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Underrated Hilton Head golf courses can compete

By S. Adam Cardais,
Contributor

Country Club of Hilton HeadWhen you talk great golf in Hilton Head, the course on everyone's lips is Harbour Town Golf Links, the $250-a-day Pete Dye design that's widely considered one of the top 10 courses in South Carolina.

"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."

Here are some other gems worth uncovering in the Hilton Head area.

Eagle's Pointe Golf Club: Located in Bluffton west of Hilton Head Island, this Davis Love III design was built in 1998. Over the years it has had its share of conditioning problems, but it's come into its own.

Today Eagle's Pointe is consistently in great shape. Its wide fairways, ample greens and dearth of water hazards make it a highly playable course, but watch out for the sand.

"You will confront bunkers early and often," McDonald advised in his review of the course . "Make sure you have a good sand wedge and a flop shot in your bag."

Hampton HallHampton Hall Country Club: One of the newer tracks in this ear, this 7,489-yard Pete Dye layout is already winning respect. Hampton Hall is more toned-down than many Dyes, challenging but also accommodating, with top-notch conditioning.

One Dye touch still abundant here is his penchant for tricky greens. The ones on the front nine are particularly sloping, with severe undulation.

The Country Club of Hilton Head: This Rees Jones, this design was selected as a qualifying course for the 2005 U.S. Open, but it deserves much greater attention.

"The Country Club of Hilton Head has a lower profile than many area courses; an understandable occurrence when you're sharing the same area code as world-class venues like Harbour Town, Long Cove and Secession Club," Joel Zuckerman wrote in a 2004 review for HiltonHeadGolf.com.

But play this nearly 7,000-yard track and you'll understand why it's considered one of the best in the area. Players have to navigate the Intracoastal Waterway, marshland and other hazards to find a place on the green, and the mounding will challenge golfers of all skill levels.

Old Tabby Golf Links: You won't hear Old Tabby listed among the Hilton Head elite, but as designer Arnold Palmer said of this Spring Island course, "You better bring your 'A' game." The signature No. 17, a strip of dark green fairway abutted on both sides by marshland, ranks third in the "King's Dream 18."

 
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