The Palmetto Hall Plantation Club features two 18-hole championship golf courses designed by two very recognizable names: Robert Cupp and Arthur Hills.
When it opened in 1993, the Robert Cupp Course at Palmetto Hall on Hilton Head Island had the highest slope rating from the back tees (152) of any course in the state. Although that honor has since bestowed upon Pete Dye and the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort – which comes in at the USGA max of 155 – the Cupp Course will still challenge all comers. It is a must play for all golfers who visit the Hilton Head area.
From the tips, the Cupp Course plays 7,079 yards with a course rating of 75.0 and a slope of 143. If you were skiing, the tips would be rated Double-Black Diamonds; in other words, they are for the pros. So, if your golf game has never been written about in Golf Digest, you probably shouldn’t play from back here. Several holes require carries of 225+ just to find mother earth. If you’re still debating this feat, stroll on over to the 9th tee and take a look at what you need to do with your tee shot on the 472-yard par 4. That’s right, 472-yard, par 4!
Before your round, warm up on Palmetto Plantation’s driving range where you can hit every club in the bag. Be sure to hit some putts to get an idea of what you’ll be dealing with once you get out there.
Mere mortal golfers will have all they can handle from the White Tees, which play 6,025 and carry a course rating of 70 and a slope of 128. Ladies may choose to play from either 5,605 or 5,182 yards.
Cupp created the course on a computer, something that is commonplace nowadays but not so much in the early 1990s. That’s why you will find a lot of straight lines and recognizable geometric figures, especially when it comes to the bunkers. There’s a lot of mounding too, in and around fairways and greens alike. The greens come in all sizes and shapes, several with false fronts, unfriendly slopes and a lot of subtle undulations.
One of the holes that brings back memories – not necessarily good – is the 2nd, a par 5 that plays a mere 468 yards from the White Tees. From the distance alone, it sounds like a no-brainer to go for the green in two, however the creek that makes its way across the fairway may have you thinking twice. It sits about 240 yards from the green and if you’re not on the left side of the fairway, you’ll have to lay up anyway. Up near the green, trees really crowd the right side and with all the mounding, the left is no bargain either. Even at 468 yards, par is still a good score.
Number 10 is a three-shot par 5, that plays 474 yards from the White Tees. I say three-shot because of the large pond that sits directly in front of the green. Play left of the large fairway bunker on the left and then hit a layup shot short of the water and then a short approach shot to an elevated two-tiered green.
Another favorite hole – and one that gives you about the best chance at birdie on the course – is the short par 4, Number 11, which plays 290 yards from the white tees. Hit something less than driver off the tee, short of the triangular bunker, and you’ll be left with a short pitch shot to a green where the pin is probably blocked out by a large mound. The green’s not real deep so distance control is at a premium.
A good course needs a great finishing hole and Number 18 is ready to take on anyone who dares. It’s a par 4, dogleg right around two lakes that plays 357 yards from the White Tees. Playing your tee shot down the left side of the fairway will give you the best approach angle and take the water out of play as much as possible. Any pin placements on the right side and the water is in play, no matter where you come at it from. Make your par and head to the 19th hole.
After your round, head into the clubhouse to Baird’s Pub for your favorite après-golf libation. Baird’s also has an outstanding menu with a Lowcountry theme that showcases many of Hilton Head Island’s fresh local ingredients. In fact, all of their seafood and meet dishes are prepared fresh daily.
The pro shop at Palmetto Hall is one of the best stocked in the area for men’s and women’s golf apparel and they carry several unique designers. They are more than willing to accommodate whatever you’re looking for, so if you don’t see what you want, just ask and they’ll help you find it.
Last Word: The Cupp Course is one of the most exciting layouts on the Island as it winds its way through dense oak and pine forests and large Lowcountry marshes. From an aerial view, the layout is spectacular with its geometry all over the course. From a playing perspective, it can be as tough or as gentle as you want it, just pick the right set of tees. With narrow fairways and natural impediments at both ends of the fairway, each hole offers a new start, regardless of how you did on the previous hole.
The previous course management companies didn’t do the property justice and let it slip into conditions far worse than what you see today. Brown Golf Management stepped up to the plate and took over Palmetto Hall, unfortunately a little over a week before Hurricane Matthew struck the area. You can still see remnants of the devastation as you make your way around the course. Brown Golf has been making great strides in returning the courses to their former glory including bringing over Superintendent Grant Backus from their Dolphin Head property. Backus was instrumental in turning Dolphin Head around and looks forward to doing the same thing with Palmetto Hall.
