day both effortless and enjoyable. This bright and airy venue has 1,628-square feet of space including a grand ballroom, a covered open-air dining pavilion, and a Southern porch—all perfectly suited for wedding ceremonies and receptions of up to 150 people.
Arthur Hills Golf Course
The award-winning Arthur Hills Golf Course provides an outstanding wedding venue for you and your guests. The championship course offers a stunning setting, surrounded by rolling greens and shady oak trees, to exchange your vows. After the first kiss, you and your guests can celebrate al-fresco or in the shade of a tent, both full of Southern charm.
No matter where you choose to say “I do” at Palmetto Dunes, your wedding will leave an impression that lasts a lifetime.
Hilton Head Island is food-lover’s paradise. While the Island is only 12 miles long, it’s home to more than 250 restaurants. The bounty of choices can be overwhelming, so we thought we’d help you narrow down your options, depending on what you’re in the mood for. Here are ten of the best Hilton Head restaurants and eateries:
1. Where To Go For Date Night
One of Hilton’s Head’s hottest spots, the Lucky Rooster is the perfect pick for date night, whether you’re just getting to know someone, or you’re leaving the kids with the babysitter. The Lucky Rooster’s décor is intimate without being stuffy (you can draw on the paper tablecloth) and the farm-to-table cuisine is inventive and ever-changing. For a touch of whimsy, be sure to order one of their delicious tiki cocktails.
Photo Credit: @luckyroosterhhi
2. Where To Take The Kids
Big Jim's BBQ, Burgers & Pizza
A family favorite for guests and visitors alike, with beautiful views of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course. In addition to lots of choices on their pleasing kids menu, as the name suggests, Jim’s has a wide selection of appetizers, burgers, made-to-order pizzas, and BBQ that’s sure to please the whole crew. Looking for more family dining options on Hilton Head Island? Check out this family-friendly restaurant round-up.
Photo Credit: @ellebruiser
3. Where To Eat On A Budget
Stu’s Surfside Subs
Stu’s Surfside Subs sells delicious hot and cold submarine sandwiches, ideal for grabbing on your way to or from the beach near Coligny Plaza. Made-to-order, these subs won’t break the bank. Enjoy a custom creation, or order one of their local specialties like the Harbor Town Classic or The Islander.
Photo Credit: @stusurfsidesubs
4. Where To Splurge
Charlie’s L’Etoile Vere
For a night of decadence on Hilton Head Island, head to Charlie’s L’Etoile Vere, also commonly called The Green Star. The restaurant has been a mainstay since 1982. Specializing in French cuisine, on the menu you’ll find delicacies like escargot a la Bourguignonne, Rack of Lamb, Local Swordfish, and more. Their wine list has an extensive selection of old-world wines as well as selections from California and Oregon.
Photo Credit: @preppy_islander
5. Where To Eat Great Seafood
Alexander’s Restaurant & Wine Bar
You’ll find delicious seafood at Alexander’s Restaurant and Wine Bar in Palmetto Dunes. Appetizer selections include oysters, crab cakes, and popcorn calamari. For main dishes, you can choose between flounder that’s stuffed with crab, diver scallops, and grilled grouper. There’s also plenty of land-based choices for anyone in your party averse to seafood.
Photo Caption: @alexandershhi
6. Where To Go For Great Meat
For anyone who prefers ‘turf’ to ‘surf’ HH Prime—located inside the Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort in Palmetto Dunes—is the place to go. Mouthwatering steaks are their specialty, with USDA Prime Grade beef. Watch your filet mignon or bone-in ribeye be grilled for you from the open show kitchen. For extra decadence, top your steak with some of their foie gras butter.
Photo Credit: @snryan45
7. Where To Eat Breakfast
Is there a better place to go for breakfast than a classic diner? We don’t think so! This Island staple is great for a quick, but filling meal. Pancakes, French toast, eggs, and bacon, you’ll find all of your breakfast favorites here. A few quick tips to help your first trip go smoothly: it’s cash only, and self-serve, when you come in select what you want to eat, write it down and hand it in.
Photo Credit: @lauren.gilliss
8. Where To Eat Lunch
The Dunes House
For a delicious, al fresco beachside lunch in Palmetto Dunes, look no further than The Dunes House. On the menu– all cooked in the outdoor kitchen–you’ll find all your favorite lunchtime classics like grilled burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and wraps. The house specialty is their fish taco, topped with a delicious black bean relish. The Dunes House is open to Palmetto Dunes resort guests and property owners.
Photo Credit: @lovethislifeblog
9. Where To Go For Dessert
Hilton Head Social Bakery
French flair meets Southern Charm at this delightful bakery. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a mouthwatering selection of French classics like pain au chocolat, eclairs, macarons, and mille-feuille. American classics include cinnamon buns, NY-style cheesecake, and bread pudding.
10. Where To Go For Lowcountry Classics
Hudson on the Docks
Situated right on the dock of Skull Creek, Hudson’s prepares delicious Lowcountry cuisine, with an emphasis on locally caught seafood. From appetizers including fried green tomatoes and crab cakes, to mains of local shrimp and grits or blackened flounder and peanut butter pie for dessert, you can enjoy a meal full of Lowcountry classics.
Photo Credit: @michaelhrizukphotos
Did we whet your appetite? We’d love to see where (and what) you ended up eating. Tag your Hilton Head food photos on Instagram with #PalmettoDunes. Happy eating y’all!
There are few things as exciting as going on vacation, but whether you’re looking for a family getaway, golf buddy trip, or a romantic couples’ retreat, planning the perfect getaway can be stressful. Where to stay? What to eat? How can you make sure everyone has a memorable and wonderful time? Luckily for you, there’s something for everyone on Hilton Head Island, and the villas and vacation homes in Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort are the ideal home base for your dream Lowcountry vacation. Don’t believe us? Here are 10 reasons to stay in a villa at Palmetto Dunes Resort.
