Playing golf in Hilton Head? Make Old South a priority
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina is known for its golf, but in order to play Harbor Town, Palmetto Dunes, or even the lesser-known Sea Pines courses (Ocean and Sea Marsh), you had better be prepared to spend, as Kiel Christianson often relates, between $8 and $15 per hole. But with many of these courses you’ll walk away certain that they accidentally added a 1 in front of the actual cost (for instance, The “Ocean” course at Sea Pines allows one glimpse of the Atlantic from the 15th green). Harbor Town is a fantastic layout, but sports less-than-perfect course conditions for much of the year; they’ll also bang you for $30 if you have someone riding along with you, even if you’re playing as a single. Old South Golf Links is a different golf experience from the courses previously mentioned only in that you could easily play 36 holes or more for the price of what 18 costs at some of the local resorts. In peak season on a weekend, the greens fees run around $75 (including cart and range balls); if you catch the course after aerification in the summer months, the fees drop to $45. I played several courses in the area after they had been recently aerified, and not only was Old South in the best condition, it was the only course offering a discount. The Clyde Johnston layout is very playable, but challenging enough for anyone. Both nines set up in a very similar fashion, as they begin with holes that offer plenty of room off the tee before moving into the more difficult stretch near the water; this is especially helpful as the course starts players on both the front and back. Each nine ends with three holes right along the intracostal waterway (including the island-green 8th), creating an experience that only improves from beginning to end, regardless of whether the round started on the 1st or the 10th. As an added bonus, there is very little unsightly development along the fairways, and much of the natural environment seems to have been preserved. For the overall value in the area, Old South is a can’t-miss in my opinion. It has exceeded my expectations all three times I’ve played, and it is a course that I only enjoy more after playing a lot of golf in South Carolina.
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