Palmetto Hall Plantation is managed by Brown Golf Management, and offers some tremendous opportunities for membership. With 7 courses in the Bluffton/Hilton Head area, members can have access to unlimited golf on all courses as well as unlimited range balls, use of the tennis facility and unlimited free golf lessons from a PGA Professional. For more information on becoming a member or playing at Palmetto Hall Plantation, visit their website at www.palmettohallcc.com.
Date Played: July 20, 2017 | Cost: $0.00
The Julington Creek Golf Club in Jacksonville is managed by Brown Golf, who have done an outstanding job of returning the club to its former glory. The course originally opened as a 9-hole course in 1989 and was designed by Robert C. Walker. New ownership took over in 1991, led by former PGA Tour Professional Steve Melnyk, who designed 9 new holes and developed the course to what it is today. Over the years, Julington Creek has played host to several events including the Hooters Tour, North Florida Junior Tour and USGA Qualifiers.
From the back tees, Julington Creek plays 6,908 yards, with a course rating of 72.4 and a slope of 127. Most golfers will find a formidable challenge from the White Tees (5,888/67.6/114). Ladies typically play from the Green Tees, which at 5,059 yards (69.6/115) will prove to be a good test. The bottom line is that, no matter how good or bad you are, Julington Creek has a set of tees to match your skill level.
Julington Creek features several interesting holes. Number 1, although somewhat short, makes you hit an honest tee shot in order to leave yourself a short pitch to a fairly open green. The second hole features a tree-lined fairway and is straight away; pretty simple until you get up near the green. Hit your approach shot short right and you might find yourself in with a nasty lie in a deep bunker. Number 11 features fairway bunkers at the turn of the dogleg which can lead to a high number should you find yourself in one of them. Hit your tee shot left of the 150-yard marker and you’ll likely have to contend with a large, mature oak tree between you and the green. Here are some other favorites:
Julington Creek offers three levels of memberships, some that include reciprocal privileges to Windsor Parke Golf Club. You’ll also receive unlimited use of the driving range, free golf lessons, discounts on guest fees and access to the Brown Golf Reciprocal program.
Date Played: July 19, 2017 | Cost: $0.00
When Willbrook Plantation opened in 1988, golf course architect Dan Maples referred to it as “One of my best”. The ladies seem to agree. In fact, Golf Digest named Willbrook Plantation as one of America's Top 50 Courses for Women in 2010. Golf for Women Magazine has ranked the course as high as 25th in the US for women. However, all the guys I spoke with describe it to be a challenging layout, as well. In 2006, Golf Digest awarded Willbrook 4.5 stars in their "Best Places to Play."
Willbrook Plantation is built on land that was once two Carolina plantations, dating back to 1798 as evidenced on their logo. As you make your way around the course, you’ll see several historical markers denoting the various historic points of interest. One tells about the mounding built by slaves in the 1700s that served as the property lines between plantations. All kinds of non-golf related facts that add to the round’s enjoyment.
Willbrook Plantation plays 6,722 yards from the back tees with a rating of 72.4 and 133. The White Tees at 6,292 yards (70.3/129) provided a great test for me. Ladies play from 4,981 yards (68.3/120). Pick the right set of tees and when it doubt, do what Jack says and play it forward.
The golf course at Willbrook Plantation weaves its way through lowcountry marshes, and natural grasses. Along the way you’ll encounter centuries-old oak forests and a blend of wildlife you don’t see at other venues. It’s not uncommon to see the occasional deer, hawk or alligator during your round. The course is very player-friendly, especially for those that have never played the course. Water hazards that may have gone unnoticed, are marked with large yellow flags, so the “I didn’t know there was water there” defense is no longer valid. Water is very much a part of the action at Willbrook Plantation; you’ll see it in some form or another on at least 14 holes, although it only comes into actual play on about half of them.
There are several holes at Willbrook that could be considered “signature-worthy” but here are my choices:
Most Memorable Hole: Number 6, Par 3, 127 yards (White Tees). A challenging island green gets your attention on this short par 3 hole. A large bunker guards the left side of the green and two grass swales guard the far end, so if you miss the green left, up and down becomes an arduous task.
