RBC Heritage: Serious golf coupled with serious fun

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As soon as we heard that the red stripes on the Harbour Town Lighthouse would be turned plaid for the season, locals knew the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing would be extra fun this year.

"Cheers to 50 years!" Hearing that toast for the first time at the Chamber Ball in January should have tipped us off.

That same evening, the announcement was made that the lighthouse would be altered to wear the tournament's signature tartan like a kilt.

It's a gigantic and memorable sign to the world that we are proud to be celebrating 50 years of our community's signature event. (See story in our A section about how the color change was made.)

Residents and visitors gathered for the big unveiling on Feb. 18. The party atmosphere continued.

Then there was the amazing art exhibit in March at the Art League of Hilton Head gallery. "The Art of Golf, Celebrating 50 Years of Golf Champions" featured reproductions of all the portraits of every RBC Heritage since 1969.

The originals, painted by the legendary Coby Whitmore and by West Fraser, hang throughout the Harbour Town Clubhouse.

It is now April and the big event is just around the corner. A kickoff - the third annual Plaid Par-Tee - will be held April 5, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Port Royal Golf & Racquet Club.

We have been promised another fun item, to debut at this event: Tartan Thyme, a signature cocktail created by mixologist Paul Rabe. What a great way to salute the hard-working staff and trustees of the Heritage Classic Foundation, the folks who put this amazing event together every year.

The event is sponsored by the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce. Visit hiltonheadchamber.org for more information and tickets.

Opening ceremonies for the tournament will be held at 10 a.m. April 9 on the 18th green of Harbour Town Golf Links. This event includes the traditional blast of a ceremonial cannon, just as last year's tournament winner Wesley Bryan drives a golf ball into Calibogue Sound.

By the way, Bryan is the first South Carolina native to win the tournament! Joining him is fellow native son Dustin Johnson, who happens to be the No. 1 pro golfer in the WORLD.

I told you this year would be a fun one.

The remaining field of golfers is exceptional this year, as usual. Spectators are sure to see several days of excellent golf.

Of course, there will be plenty more fun as the throngs make their way from concession stand to hospitality suite to house party along the course. After play ends each day, expect live music in and around Harbour Town - and all over town, for that matter.

It's a great time to get your plaid on. Don't get so excited, though, that you forget to buy your tournament tickets. It's too late to purchase by phone, and on April 6 they will no longer be available online. For more information, visit RBCHeritage.com.

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