Hilton Head Island Golf Courses: Complete Guide

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, is a golfer's haven, boasting an impressive collection of 30 exclusive, privately-owned golf courses.

These courses cater to all skill levels and preferences, ensuring a high-quality golfing experience—keep reading for a detailed dive into what each course has to offer.

The Lay of the Land

Hilton Head Island isn't just any vacation spot; it's a sanctuary for golf enthusiasts.

With its unique collection of golf courses and distinctive ownership model, understanding the lay of the land is key to unlocking an unparalleled golfing experience.

Breakdown of the Total Golf Courses on Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island is home to 30 meticulously designed golf courses, each offering its own unique challenges and aesthetic pleasures.

These courses are spread across various resorts and private clubs, creating a diverse golfing environment that caters to a wide range of skill levels and golfing preferences.

Here's a closer look:

  1. Harbour Town Golf Links at The Sea Pines Resort: A crown jewel of Hilton Head, known for its PGA Tour history and challenging holes.
  2. Heron Point by Pete Dye: After a comprehensive renovation, it now presents a modern challenge amidst stunning natural landscapes.
  3. Arthur Hills Course at Palmetto Dunes: Celebrated for its beautiful setting and strategic design.
  4. George Fazio Course: Offers a tough round of golf with impeccable maintenance standards.
  5. Robert Trent Jones Course: Known for breathtaking ocean views and a layout that's enjoyable for all skill levels.
  6. Oyster Reef Golf Club: Features an engaging design that harmonizes with the natural beauty of the island.

These courses are complemented by many others, each with its own character, ranging from the rigorously challenging to more forgiving, scenic layouts ideal for casual play.

The Private Ownership Model and Its Impact on the Golfing Experience

The exclusivity of Hilton Head Island's golf courses stems from their private ownership model.

Unlike public courses, these privately-owned courses offer a more exclusive, high-end experience.

This model impacts the golfing experience in several key ways:

  • Quality and Maintenance: Private ownership ensures that courses are meticulously maintained and offer superior facilities. This translates to better playing surfaces, higher-quality amenities, and overall, a more enjoyable golfing experience.
  • Exclusivity and Accessibility: Being privately owned, these courses often limit access to members and resort guests, which means less crowded fairways and a more serene golfing environment. This exclusivity also allows for a more personalized level of service.
  • Variety and Challenge: Private ownership encourages diversity in course design, as each aims to stand out and attract golfers. This results in a wide array of challenges and settings, from oceanfront holes to courses woven through native forests.
  • Cost: The private model typically means a higher cost of play compared to public courses. However, this cost is reflective of the quality, exclusivity, and experience provided.
  • Advance Planning Required: Due to the exclusive nature of these courses, planning and booking tee times well in advance is crucial, especially during peak seasons. This ensures you get to play your desired courses without the hassle of last-minute availability issues.

A Tour of the Greens

From the historic Harbour Town Golf Links to the natural beauty of Oyster Reef Golf Club, this tour is your guide to understanding what makes these courses not just places to play, but landmarks in the world of golf.

Let's explore the essence of these courses, uncovering the history, design, and unique challenges they present to golfers.

Harbour Town Golf Links

Harbour Town Golf Links is not just a golf course; it's a piece of golfing history.

Designed by Pete Dye, with input from Jack Nicklaus, this course opened its fairways in 1969 and quickly rose to prominence.

Known for its distinctive lighthouse overlooking the 18th hole, Harbour Town is a staple on the PGA Tour, hosting the RBC Heritage annually.

The course's narrow fairways, small greens, and strategic use of natural obstacles demand precision and strategic thinking, making it a true test of a golfer's skill.

Its significance in the golfing world goes beyond just its design; it's a course that has seen legends compete, creating memorable moments in the sport's history.

Heron Point by Pete Dye

Heron Point stands as a testament to Pete Dye's innovative design philosophy, which emphasizes playability and strategic challenge.

After undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation, the course emerged as a modern marvel that both challenges and rewards golfers.

Dye's design reshapes the natural landscapes into a series of distinct, visually striking holes that require thoughtful shot selections.

The renovation enhanced the course's sustainability and playability, making it a must-play for those who appreciate the blend of modern design with environmental consciousness.

Arthur Hills Course

The Arthur Hills Course at Palmetto Dunes is a masterpiece of strategic design, woven into the scenic beauty of Hilton Head Island.

Hills' layout takes advantage of the natural terrain, with rolling fairways, undulating greens, and strategic water hazards that challenge golfers to use every club in their bag.

The course's beauty is matched by its difficulty, offering a rewarding experience for golfers who navigate its challenges with precision.

Its popularity among visitors is a testament to its blend of challenge and charm, making it a standout in the island's golfing landscape.

