Variety is the slice of life — particularly when it comes to golf travel. Golfers are always hunting for the latest-greatest places in the world to stay, play, eat, drink and relish in the fruits of the game. It’s a joy to travel, but to tee it up in faraway destinations is an unequaled experience and rare look at landscapes. The golf courses that let its native plants and terrain be the hero are typically the most popular. The Pacific Ocean steals the show at Pebble Beach. It’s the moon-like craters and dunes in Ireland that get the praise. It’s the mix of desert and ocean in Cabo makes those golf courses so special. And it’s the saltwater marshlands of the Carolina Lowcountry that make it one of the most cozy golf destinations in the world.
Desirable places are “best kept secrets” until popular travel magazines show up and sing praises. This is what happened to South Carolina. The region’s rugged, yet beautiful coast dotted with sea islands is special. Some of the best fishing in the world is there, it’s beaches are lovely and the vibe is more relaxed than Freddy Couples’ golf swing. There are several first-class golf destinations in South Carolina — a good place to start is on the Atlantic Ocean in the southern part of the state near the Georgia line. A good place to stay and play is the Palmetto Hall Plantation.
Most folks fly into Savannah, Georgia. It’s less than an hour drive from the airport to the resort with 36 holes designed by Arthur Hills and Robert Cupp. About 10 miles to the south is the world famous “Barmuda Triangle,” a popular nightlife spot. The RBC Heritage, a PGA Tour stop comes through every April and the entire island of Hilton Head comes alive.
At Palmetto Hall Plantation, those in the know stay at the adjacent Westin Hilton Head Island Resort and Spa, a charming hotel in the thick of the Carolina Coast. Everything is there — Baird’s Pub and another three dining options feature local farm and sea to table menus. The Heavenly Spa by Westin is also there and game improvement is presented by Bird Golf. A golf swing tuneup can go a long way — it’s always nice to play, but it’s more fun to play well.
Hilton Head is one of those destinations where you can visit, play the worst golf of your life for four days and still have an unforgettable time. The food and drink alone are worth the trip. The shrimp and grits are a must along with plenty of local brews. South Carolina is among the world’s best golf destinations and only five million people live there, but that won’t last.