Palmetto Dunes villas have up to four bedrooms, and many have a luxurious balcony, patio, backyard, or pool area too! This is ideal for families and larger groups (did someone say Bachelorette party?) as everyone has the room to enjoy him or herself comfortably.
Dining out is a blast—especially when you’ve got an impeccable list of restaurants to choose from—but it can be nice to have a home-cooked meal, even when you’re on vacation! A full kitchen allows you to prepare as much or as little food as you like. It’s great for stocking up on simple breakfasts and on-the-go snacks, or spending quality time cooking beautiful meals.
Spice up your stay by choosing a rental villa with a style that suits your own, or is entirely different from what you’re used to at home! From casual beachside decor to contemporary furnishings and everything in between, you’re sure to find the villa that is perfect for you and your travel companions.
4. The Great Outdoors
A beautiful view is one thing (and boy do our villas have them!) but being able to step outside and truly take it in is another. From simple patios to spectacular decks, the outdoor spaces our villas provide invites the beautiful nature of Hilton Head Island indoors.
5. Five-Star Service
Take advantage of all the perks when staying at Palmetto Dunes Resort! Our guest services team is happy to help you with any request, be it housekeeping help, rental bikes, or recommending take out places!
Palmetto Dunes General Store
Anyone who has visited the South will tell you that we are a friendly bunch! Staying in a villa allows you to experience some Lowcountry hospitality by being a part of a neighborhood of other guests and locals who love Palmetto Dunes! Don’t be surprised if you leave Hilton Head with some memories and some new friends, too!
Not only does the space of a 1, 2, or even 4-bedroom villa give everyone the room they need to relax and enjoy their Hilton Head vacation, it affords you the privacy of separate sleeping quarters as well as your own private dining and living areas. Some villas even have their own pool, or access to a community pool, so you can swim and sunbathe in a relaxing, exclusive environment.
8. Perfect for Pups
Your dog is a part of the family just like anyone else, and our pet-friendly villas allow your furry friend to come along for a Hilton Head vacation, too! Many villas have immediate outdoor access as well, so you can take Spot out for a walk without a spot of bother.
9. Save on Longer Stays
If you’re planning a weeklong trip for a summer vacation, winter holiday, or annual getaway, a villa makes perfect sense. You can truly have a comfortable place to call home, hang up your clothes, even do laundry if you need to! Not to mention, many of our rental villas and vacation homes offer weekly rates.
10. An Immersive Experience
One of the best things about traveling to a new destination is getting to experience what life is like in a different place. To truly get a taste of Lowcountry living, live like a local! Staying in a villa is the best way to get a sense of what life is like on Hilton Head Island.
Do we have you convinced? Browse our villa rentals. We’ve got dozens to choose from! You can select based on location, travel dates, or size. If you have any questions about our villas, or to book, contact our vacation planners at 866-744-7558.
Photo via GolfConversations.com
Among the pantheon of renowned golf course architects, Arthur Hills may not be as well known as some of his contemporaries — names like Robert Trent Jones, Pete Dye or Tom Fazio — but Hills’ body of work during a career spanning six decades ranks up there with anyone.
His work at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort is a perfect example. Opened in 1986, the Arthur Hills Course at Palmetto Dunes is 6,651 yards of rolling landscape. Taking full advantage of the natural beauty of this South Carolina sea island, his spectacular layout represents a careful blend of beauty and challenge.
True to the resort’s name, palmettos and dunes are scattered throughout the golf course, along with mature, Spanish-moss-covered live oaks. The tree-lined fairways and an ocean breeze add more teeth, while water hazards also come into play on more than half of the 18 spectacular holes.
When they were in college, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson honed their golfing skills on the Arthur Hills Course at Palmetto Dunes. President Bill Clinton, who annually began visiting Palmetto Dunes during the late 1990s, called the Arthur Hills Course his favorite of the resort's three outstanding golf courses. The Hills Course is a mainstay among the South Carolina "Best You Can Play" and was previously named the Palmetto State’s “Course of the Year.”
Now 87 years young, Hills has designed more than 200 new golf courses around the world and has been called upon to refine or renovate more than 125 others including some of the country’s most renowned clubs such as Congressional, Oakmont, Oakland Hills and Inverness. Twenty-eight Hills-designed courses have been selected as USGA, PGA, LPGA, NCAA and PGA of America tournament venues.
Down-to-earth, personable, friendly and willing to share his wisdom, Hills is a past president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects. He was voted the “Architect of the Year” in 1991 and 1998, and was Boardroom Magazine’s “Architect of the Year” in 2002. A proficient golfer back in his day, Hills was the captain of his Michigan State golf team and won the 1950 Ann Arbor City Championship. He was voted into the Ohio Golf Hall of Fame in 1993.
"My design philosophy comes from a very traditional or historic approach to the game," Hills said. "I’ve always admired the more traditional courses like Pinehurst No. 2, Shinnecock Hills, Cypress Point, Seminole, Prairie Dunes, Inverness and Merion."
Hills' design objectives include the nature of the land that minimizes earth moving. "We also always keep in mind the strategy of the game and the elements that provide beauty in a golf course — textures and colors, shadowing and framing," he says.
Hills has also written about designing golf holes from the green complex back to the tee, not from tee to green. Shot angles, interesting grasses and plants, gently plateaued greens, waters and views also come into the design work.
"All of these subtleties help us build a fair and balanced course which is both aesthetically pleasing and strategically sound," Hills said.
The next time you play the Arthur Hills Course at Palmetto Dunes, enjoy the knowledge that you are playing a design by one of history’s best — and most underrated — golf course architects.