George Fazio Course

The George Fazio Course presents a unique challenge on Hilton Head Island.

Known for being one of the island's most demanding courses, it combines tight fairways with deep bunkers and water hazards that demand accuracy and strategic foresight.

This course is a test of a golfer's endurance and skill, with the final four holes touted as among the toughest finishers in the area.

Its impeccable maintenance and challenging layout make it a rewarding experience for those who conquer its trials, embodying the essence of competitive golf.

Robert Trent Jones Course

With its panoramic ocean views, the Robert Trent Jones Course at Palmetto Dunes is a highlight of Hilton Head Island's golf offerings.

This course is famed not just for its stunning vistas but also for its accessible yet challenging layout.

Jones' design philosophy is evident in the wide fairways and expansive greens, making the course enjoyable for all skill levels.

The signature hole, with its view of the Atlantic, encapsulates the blend of beauty and challenge that makes this course a favorite among golfers seeking both scenic enjoyment and a test of their skills.

Oyster Reef Golf Club

Oyster Reef Golf Club is celebrated for its harmonious blend of challenging golf and natural beauty.

Designed by Rees Jones, the course is set against a backdrop of winding lagoons, lush vegetation, and the iconic live oaks of the Lowcountry.

Its layout demands precision and strategic thinking, with natural hazards strategically placed to challenge golfers.

The course's commitment to preserving its natural setting while providing a challenging round of golf exemplifies the balance between sport and conservation that is a hallmark of Hilton Head Island's golf courses.

Playing the Field

The island's golf courses, renowned for their exclusivity and high-quality experience, come with a range of pricing that can vary significantly.

In this section, we'll break down the factors influencing cost and provide practical tips to help you budget for an unforgettable golfing experience on Hilton Head Island.

Information on Pricing Variations and Factors Affecting Cost

Pricing for a round of golf on Hilton Head Island can vary widely based on several key factors:

  1. Time of Year: The season plays a significant role in determining rates. Prices tend to be highest during peak seasons, typically spring and fall, when the weather is most favorable for golf. Conversely, you may find lower rates during the summer and winter months.
  2. Day of the Week: Weekend rates are usually higher than weekday rates due to increased demand. Planning your golf outings on weekdays can lead to significant savings.
  3. Course Prestige and Facilities: The more renowned and well-equipped the course, the higher the fees. Courses that host professional tournaments or are designed by famous architects often command premium rates.
  4. Tee Time: The time of day can also affect pricing, with early morning and late afternoon tee times generally being less expensive than prime mid-morning slots.
  5. Residency and Membership Discounts: Some courses offer discounted rates for local residents or members. Additionally, staying at a resort or hotel associated with a course can sometimes provide reduced green fees.
  6. Advance Booking: Booking your tee times well in advance can sometimes secure better rates, especially if you're able to take advantage of early bird specials or promotional offers.

Tips for Budgeting for Golf on Hilton Head Island

To make the most of your golfing budget on Hilton Head Island, consider the following tips:

  1. Plan Your Visit During Off-Peak Times: If your schedule allows, visiting during the shoulder seasons or summer can significantly reduce the cost of green fees.
  2. Book Tee Times in Advance: Keep an eye out for special promotions and book your rounds as early as possible to get the best rates.
  3. Consider Package Deals: Many resorts and golf clubs offer packages that include accommodations, multiple rounds of golf, and sometimes even meals. These can offer substantial savings over booking everything separately.
  4. Play at Different Times of the Day: Experiment with playing at less popular times, like late afternoon, to enjoy lower rates.
  5. Utilize Last-Minute Booking Apps and Websites: These can offer discounted rates for unsold tee times, especially useful for solo golfers or small groups.
  6. Look for Multi-Course Passes: Some entities on Hilton Head Island offer passes that allow you to play multiple courses at a reduced rate, perfect for those planning several days of golf.
  7. Set a Daily or Trip Budget: Determine how much you're willing to spend on golf before you arrive, and plan your course selections and tee times accordingly.

Booking Your Golf Getaway

From selecting the best times to visit to navigating the myriad of package deals available, understanding the ins and outs of organizing your trip can transform a good holiday into a great one.

Let's delve into the essential advice on planning and booking your rounds, alongside a comprehensive overview of the package deals that can enhance your stay.

Advice on Planning and Booking Rounds

When it comes to planning your golf outings on Hilton Head Island, timing is everything.

The island experiences its peak golfing seasons in the spring and fall when the weather is most amiable for a day on the course.

These periods not only offer comfortable playing conditions but also showcase the island's natural beauty at its finest.

However, it's worth noting that these are also the times when demand for tee times is highest, and rates reflect this popularity.

If you're looking for a quieter experience or hoping to find more competitive rates, consider visiting during the summer or winter months.

