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January 2023 Golf Trip in Hilton Head


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Due to a minor mismanagement of my vacation club points, I have decided to try and put together a golf trip to Hilton Head Island. I'm thinking either a four or five night stay around the second week of January. I should be able to get two 2-bedroom villas at Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort, which is right near Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. I'll post a picture of the floorplan below:

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HHI Floorplan.png

King sized bed in the master bedroom, two queens in the other bedroom (standard hotel room layout), a pullout queen and twin in the common room. Should sleep five comfortably. Also has a full kitchen and washer/dryer.

I'm posting this topic to see if anybody would be interested in joining. I've spoken with @DaveP043 and his wife Mary Anne about it when I visited them last week and they are interested, so we have at least three. I was going to ask @jsgolfer if he would be interested, but totally forgot about it when we played at Springfield. Tagging some others here: @iacas, @saevel25, @Hardspoon, @GolfLug, @DeadMan, @boogielicious, @jamo

I'll do more research into golf courses in the area, too, but right now everything is kind of in the pre-planning stage. Feel free to chime in if you might be interested or have any experience with the area and have any course/dining recommendations.

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Bill

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Thanks for the tag @billchao. Would love to go down there but son's birthday on Jan 12 so will be tough to pull it off. His birthday shindig prolly that coming weekend.

Sounds like a great trip.

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It’s a possibility. My wife may be retiring at the end of the year (no date yet). Let’s see as we get closer.

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I'm closing on a house around then, and will be trying to manage the move, and January is always difficult for work...

...so, yes.  I'm in.  Haha.

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Highly interested, would just like to know date(s) before early November as I have my winter Junior Elite Program, and so long as I know the dates before that, I can build it into the schedule.

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Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
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On 8/6/2022 at 2:47 PM, GolfLug said:

Thanks for the tag @billchao. Would love to go down there but son's birthday on Jan 12 so will be tough to pull it off. His birthday shindig prolly that coming weekend.

Sounds like a great trip.

My son’s birthday is July 19. As I recall we had some kind of golf thing or another around that time…

I’m just teasing you, man. I’m sure we’ll meet up again another time.

On 8/6/2022 at 5:19 PM, boogielicious said:

It’s a possibility. My wife may be retiring at the end of the year (no date yet). Let’s see as we get closer.

Ok.

2 hours ago, Hardspoon said:

I'm closing on a house around then, and will be trying to manage the move, and January is always difficult for work...

...so, yes.  I'm in.  Haha.

This comment made me literally laugh out loud.

2 hours ago, iacas said:

Highly interested, would just like to know date(s) before early November as I have my winter Junior Elite Program, and so long as I know the dates before that, I can build it into the schedule.

I was thinking of seeing what the interest level is and then figuring out what kind of works best for everyone, or is it simply better to just say these are the dates and go from there? Either way, I want this figured out before November.

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Bill

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Uhhh. I say do whatever you want. It’s your trip. Whatever is easiest for you.

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instructor Development, 5 Simple Keys®/Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins • Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 • "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 • Penn-State Behrend Head Coach • • • • • • • • • • :aimpoint: :edel: :true_linkswear:

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I am interested, but not 100% sure yet. I will continue to monitor this thread as it develops. 

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9 hours ago, iacas said:

Uhhh. I say do whatever you want. It’s your trip. Whatever is easiest for you.

Ok, here’s what I was thinking:

Six days, five nights. Monday 1/9 to Saturday 1/14, or Tuesday to Sunday, but I figured the extra weekend day on the way back would work better for people getting home and getting settled for work and stuff.

With the two days as travel days, that leaves four days there just for golf so we should get at least four rounds in. It’s still going to be January so 36 holes in a single day might not work out. Three days for golf might not be enough time to make it worth the travel.

Bill

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(edited)

Thanks for thinking of me, @billchao, but I'm not going to be able to make this trip work. 