Last Word: It’s easy to see why Willbrook Plantation is consistently ranked one of the top courses in the Myrtle Beach area. Accuracy is at a premium, especially when avoiding large trees. It’s not the longest course on the Strand, but it is going to make you think your way around it. It’s also very peaceful and serene on the course; I think this is what Mark Twain was talking about when he said, “a good walk spoiled.”
In addition to the course, Willbrook has a great practice area and a grill that is popular with both visitors and locals. In fact, when I asked several players on the course which hole was their favorite, the majority said it was the 19th!
Date Played: July 19, 2017 | Cost: $0.00
At long last, the public can play Dolphin Head Golf Club in Hilton Head Plantation, the only course in the area designed by Gary Player. In building the course, Player’s main goal was to leave intact as much of the terrain and to move as little dirt as possible, keeping a natural look to the golf course.
The success he achieved is amazing, as is the golf course. It’s one of the most visually stunning and best maintained courses in the area. The surrounding natural preserves and local wildlife were not interrupted and harmony between man and nature has been achieved.
Dolphin Head Golf Club opened in 1974 as the first course built in the Hilton Head Plantation. Local course architect Clyde Johnson renovated the tees, fairways and greens in 2010, installing denser Celebration Bermuda in the fairways and tee boxes and Mini-Verde Bermuda on the greens. The result is lusher fairways and quicker greens, something admired by the majority of golfers.
From the back tees, Dolphin Head measures 6,606 yards and chimes in with a course rating of 72.7 and a slope of 140. The White Tees at 6,169 yards (70.8/130) will provide as much golf course as the average golfer can handle, and still let you leave with a little bit of respect and dignity!
In building Dolphin Head, Player has created two 9-hole tracks that are completely different. The front nine meanders through tall, centuries-old trees and forests while the back nine has more open space yet brings more marsh and wetlands into play. Both circuits feature Players signature bunkering, resulting in one golf course with no two holes alike. The result is a golf course that is both scenic and playable and captures the natural surroundings.
Dolphin Head gets your round started with a hole that can put you on the right track in a hurry. It’s a modest length par 5, dogleg right at 465 yards from the White Tees, however you’ll need to avoid the pond on the right and trees on the left off the tee. Make it to the dogleg with your tee shot and you’ll have a clear shot into a green protected on the front right and back left by bunkers. The elevated green slopes gently from back to front so be sure to put your approach shot below the hole and start off the round in a positive manner.
Number 4 is the first par 3 you encounter at Dolphin Head. From the White Tees, it plays a moderate 154 yards. With the pond on the left and a large oak tree and mounding in the middle, there is essentially no bailout area. Because of the way the green lies, most golfers can expect a long side hill putt.
At 401 yards from the White Tees, Number 6 is the course’s toughest hole. If a draw is in your shot repertoire, now would be a great time to use it; anything short of the dogleg and you’ll likely be blocked out by tall pine trees. A good drive will still leave a lengthy approach shot into an elevated green protected by sand front left and right as well as grass swales long. Par is a great score here.
Carry the fairway bunker on the right side off the tee and you’re well on your way to a low score on Number 11, a par 4 that plays 365 yards from the White Tees. That will leave a short pitch shot to an odd-shaped green with a large bunker on the right and a small mound in front.
Straight is the key to success on Number 15, a long par 4 that plays 399 yards from the White Tees. The fairway bunker on the right seems like a ball magnet to many and the two-tiered green is well bunkered on either side.
Your round concludes on a signature hole. Number 18 is a dogleg right par 5, playing 470 yards from the White Tees. A good drive up the left side may just inspire you to go for the green in two, however danger awaits any errant attempts. A large pond makes up the right side of the fairway from about 300 yards out and the left side of the green is home to a rogue sand bunker. To further complicate matters, the green has two tiers and a bit of slope to it. Take your par and head to the 19th hole.
Although the golf course is the main attraction, Dolphin Head Golf Club is a place that, as a member, you can make friendships that last a lifetime. As a member, you’ll also enjoy full-service dining, social events, card groups, book clubs, and more. With a Brown Golf membership, you’ll get so much more than just being a member of Dolphin Head Golf Club. You’ll enjoy unlimited golf at 6 championship, 18-hole golf courses, unlimited range balls and use of the practice facility, discounts on guest fees, lodging and pro shop merchandise and unlimited golf lessons with a PGA professional.
For more information on becoming a member or to book your next tee time, Click Here.