Although the weather can be more challenging, the courses are less crowded, allowing for a more relaxed pace of play.

Securing your tee times well in advance is crucial, especially if you're aiming to play on the more prestigious courses that Hilton Head Island is known for.

Many courses allow bookings up to six months in advance, and taking advantage of this early booking window can ensure you get the tee times you desire.

Remember, flexibility can be your friend when booking golf rounds.

Being open to playing at different times of the day can not only provide you with a variety of playing conditions but can also tap into lower rates during less busy periods.

Overview of Package Deals

Hilton Head Island is renowned for its comprehensive golf packages, offering an array of options that cater to every golfer's needs.

These package deals often include lodging at one of the island's premier resorts, rounds of golf at various courses, and sometimes additional perks like dining credits or spa treatments.

Opting for a package deal can provide significant savings compared to booking your accommodations and golf rounds separately.

It also simplifies the planning process, giving you more time to focus on your game.

When exploring package deals, it's essential to consider the variety of courses included.

Many packages offer rounds at different courses, allowing you to experience the diverse golfing landscapes that Hilton Head has to offer.

Additionally, some packages are tailored to different skill levels or preferences, ensuring that whether you're a seasoned pro looking for a challenge or a casual player seeking scenic beauty, there's a package for you.

It's also worth investigating the lodging options included in these packages.

Many of Hilton Head's golf resorts offer luxurious accommodations and amenities that can make your stay as enjoyable off the course as on it.

From beachfront properties to secluded villas, selecting the right lodging can add an extra layer of relaxation and enjoyment to your golf getaway.

Making the Most of Your Visit

A trip to Hilton Head Island offers more than just a golfing adventure; it's an opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty and activities of one of South Carolina's most cherished destinations.

For first-time visitors, understanding how to navigate the golf courses and balance your time with the myriad of other attractions available can turn a simple getaway into an enriching experience.

Suggestions for First-Time Visitors to Hilton Head Island’s Golf Courses

For those new to the golfing scene on Hilton Head Island, the vast selection of courses and the unique culture of golfing here can be both exciting and a bit overwhelming.

To start, familiarize yourself with the courses before you arrive.

Many of Hilton Head's golf courses are designed by renowned architects, each with its own set of challenges and aesthetic appeals.

Researching the courses, understanding their layout, and knowing what each offers can help you select the ones that best match your skill level and playing preferences.

Booking a tee time well in advance is a must-do for any visitor, but especially important for first-timers.

Given the popularity of Hilton Head's courses, securing your spot early ensures you won't miss out on the top-rated courses.

Additionally, consider taking advantage of the golfing lessons or clinics offered by many of the resorts and clubs.

These sessions can provide valuable insights into playing strategies specific to Hilton Head's courses, which often incorporate the natural landscape into their design in unique ways.

Finally, don't shy away from engaging with local golfers and staff at the courses.

The golfing community on Hilton Head Island is welcoming and rich with history and stories.

Gleaning tips from locals can not only improve your game but also enrich your overall experience with personal touches and insider knowledge that you can't find anywhere else.

How to Balance Golfing with Other Attractions on the Island

While golf may be a central part of your visit to Hilton Head Island, the area offers a wealth of other attractions that deserve your attention.

Balancing your time between the links and the island's other offerings can provide a well-rounded and memorable vacation.

Start by scheduling your golf rounds in the early morning or late afternoon.

These times not only avoid the peak heat of the day but also free up large portions of your day to explore.

Hilton Head Island is renowned for its beautiful beaches, nature preserves, and biking trails.

Taking a day off from golf to relax on the beach, explore the island's natural beauty on a bike, or even take a boat tour can offer a refreshing break and a chance to experience the island from a different perspective.

The culinary scene on Hilton Head is another must-explore, with fresh seafood and southern cuisine that can provide the perfect end to a day on the course or a day of exploring.

For families or groups with mixed interests, planning activities that cater to everyone is key.

Many of the island's resorts offer amenities such as tennis courts, swimming pools, and spa services, ensuring that non-golfers have plenty of options for relaxation and fun.

Organizing your schedule to include group activities, whether it's a shared meal at one of the island's acclaimed restaurants or a group excursion to a local attraction, ensures that everyone's interests are honored and the vacation is enjoyable for all.


In wrapping up your journey through Hilton Head Island's golfing paradise, remember that the essence of a memorable golf vacation lies in preparation, exploration, and balance.

By selecting courses that align with your skills, booking in advance, and weaving in the island's rich tapestry of non-golfing activities, you create an experience that transcends the fairways.

Hilton Head offers a unique blend of golfing excellence and coastal charm, promising an unforgettable escape for golfers and non-golfers alike.