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|Travel & Leisure Family readers have tabbed Sea Pines Resort as among the nation's most family friendly. (Courtesy of seapines.com)|
The week after the Masters isn't an ideal spot for a resort to host a PGA Tour event. Given the grueling nature of golf's first major, some big-name guests have a tendency to eschew their standing invitations to the Verizon Heritage tournament in Hilton Head Island, S.C.
But the Harbour Town Golf Links at Sea Pines Resort has thrived in that April date for years, a testament to what a recent poll confirmed about its family-friendly hospitality.
Sea Pines Resort has been ranked at No. 10 among the Top 50 Resorts for Parents and Kids in the Fall/Winter issue of Travel & Leisure Family magazine. Thousands of readers voted in the annual poll, and Sea Pines was the only resort on the Atlantic Ocean to crack the Top 10. It also was cited as the most affordable in that group.
"You can look at one or two of the amenities and say, 'Wow, this is great,' but it is not until you come here and take in the entire experience that you realize just how much the Sea Pines Resort has to offer," General Manager Steve Birdwell said.
"It is the thousand little details, some evident and some so subtle you might not even notice, that gives a resort that welcoming and comfortable feeling. ... It's great to have those efforts rewarded."
Davis Love III and Stewart Cink have reaped numerous rewards for their performances at Harbour Town Golf Links. Love has collected five of his 20 career PGA Tour victories here; Cink has captured two titles at the Verizon Heritage.
But winning appears to be only one reason they return year after year. According to the magazine, Sea Pines Resort offers an atmosphere where "amid a beach, dunes and a golf course, guests live it up in roomy houses and at an Inn."
"It is great that the world knows us for Harbour Town and the Verizon Heritage, but it's even more gratifying when people who have been here and experienced this environment recognize Sea Pines for what it is: a family resort," Director of Sports Cary Corbitt said. "I'd put our tennis program up there with any place in the world, as well as the beaches and the bike trails and all the other recreation we offer."
Tennis Magazine, in its November/December issue that includes its bi-annual travel awards, named the Sea Pines Resort No. 7 among the country's finest tennis resorts, and the Sea Pines Resort was also listed in the magazine's Best Instruction and Best Family Resort categories. The tennis facilities consist of 23 courts and creative programs for all ages under the direction of the legendary U.S. Open and Wimbledon champion Stan Smith.
November 11, 2008
Veteran golf writer Tom Spousta keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation. He has covered golf and other sports for USA Today and The New York Times. Tom lives on a Donald Ross-designed golf course in Sarasota, Fla.
Finding a golf course to play in the Sarasota/Bradenton area 45 miles south of Tampa is easy. World-ranked beaches, European-style boutique shopping and al fresco dining, and a fantastic circus museum are just a few of the choices available for off-course entertainment.
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