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Golf with a view at Hilton Head's stunning coastal courses

By S. Adam Cardais,
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Old Tabby Golf Links
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The scenery at Arnold Palmer-designed Old Tabby Golf Links is second to none in Hilton Head. (Courtesy of Old Tabby Golf Links)

In its view of the lighthouse on No. 18, the revered Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, South Carolina, has one of the most iconic scenes in all of golf. The lighthouse has become a landmarks on the PGA Tour over the years.

Beautiful golf course scenery isn't lacking in Hilton Head. Harbour Town may have the most famous view on the island, but it doesn't hold the monopoly on majestic vistas.

Take a trip back to the Old South at the Old Tabby Golf Links, or visit the Country Club of Hilton Head for panoramic views of the Intracoastal Waterway.

If you're looking for scenic golf courses, Hilton Head has plenty. Here are some of the best.

Old Tabby Golf Links: Located on Spring Island just a few miles outside Hilton Head, Old Tabby Golf Links is set within the marshes and thick, canopied forest of coastal South Carolina. Designed by Arnold Palmer, this private club is a window into the history and majesty of the Old South.

"You enter a world of God's own making when you take the little bridge onto Spring Island, and a world of Arnold Palmer's own making when you pull into Old Tabby Golf Links," Tim McDonald wrote in a recent review for GolfCarolina.com. "You know you're in for something special on the lonesome drive there."

The No. 17 Arnie signature, for example. The hole has been ranked third in the "King's Dream 18." It's a thin strip of dark green fairway abutted on both sides by marshland. When it comes to playing Old Tabby, Palmer put it best: "You better bring your 'A' game."

Secession Golf Club: This course is all about nature. Located on the beautiful Intracoastal Waterway, there is no real estate at Secession, just you and nature, pure and simple. Carts are forbidden and caddies are mandatory.

Designed by Bruce Devlin, the track plays slightly more than 7,000 yards from the championship tees with a slope rating of 131.

Melrose Golf Course: Designed by Jack Nicklaus, Melrose has three of the most stunning finishing holes in the area. They run along the Atlantic coastline, providing views of the lighthouse at Harbour Town and sweeping ocean vistas.

Named after a mansion that burned down in the early 20th century, the golf course measures 7,081 yards from the championship tees and carries a slope rating of 138.

Harbour Town Golf Links: This course deserves mention if only for the view of the lighthouse on 18, one of the most recognizable landmarks on the PGA Tour.

"There are few memories you'll have in your golfing lifetime quite like that of reaching the tee box on the 18th hole, with Harbour Town in the distance and the lighthouse pleasantly acting as an aiming rod for your tee ball," Jeffrey A. Rendall wrote in a story for HiltonHeadGolf.com. "You're arrived, so savor the moment."

Ranked the No. 1 golf course in South Carolina by Golf Magazine, this Pete Dye-Jack Nicklaus design is host to the PGA Tour Verizon Heritage event. At 6,973 yards, it's relatively short for a PGA Tour stop, but with a slope rating of 146, it packs a serious punch. It's Dye target golf at its best.

Country Club of Hilton Head: The front nine of this course is so relaxing it could lull you to sleep, but don't nod off before getting to the back nine, where some of the most picturesque scenery in all of Hilton Head is revealed.

No. 12 is possibly the most scenic hole on the Island. It's a long, 575-yard par 5, with a panoramic vista of the Intracoastal Waterway and Skull Creek. Large Oak trees border the water.

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Country Club of Hilton HeadOld Tabby Golf Links - spring Island, S.C.Secession Golf Club - Beaufort, S.C.Harbour Town Golf Links - 18th hole
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