Edited by DeadMan

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33 minutes ago, billchao said:

With the two days as travel days, that leaves four days there just for golf so we should get at least four rounds in. It’s still going to be January so 36 holes in a single day might not work out. Three days for golf might not be enough time to make it worth the travel.

If you get tee times, not to far apart, you get 10.5 hours of daylight. Might be able to work 36 holes in. 

Temps average around low in the low 40's and highs in the mid 60's. Dress in layers 😛 

"A good conversation is not designed to win the argument. It is designed to enjoy the exchange."

Matt "Dough", P.E.
 fasdfa dfdsaf 

What's in My Bag
Driver: :callaway: GBB Epic,  3-Wood: 
:titleist: 917h3 ,  Hybrid:  :titleist: 915 2-Hybrid,  Irons: :srixon: (4-PW)
Wedges:
:edel: Trapper (52, 56, 60),  Putter: :edel:,  Ball: :snell: MTB,  Shoe: :true_linkswear:,  Rangfinder: :bushnell: Tour V2

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6 hours ago, DeadMan said:

Thanks for thinking of me, @billchao, but I'm not going to be able to make this trip work. 

 No problem, maybe another time.

5 hours ago, saevel25 said:

If you get tee times, not to far apart, you get 10.5 hours of daylight. Might be able to work 36 holes in. 

Temps average around low in the low 40's and highs in the mid 60's. Dress in layers 😛 

Frost delays are a possibility from what I’ve read, so that would throw a wrench in the works.

Still beats January weather in NJ 😃

Bill

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” - Confucius

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On 8/6/2022 at 12:53 PM, billchao said:

Due to a minor mismanagement of my vacation club points, I have decided to try and put together a golf trip to Hilton Head Island. I'm thinking either a four or five night stay around the second week of January. I should be able to get two 2-bedroom villas at Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort, which is right near Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. I'll post a picture of the floorplan below:

  Reveal hidden contents

HHI Floorplan.png

King sized bed in the master bedroom, two queens in the other bedroom (standard hotel room layout), a pullout queen and twin in the common room. Should sleep five comfortably. Also has a full kitchen and washer/dryer.

I'm posting this topic to see if anybody would be interested in joining. I've spoken with @DaveP043 and his wife Mary Anne about it when I visited them last week and they are interested, so we have at least three. I was going to ask @jsgolfer if he would be interested, but totally forgot about it when we played at Springfield. Tagging some others here: @iacas, @saevel25, @Hardspoon, @GolfLug, @DeadMan, @boogielicious, @jamo

I'll do more research into golf courses in the area, too, but right now everything is kind of in the pre-planning stage. Feel free to chime in if you might be interested or have any experience with the area and have any course/dining recommendations.

Hey Bill,

 

Thanks for the invite, unfortunately with my normal trip to Florida in February and my 2 week trip to Scotland in July, I won't have the additional vacation time to go. But it definitely sounds like a great trip. 

-Jerry

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I'm doing some research on courses that we can play. I'm open to any suggestions or feedback from that has played the area before or simply knows more about golf courses than I do.

Bluffton:

Old South Golf Links - They call it "links" but I don't think anything in the area is truly a links style golf course. I guess it's more open with fewer trees and on the water, if that's their definition of links. It does have some very good views of the local topography as a few holes are built right on the tidal marshes. They have a couple of flyover videos of the course on their website. I think this course is at the top of my list.

Hilton Head National Golf Club - It's slightly more inland (only slightly, it's literally next door to Old South). Definitely a tree lined parks course. It's a Gary Player design, which honestly doesn't mean much to me. I've watched vlogs of people playing this course and it definitely has a different feel to it than Old South. There doesn't seem to be a lot of water on the course, which is a hallmark of most of the courses actually on Hilton Head Island.

These two courses are just across the bridge from Hilton Head Island. They also don't seem to have houses on every hole which seems to be the standard at the Hilton Head courses.

