Checking off a bucket list item: Golf at Sea Pines

Last month at the Solheim Cup, I met two ladies from New Jersey who told me that retiring to Hilton Head and playing golf at Sea Pines was on their bucket list.

They later called me and said that they were visiting Hilton Head and wanted me to play golf with them at Sea Pines. I hadn't played the newly renovated Atlantic Dunes course, so this gave me a chance to review the changes to the course.

Davis Love III was asked to renovate the historic Ocean Course, which was the first course built on Hilton Head Island in 1962 by George Cobb. Love and his team of architects decided to change the name of the course since there wasn't a hole on the ocean.

The complete reconstruction was finished in October 2016 and has had rave reviews. It is considered a "must play" course when you visit Hilton Head.

There are six sets of tees, ranging from the Love tees at 7,000 yards to the orange tees at 3,911 yards. The tee boxes are not elevated. Instead they flow into one another onto the fairway.

Love widened the fairways, removed a lot of trees and made it a more "player-friendly" course from the tee box. We found it easy to hit the fairways yet it was difficult to score once we hit toward the green. This was because Love added sandy waste areas, bunkers and long seaside grass around the greens.

Another factor of Love's golf course design is large undulating greens. These greens are twice as large as the greens at Harbour Town. If you do hit a green at Atlantic Dunes, be prepared to have a putt of 50 feet or more.

Our favorite hole was the par 3 No. 15, which has the Atlantic Ocean in the background. The green is raised to give a better view of the ocean.

The new clubhouse at the Plantation Golf Club also has a fantastic restaurant. The Live Oak restaurant specializes in Lowcountry inspired cuisine. Guests have an incredible 270-degree golf and lagoon view through 35-foot ceiling to floor windows.

The Golf Learning Center overlooks Heron Point and Atlantic Dunes courses. The building features two hitting bays, a club repair station, and a viewing area for video-taped swings. An indoor putting area is included as well.

As you can see, the Sea Pines golf resort really is a "bucket list" item for golfers wanting the ultimate golfing experience. Sea Pines is much more than just the Harbour Town Golf Links. I recommend playing the Atlantic Dunes course for a pleasurable day of golf.

Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at Brown Golf Management courses. jean.golfdoctor.harris @gmail.com; www.golfdoctorjean.com


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