Hilton Head Island

Saturday April 19th, 2008
The 18th hole at Harbour Town Golf Links, on Calibogue Sound.
LC Lambrecht

Harbour Town Golf Links
6,973 yards, par 71
Greens fee: $155-$270; 843-363-8385, seapines.com
Architect: Pete Dye (1969)
Ambience
Challenge
Value for money
With a lengthy roster of impressive tournament winners and a fistful of superb holes -- including the closer alongside Calibogue Sound, with its iconic candy-canestriped lighthouse -- Harbour Town should be your first stop on the island. But for all its charms, the course loses value points thanks to a pace of play that can be achingly slow and flat fairways and greens that are seldom in pristine condition outside of tournament time. Given the price tag, consistent conditioning should be a given.

Daufuskie Island Resort
(Melrose Course)
7,081 yards, par 72
Greens fee: $67-$129; 843-341-4810, daufuskieresort.com
Architect: Jack Nicklaus (1987)
Ambience
Challenge
Value for money
Daufuskie Island Resort is only accessible via a 35-minute boat ride -- the cost of the ferry is included in your greens fee -- but is well worth the trip for its closing trio of holes that edge the Atlantic. Once-a-month golfers should think twice before boarding the boat: you'll be antagonized by the Melrose Course's abundance of forced carries and the constant barrage of elevated, well-fortified greens.

May River at Palmetto Bluff
7,171 yards, par 72
Greens fee: $175-$240 (includes caddie fee);
843-706-6580, palmettobluffresort.com
Architect: Jack Nicklaus (2004)
Ambience
Challenge
Value for money
This Low country romp is limited to guests of the Inn at Palmetto Bluff and is definitely not a destination for budget conscious travelers, but it's worth the splurge for big spenders. Unusually soft contouring (for a Nicklaus design), mandatory caddies and level terrain help keep the pace of play brisk.

Hilton Head National
Golf Club
27 holes, 6,655-6,718 yards, par 71/72
Greens fee: $58-$89; 843-842-5900, golfhiltonheadnational.com
Architect: Gary Player (1989); Bobby Weed (1999)
Ambience
Challenge
Value for money
You won't find a better option at a better price anywhere on the island. The original Gary Player layout is the most challenging, but for maximum variety combine the Player nine -- which closes with two all-or-nothing holes -- and the more recent Weed nine.

Old South Golf Links
6,772 yard s , par 72
Greens fee: $50-$90; 843-785-5353, oldsouthgolf.com
Architect: Clyde Johnston (1991)
Ambience
Challenge
Value for money
One of the island's most popular courses thanks to an affordable price tag and inviting scenery, though the unremitting target golf and multiple forced lay-ups might frustrate some.

Palmetto Dunes Resort
(Robert Trent Jones Course)
7,005 yards, par 72
Greens fee: $65-$139; 843-785-1136, palmettodunes.com
Architect: Robert Trent Jones Sr. (1969)
Ambience
Challenge
Value for money
Five consecutive holes that run in the same direction alongside busy Highway 278 make for a monotonous front nine on this justrenovated track, but the back nine is filled with watery fun. Junior tees (2,625 yards) make this an ideal spot to take kids who are itching to play. Junior rates are 50 percent off and kids under 10 play free.

TRIP TIPS

Stay here
Hilton Head has plenty of reasonably priced lodging but the best property is the Inn at Palmetto Bluff. Rooms from $450 per night. 843-706-6500, palmettobluffresort.com

Eat here
CQ's is famed for its terrific local specialties (like shellfish bisque) and more than 70 wines available by the glass. 843-671-2779, cqsrestaurant.com

When to go
Avg. High Avg. Low
April 74 53
May 80 62
June 85 69
July 88 73


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