Courses on Hilton Head:

Sea Pines Resort - This is where Harbour Town Golf Links is. They also have Atlantic Dunes which was redesigned by Davis Love III and Heron Point by Pete Dye. Honestly I think Harbour Town might interest me the least out of the three, but it's also the most famous course in the area and it might be hard to dismiss that factor. Atlantic Dunes is one of the only courses on the island that features a hole on the Atlantic Ocean. Right now I'd say my order of preference is Atlantic Dunes - Heron Point - Harbour Town, but it's not that strong of an opinion and I'll gladly play whatever the group decides.

Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort - They also feature three courses, all named after their architects: Robert Trent Jones, Arthur Hills, George Fazio. The Arthur Hills course is reputed to be a shotmaker's course - target golf. The Robert Trent Jones course is supposed to have more room off the tee but there aren't really any adjacent holes so some of us (mostly me) are still going to have a hard time with it. RTJ does feature the only other hole I found on the island (via Google Maps) that's on the ocean. The George Fazio course definitely has more adjacent holes and it's the only par 70 public course on Hilton Head, but supposedly it's the hardest of the three. All three courses wind through the lagoon system so water is featured prominently.

There are a bunch of other courses in the area and I'll spend more time researching them, but I figured this list is a decent start. There isn't a single goat track on the island AFAIK, so I'm pretty sure we can just throw darts at a map and pick good courses to play at.

I'll go ahead and get a list of participants going:

In:

  1. @billchao
  2. @DaveP043
  3. Mary Anne (Dave's better half)
  4. @Hardspoon

Highly Interested:

  1. @iacas
  2. @Carl3

Waiting to see which way the wind blows:

  1. @boogielicious
  2. @saevel25

I'm probably going to fly into Savannah. It's about an hour's drive from the resort we're staying at, so I'll end up renting a car, too. The dates are tentatively 1/9-1/14. I can even book 1/8 and just make it the whole week. I'm not forcing anyone to spend an entire week with me, but it might be easier just to get the rooms squared away before everyone arrives since I need to be the one to do that. This way nobody would have to wait for me to arrive to unpack or whatever and I'll have five full days for golf myself without worrying about travel.

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More public courses on the island. Some of these other courses are not as well known so it's harder to find good information about them. In fact I'm kind of hitting a point on diminishing returns on my research here. What I seem to be seeing is a lot the same things: mature trees lining the holes, water here and there, and generally flat. I don't think they really moved a lot of earth around except at the major resort courses. I didn't see anything that really makes any one of these courses stand out from the others.

Port Royal Golf & Racquet Club - Two courses here designed by George W. Cobb, the Barony Course and Robber's Row. Barony Course is one of the first golf courses on Hilton Head Island. Looks to have wide fairways and flat bunkers. Probably not going to be much of a challenge for skilled golfers. Robber's Row was redesigned by Pete Dye and built on Civil War grounds. I haven't found much video of the course compared to Barony, but it looks to be the more interesting of the two.

Shipyard Golf Club - Three 9-hole courses (Clipper, Galleon, Brigantine) all designed by George W. Cobb on the same property that makes three possible combinations for 18 holes. The greens are Diamond Zoysia, whereas most of the courses in the area are Bermuda. I have no idea how that affects putting. I only found one good video of a guy playing the Galleon Course and it's tree lined, flat, and occasionally has water on holes, as I mentioned above.

Oyster Reef Golf Club - A Rees Jones design in the northern part of the island, in what they call the plantation area. The course does seem to have more interesting bunkers, and a few holes feature water prominently. I did watch a video of a guy who thinned his tee shot on the par 3 16th that ended up skipping across the water and up onto the green.

The above three courses are owned by the same parent company so there's the possibility of a 3 day unlimited golf package deal, based on their 2022 offers. Might be a good way to play 27 or possibly 36 holes for a couple of days.

Golden Bear Golf Club at Indigo Run - As the name implies, it's a Jack Nicklaus design. After some digging, it's supposedly designed by people in the company and not Jack himself. I don't know enough about architecture and Jack Nicklaus designs to comment one way or the other. I've never played a Nicklaus course and even if it wasn't designed by the man himself, he put his name on it, so that means something, right? But other than that, it's more of the same.