Date Played: July 19, 2017 | Cost: $0.00
Eagle’s Pointe Golf Club is a defining statement and signature design of PGA Tour professional Davis Love III. It’s located in Bluffton, SC, just a few miles from the bridge that leads to Hilton Head Island and, among local golfers, it is one of the most popular 'off-island' courses.
The course plays 6,780 yards from the back tees with a course rating of 73.3 and a slope of 138. The White Tees play 6,026 yards (69.9/129) and will provide a challenging test for most golfers. Ladies play the course from either 5,210 yards or 5,112 yards. As long as you choose the tees that best fit your game, you’re guaranteed to have a good time at Eagle’s Pointe. The course has earned praise for being one of the most environmentally friendly public courses in the area.
Eagle’s Pointe winds through strands of moss-draped live oaks and pine trees as well as freshwater lagoons, making use of the natural beauty and variety of the existing terrain in the area. Speaking of terrain, don’t expect to find too many flat lies out here, they are very hard to come by. As you make your way around the course, you’ll encounter native coastal wetlands that come into play on several holes and, in addition to adding a challenge to your game, they also provide some wonderful scenery. For the most part, the greens are large, and roll true at a moderate pace.
Number 2 is a short par 5 at only 468 yards and, with very little trouble, is a good chance to put up a low number. Favor the right side of the fairway just left of the lone fairway bunker. From there you can have a go at the green, which is protected in front on either side by bunkers. The green has some subtle undulations but nothing outrageous. Anything more than par and you might want to consider talking with one of the PGA professionals at Eagle’s Pointe.
Number 7, Par 4, 356 yards (White Tees) is one of the member's favorite holes. It’s a par 4 with a stream cutting across the front of the green. A good drive of around 250 yards will leave a manageable pitch shot into an elevated green with grass swales right and a large bunker left. Clear the water or pay the price. Par is a good score here.
Number 11 is a short but challenging par 3. It’s only 140 yards from the White Tees but a good deal of that is carry over marshlands. The green is protected by a small bunker on the right and can be tough to hold if you don’t hit it high. Go too far over it and you may find the water.
Last Word: Eagle’s Pointe strikes the balance between a difficult golf course and one everyone can play; it’s one of the most player-friendly courses on Hilton Head Island. This course will have you hitting every club in the bag and allow you to take advantage of what you do well. If you want to score well at Eagle’s Pointe, you’ll need to hit a lot of fairways and avoid the ominous fairway bunkers. That shouldn’t be a problem if you can hit the ball straight as a lot of the hazards here are on the edge of the fairway. But that’s only half the battle, you’ll also have to perform well on the large, undulating putting surfaces.
The course offers several risk-reward opportunities that will challenge golfers of all abilities. While the generous landing areas allow you to hit driver off most tees, the emphasis here is on the approach shots to large, undulating greens. Love has always placed an emphasis on the putting game and boldly contoured greens have become his signature. The greens at Eagle’s Pointe don’t disappoint in this respect.
After your round, be sure to stop by the lounge for your favorite after-golf libation. If you’re hungry, why not try one of Eagle’s Pointe’s delicious sandwiches such as the Club or Pulled Pork BBQ? Their weekly specials include a Meatloaf Sandwich served on a hoagie roll and slathered in brown gravy and a Sausage and Peppers sandwich which is phenomenal.
The pro shop at Eagle’s Pointe Golf Club is fully-stocked with some of the top names in golf equipment and apparel you can find. Browse through their selection of the game’s top name brands. You can also schedule some golf lessons so that you can put that equipment to good use. And what better place to use it than on the practice range. Eagle’s Pointe has a full length driving range where you can hit every one of those new clubs, as well as a chipping area and practice putting green.
Want free unlimited range balls for those new clubs? As a member of Eagle’s Pointe, that’s just one of the perks. Through Brown Golf Management’s membership program, you’ll have access and unlimited range balls at 7 local Bluffton/Hilton Head courses as well as unlimited golf and free golf lessons any time you like. Now you have no excuse not to get better! For more information on becoming a Brown Golf member or to book a tee time at Eagle’s Pointe, give them a call at (843) 757-5900 or visit them online at www.eaglespointegolf.com.
Date Played: July 19, 2017 | Cost: $0.00
Ever wonder that it is like to play a PGA Tour caliber course? Here’s your change, at the only course in Myrtle Beach to receive a 5-star rating by Golf Digest’s “Places to Play” – TPC Myrtle Beach
The Tournament Players Club in Myrtle Beach was designed by Tom Fazio with input from PGA Tour player Lanny Wadkins and opened for play in 1999. The course earned accolades quickly and the next year (2000) hosted the Senior Tour Championship, which was won by Tom Watson. Other PGA greats such as Gary Player, Ray Floyd and Lee Trevino have tried their luck against the complexities of the course.
