While Bluffton and Hilton Head are home to some of the best golf courses in the state, most of them are unfortunately private and inaccessible for the average golfer. There are a few public courses in this corner of the low country, but Hilton Head National is in a league of its own compared to other public options at similar price points.
Let’s have a look at what Hilton Head National has to offer- check out our full review below!
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It’s important to note that we played the course in January, in the very “dead of winter”“. While most courses in the area are browned out from tee to green, the very first thing we noticed is how lush the facilities were driving up to the course; the fairways were bright green, and the greens looked in great shape. The second thing we noticed is that this course isn’t lined with homes in the way that other golf courses in the area are: the property is all about the golf, which we appreciated. The clubhouse at Hilton Head National was well stocked with gear, and Thomas made us feel right at home as we set up our round.
We also loved the fact that the golf cart included a touch screen GPS with an overview of the hole, which gave accurate readings from where you are to the actual pin location on your hole. With this being our first time playing the course, that level of knowledge was extremely useful. Being able to pick a point and quickly find out lay up yardage was massive and made our lives way easier.
Overall we were pretty impressed at first glance of the facilities, and were very keen to get out on the course.
The Hilton Head National Golf Course was first opened in 1989, and initially was designed to be a 27 hole golf facility, however the club got rid of 9 of the holes in 2009. The course was designed in a collaboration between Gary Player and Bobby Weed- Gary Player added his own unique touches to the back 9 of the course, while Bobby Weed holds ownership of the front 9 design. The greens are Bermuda Grass, while the fairways are Tidwarf Grass.
From the tips the course measures out at 6730 yards, and the course offers 4 different sets of tees to choose from. Below is a full view of their score card and additional course rating info, per the Hilton Head National website.
For a public golf course, we were pretty impressed at the practice facilities available at Hilton Head National. The actual driving range itself was well kept, and a station to keep your bag. Range balls were delved out in neat range bags by the starter outside of the clubhouse. Adjacent to the range was a well kept practice green. The practice green was true to the green speeds on the course, which was useful.
As we mentioned, the front 9 is designed by Bobby Weed, and generally speaking there wasn’t an extreme amount of danger on most holes. Most of the time you’re able to run the ball up and onto the green on the front 9, giving you a couple options on how to play each hole. The front starts out with a relatively short, heavily tree lined par 4. Again, for January, we were really impressed with how green everything was; the fairways were bright green, as were the greens.
There we a few holes that stood out as we played out way through the front 9; number 2 was a relatively long par 4 that played into an elevated green. The green was very long and undulating, but at the same time the green played true to expectations.
The 4th hole was an absolute standout par 3, and offered one of the most intimidating tee shots of the day. While the 4th hole has the largest green on the entire course, you have cover a massive bunker that spans most of the length of the entire hole. The bunker spans at least 100 yards, making this one of the more unique holes on the course.
A third standout hole on the front 9 is the signature hole on the course, number 6. The 6th is a picturesque short par 4, with water running the right side of the hole. If you’re a big hitter this is a hole you could run the ball up to from the tee shot. There’s trouble on the right, and some strategically placed bunkers that make you hesitate. Loved this hole.
The back 9, designed by Gary Player, starts with three consecutive par 4’s, each getting longer than the last. The 11th hole was a bit tricky with water lining the left side of the hole, and trouble behind the green. The 12th featured a hilly fairway, requiring a good long iron shot into a long and narrow green.
The 13th hole was another standout hole for me, as I loved the elevated tee box onto the table top green, surrounded by bunkers. I loved it even more after cruising an 8 footer in for birdie, to be fair.
The 2nd half of the back 9 is more challenging in my opinion; the 14th par 4 has a huge waste area in front of the green, and regretfully I had to play out of it; not what you like to see. The 16th is the longest hole on the course, requiring 3 accurate shots to nail the green in regulation. As for the finisher? It may be the toughest hole on the course; if you hit your tee shot to the right, you’re out of the hole in a huge waste area. If you hit an accurate tee shot, you need to place your ball onto an elevated table top green, that loves to suck a ball into the valleys in front of and behind the green; we saw it happen twice in our group.
This is a tough one for me, as there plenty of memorable holes on the course. For me, the stand out hole was the 4th hole, a par 3. I loved the bunker in front of the green, and thought it was a truly unique set up. A close second for me is the signature hole, number 6.
Hilton Head is an absolute haven for great golf, and Hilton Head National is easily the best public course in the area. The course is meticulously kept, to the point that the course seems as if it would be a private course. Whether you’re local or on vacation in the area, Hilton Head National is a must play golf course.