Dolphin Head Golf Club - Another Gary Player course. It's a golf course. Ok, I'm experiencing a little research fatigue. 18th hole looks interesting. I think it used to be private.

Bear Creek Golf Club - Another Rees Jones design. Doesn't seem to have feature as much water as some of the other courses and the bunkering seems to be more strategic. It does give off a slightly different vibe based on what I've seen.

I'll look into courses that are within reasonable driving distance off the island next. Is Kiawah Island considered reasonable driving distance? ;-)

Bill

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” - Confucius

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I can't travel in January, but I do have some experience in Hilton Head.  My parents own a house on the island, so I've had a handful of trips down there, played a few courses and in terms of quality I haven't run into a bad course on the island and would happily play any of them again.  Its been a few years since I was last there, before COVID, but assume they're still in pretty good shape.

I played Bear Creek which you found, and played Palmetto Hall.  Would recommend either one, but I'm not sure how they compare to all the others on the island.  There are a lot of them, and as you mentioned there isn't necessarily anything that makes them stand out, but they were in great shape when I was there and made for some enjoyable golf.  I've also heard good things about Harbour Town 🙂, honestly I've heard people say that the other Sea Pines courses are even better - Heron Point and Atlantic Dunes - for half the price.  But I have not played any of them, so its possible those people just like to be contrarian, but I'd also be pretty confident thinking any of those courses would be a quality experience.  Might even get a more reasonable price in January.

As for restaurants, there is only one place I've eaten every single time I've been in Hilton Head, and would recommend Hudsons on the Docks for seafood.  Although that said we usually go in the spring and sit outside on the water which is part of the appeal, not sure how that would feel in January, but they do have seats inside.

Final word of advice - watch out for the gators.  They're all over the place on the golf courses.

 

Edited by Friz
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1 hour ago, Friz said:

I can't travel in January, but I do have some experience in Hilton Head.  My parents own a house on the island, so I've had a handful of trips down there, played a few courses and in terms of quality I haven't run into a bad course on the island and would happily play any of them again.  Its been a few years since I was last there, before COVID, but assume they're still in pretty good shape.

I played Bear Creek which you found, and played Palmetto Hall.  Would recommend either one, but I'm not sure how they compare to all the others on the island.  There are a lot of them, and as you mentioned there isn't necessarily anything that makes them stand out, but they were in great shape when I was there and made for some enjoyable golf.

Thanks for the feedback, @Friz. This is pretty much what I'm finding. Most complaints tend to be about pace of play (which may be better in January) or price. All of the "regular" courses down there are good but not memorable golf courses. That's fine - especially since being able to play golf in January is already a pro for me - but if I'm going to travel 800 miles to play golf, I'm going to want to play a few places that are better than just good.

1 hour ago, Friz said:

I've also heard good things about Harbour Town 🙂, honestly I've heard people say that the other Sea Pines courses are even better - Heron Point and Atlantic Dunes - for half the price.  But I have not played any of them, so its possible those people just like to be contrarian, but I'd also be pretty confident thinking any of those courses would be a quality experience.

Yea it's a bit of a mixed bag. Some people say Harbour Town is overrated and conditions aren't great outside of a two month window before and after the RBC Heritage Tournament. Others say Harbour Town is a must play course. As of right now I'm more interested in the other two.

1 hour ago, Friz said:

As for restaurants, there is only one place I've eaten every single time I've been in Hilton Head, and would recommend Hudsons on the Docks for seafood.  Although that said we usually go in the spring and sit outside on the water which is part of the appeal, not sure how that would feel in January, but they do have seats inside.

Thanks for the recommendation.

I'm going to look into food once I'm done researching courses.

2 hours ago, Friz said:

Final word of advice - watch out for the gators.  They're all over the place on the golf courses.

Yea, I saw some on some vlogs.

Bill

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” - Confucius

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