From the tips, TPC MB measures 6,950 yards with a rating of 74.1 and a slope of 144. At 6,133 yards (72.5/138), the white tees will provide a formidable adversary for the average golfer without too much embarrassment or frustration. Ladies will find a challenge from the Red Tees at 5,118 (70.3/128). As always, pick the distance that’s right for you and have a good time.
Players weave their way through forests of red oak and pine, around Lowcountry marshes and picturesque wetlands on fairways as plush as carpet. Miss the fairway and you’re setting yourself up for a long day; the mounding and swales that sit on the periphery make for some tough play. Many fairways are tree lined, with ample landing areas off the tees. But trees aren’t all you’ll find out here; water comes into play on at least 11 holes, whether it’s a lake or wetlands.
The green complexes are worthy of praise all on their own. Most of the greens are elevated with subtle undulations – and fast. It’s not uncommon to have a putt with at least two feet of break during your round. Some of the greens are multi-tiered, adding to the necessity of a good putting game. The bunkers are well manicured; often siting several feet below the green.
In addition to a great golf course, TPC Myrtle Beach boasts some pretty impressive practice facilities. There’s a full length, targeted driving range, a short game area with sand bunker and a large putting green. No wonder touring professionals such as Dustin Johnson come here to practice in the off-season! I guess the fact that DJ has a golf school here would be a contributing factor as well!
There’s also a fully stocked pro shop so you can stock up on logoed gear and men’s and women’s locker rooms. Players can shower off/freshen up their round before heading home, and then grab a quick bite in the new Champions Pub. Enjoy a post-round cocktail or choose from numerous draft and craft beer selections. The Ahi Tuna Caesar Salad and Grilled Chicken Sandwich on Ciabatta Bread are recommended suggestions.
Pro’s Pick: Number 17, Par 3, 158 yards. (White Tees). To many, using the words TPC and island green in the same sentence means one thing: Sawgrass. But not so fast. Although Number 17 at TPC Myrtle Beach merely has a peninsular green, it’s every bit as intimidating as its evil step cousin down the Interstate. And, although there is only water on three sides, the fourth side has a large bunker which is by no means a picnic should you enter it. Complicating matters is the fact that the green slopes towards the water and know this – the wind will be a factor. At 158 yards, it provides a great challenge.
Favorite Par 4: Number 12, 277 yards (White Tees). Given the length of this hole you have to go for the green off the tee. A draw would be the preferred shot off the tee; there’s not a whole lot of trouble here unless you find one of the bunkers on the left side. The green is wider than it is long; something to keep in mind should you require an approach shot.
Favorite Par 5: Number 18: Par 5, 496 yards (White Tees). I would name this hole “Decision Time” because, with a good drive – preferably down the left side – you’ve got a decision to make. Standing on the tee box, you can’t help but be in awe as you stare down the fairway at the back of the clubhouse. There’s a very picturesque creek that meanders down the right side of the fairway and crosses about 300 yards from the white tees. Once it crosses the fairway, it flows into a large lake that guards the front and left side of the green. Most players will opt to make this a 3-shot hole and lay up right of the water. Hit it to the largest part of the fairway over the creek and you’ll leave an approach shot of around 100 yards to a large, well-bunkered green. This is one of the best finishing holes in the Myrtle Beach area.
Most Challenging Hole: Number 9, Par 4, 445 yards. A monster of a hole that requires your best drive of the day. Playing your tee shot up the left side of the fairway will take the water and trees on the right out of play. You’ll be left with a long approach shot that plays uphill to a narrow green with a large, deep bunker on the right. Miss it left of the green and you’re looking at a difficult up and down. I’ve played shorter par 5s – all pars are well earned.
Last Word: TPC Myrtle Beach is one of the top 3 courses in the Myrtle Beach area, with all kinds of challenges. If you hit the ball high, you should fare well with approach shots to the elevated greens. Spend some extra time on the range and hit every club in the bag; chances are you will on the course. In fact, every shot you hit will be a test. For most of us, this is as close as we will ever get to playing between the ropes in a professional event. For more information or to book your next round at TPC Myrtle Beach, Click Here.
Date Played: July 19, 2017 | Cost: $0.00