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Hilton Head a perfect island for three days of high-quality golf

By S. Adam Cardais,
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Harbour Town Golf Links
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The ninth hole at Harbour Town Golf Links, arguably Hilton Head's best course. (Courtesy photo)

Hilton Head Island has all the ingredients for a great, relaxing three-day golf weekend: it's beautiful, quiet and full of exceptional golf courses.

Golf in Hilton Head has always been more about quality than quantity, and the same goes for just about everything else, from accommodation to dining and entertainment. Plus, its unhurried pace and lack of commercialism makes it seem insulated from the world around it.

Here's an itinerary for a great three-day golf weekend in Hilton Head.

Friday

If luxury is what you're after, stay at the Inn at Harbour Town. This AAA Four Diamond hotel has 60 guestrooms, some of which overlook the famed Harbour Town Golf Links. It oozes pampering, with arriving guests being met by a private butler and concierge service. Rooms start at $200 in the summer.

For something a little less pricey, check out the Residence Inn by Marriott. This hotel offers great studio and bi-level suites, but is easier on the wallet.

Once you're all settled, start your weekend with arguably the best course Hilton Head has to offer. Harbour Town Golf Links is widely considered one of the top 10 courses in South Carolina. Designed by Pete Dye, Harbour Town measures 6,973 and is known as a precision track. The par-4 No. 18 is considered one of the most difficult holes in golf, period.

For dinner Friday night, check out Alexander's for some great seafood and wine. Opened in 1977, this Palmetto Dunes institution has both seafood and meats. The staff can help you select from its more than 100 wines to find the one that best compliments your meal. Entrees run around $20.

Saturday

On Saturday, try one of the island's most accessible tracks, Golden Bear Golf Club. This Jack Nicklaus design is known as one of the most women-friendly courses in Hilton Head, but at 7,014 yards it's no push over, either. Golden Bear was considered one of the best courses on the island when it opened in 1992 and has gotten over the conditioning problems that forced it to put down temporary greens two years ago. Now it's back in great shape.

"Another plus for Golden Bear is its conditioning, which is quite good," Tim McDonald wrote in a story for HiltonHeadGolf.com. "At a time when some Hilton Head courses are struggling because of a string of bad weather, the Golden Bear appears to be flourishing."

Go for something a little more upbeat Saturday night. The Jazz Corner, open since 1999, has nightly shows featuring local, regional and international musicians. It also boasts a restaurant specializing in eclectic American cuisine, such as fresh pineapple salmon for $23.

Sunday

It's Sunday, the dream is coming to an end -- do something a little unexpected: Play the Old Tabby Golf Links. A private club located on Spring Island, Old Tabby is rarely mentioned when talking about Hilton Head golf, though it's just a few miles down the street. Designed by Arnold Palmer, the course's No. 17 Arnie signature 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."

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