Golf at Palmetto Dunes: A seasoned enthusiast reflects on his recent trip
Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort has become one of the most sought-after destinations for families, couples and — with its three spectacular courses — golfers as well. Having celebrated its 50th anniversary recently, this oceanfront resort has become one of the finest east coast backdrops for creating a wonderful oceanside vacation.
The resort’s 5-star golf serves as the centerpiece.
The trio of widely acclaimed courses at Palmetto Dunes have built a reputation through the years for their challenging layouts and stunning natural beauty.
The Arthur Hills, George Fazio and Robert Trent Jones courses at Palmetto Dunes all share similar characteristics, but remain wholly singular in their personality and playing experience.
When I made my first-ever golfing trip to the oceanside resort, I headed first to the Robert Trent Jones course. Built in 1967 by Robert Trent Jones Sr., this course is known for being the most accessible of the three resort courses. Taking that into account, I thought it would be the perfect choice to play first.
As you play the RTJ Sr. layout, you’ll be knocked out by the luxurious views of the nearby Atlantic Ocean throughout the round. Yes, the opening nine does run alongside the adjacent highway, but that shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying the course’s opening front side.
The “star of the show” at the Jones Course is a back nine that features plenty of water.
It also includes my favorite hole on the course, the par-5 10th, one of just two holes on Hilton Head Island that touches the ocean beach. You’ll want a camera as you putt out on the 10th green, because the view of the water rolling in against the beach is a memory worth saving.
Next, I chose the Arthur Hills course. Known for its distinct and strategic layout, Arthur Hills is the course that channels the local terrain of Hilton Head the most of the three. Surrounded by palmetto trees and an abundance of water, this course won’t force you to hit it long off the tee, but it will punish you if you aren’t accurate.
That said, I had an absolute blast on the Arthur Hills course because of the strategic mindset that the design demands from all golfers. This course doesn’t bore you with a routine of driver, 7-iron, and putter over and over like many courses, but instead engages you with each shot.
You will have to carry a lot of water on this course and wear comfortable clothing, but that makes playing the challenging layout that much more enjoyable. A great example is the spectacular par-4 second hole. Golfers have to clear a large body of water with their second shot on this hole after hitting a hybrid or iron off the tee to a small landing area.
Arthur Hills does provide a respite, with large greens that roll smoothly and don’t have a great deal of break.
Following the round, one of my playing partners described the course as, “tough but fair.” I couldn’t agree more.
I ended my golf vacation at Palmetto Dunes with the resort’s third layout, the George Fazio Course. Widely considered to be the toughest of the three courses, the Fazio has been awarded many accolades over the years for its beauty and incredibly demanding golf.
The front nine at the Fazio offers golfers a more relaxed side in contrast with the tighter back nine. Fazio designed the course with an emphasis on carving his fairways through the abundance of trees that line the landing areas for tee shots. As a result, the course will be more challenging for golfers who failed to bring their accuracy with them to the first tee.
If you are looking for a standout hole, the par-3 17th at the Fazio is terrific fun. Golfer smust clear a large stream that runs diagonally across the area with their tee shot — which could be particularly challenging for women golfers. Waiting to trap your ball around the green is a front-facing bunker and a thick group of trees to the left that will swallow any shot that enters.
After playing all three courses at the Palmetto Dunes resort, I can say with total conviction that each course packs an extraordinary punch that will undoubtedly invigorate and delight any traveling golfer. To learn more about our courses or to receive your golf quote, visit us at www.palmettodunes.com/golf/hilton-head-golf today.
Jordan Fuller is a golf enthusiast with over 25 years of experience on the golf course. He’s fallen in love with the game and now teaches golf to amateur players in Omaha, Nebraska. He also loves to write and share his learnings about the game in articles on his website Golf Influence.
Article Courtesy of Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort