Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort is really a village of homes away from home on Hilton Head Island. Rental units come with all the living comforts you need from kitchen to laundry. We loved sitting on the patio of our villa in the Turnberry section along the tenth fairway of the Fazio Course, watching the golf zoo – players that is, raking bunkers, whiffing balls, and rules gone wild. It can make you feel pretty good about your own game and at the end of the day, ball shopping in your yard is an added bonus.
Three courses make Palmetto Dunes the Hilton Head haven for golfers. Combined activities make it THE spot for virtually anyone to vacay. Biking is a big deal here for families, couples and singles, many who have not pedaled in years. If in a quandary over whether to bike or golf, you can do both at the same time with the new Golf Bike. It’s a breeze, literally. Slide your clubs into the single slots behind the seat, water and balls in the zipper bag and ride the course with the wind. Forget about cart path only. Bikes may access all parts except greens and bunkers of course. Hit and pedal directly to your ball, taking in the open views
along the way. It increases speed of play. It’s fun, more fit and really perfect for coastal designs like Palmetto Dunes. After playing all 3 courses with the Golf Bike, it’s hard to go back to the cart or walking.
The Arthur Hills Course is a wonderful start with the most diverse routing. An old water tower anchors the challenging layout.
Palmetto Dunes’ Arthur Hills course is built on old sand dunes with sleeper ponds hidden from view. Gators may also appear sleeping but will wake you up. They are apparently populating as evidenced by a baby on #13. Wooden bridges connect fairways over waterways throughout all the courses. Watch for kayakers paddling by on the resort’s 11-mile inland salt-water lagoon system and try it yourself for a fish eye view of the courses. The Outfitters on property is the place to rent kayaks as well as bikes.
Robert Trent Jones Golf Course is the most popular public course on the island, with no gated access. Number ten concludes oceanside. The clubhouse adjoins Big Jim’s Restaurant serving yummy bbq, burgers, pizza and drink and food specials. The Golf Academy serves up game improvements. Bobby Jones’ design is very generous from the forward tee positions, perhaps because he plays them himself or at least he did with us in Puerto Rico on his Bahia Beach design. The course also has permanently fixed junior tees and lots of family specials to promote game growth and family bonding.
George Fazio on the other hand might harbor a little resentment against females by installing some very long par 4s from the red tees.
Bird Island is the busy and beautiful centerpiece for his course with the waterways strewn in every direction. A large variety of happy feathered nesters on the island entertain empty nesting human golfers during their rounds.
The golf team is very accommodating and experienced at Palmetto Dunes. Clark Sinclair, the Director of Golf began as a cart boy 32 years ago. Fun is a main goal here, hence the Golf Bike and former PGA TOUR player Doug Weaver’s, creative teaching ideas like incorporating “alligator arms. ”
The fun factor permeates all 2,000 acres of Palmetto Dunes Resort with 25 USTA sanctioned tennis courts and three miles of sandy beachfront for strolling, bodysurfing and dolphin watching. Island exploration caps off the Hilton Head experience with lots of shopping and the Mediterranean-style Shelter Cove Harbour deep-water marina directly across. Capp can tell you all about the island as he drives the Dunes Buggy, a shuttle from the resort to the Dunes House where Lobster night is swamped. Early bird is the word; otherwise expect to wait. But that’s part of the fun listening to the hip-hop music, watching the dunes and waves and people. Beach is a human equalizer, dress up, dress down, fun all around. If you crave fish tacos, this is the place and the skinny colada is tasty and refreshing if you’re watching the swimwear curves. Another island favorite is ELA’s Blu Water Grille in Shelter Cove Harbour with a balcony view of water activities including the water jet pack, ala Jetson’s cartoon style. The Atlantic Swordfish with lemon caper butter and wilted arugula on the lunch menu is a big hit.
Three seasons and no true winter make Oct- Dec the prime fall golf season. It is no wonder that generations of families venture annually to Hilton Head and many retirees make it their home. From the tip of Savannah to the edge of the geographical armpit above Charleston, the coast has historically been protected from hurricane season. The exclusive Haig Point on Daufuskie Island, delivers a private gated lifestyle for $300k in a townhome with water taxi service to Harbour Town. Enjoy the water life with groceries delivered to your door. Across the bridge on the mainland, Bluffton is one of the fastest growing communities in the US, a cute little town.
In any part, you can live healthy and happy in Hilton Head Island but in the center of it all, Palmetto Dunes is regularly named one of the “World’s Top-25 Family Getaways” by Travel + Leisure Family magazine, among others. Reach it by driving for hours or days or fly into Hilton Head, nearby Savannah or Charleston. Pick up your drinks and snacks on the way in or get essentials at the General Store. Time it for a 4pm check in as early accommodations are unlikely. Fun times however are guaranteed. PalmettoDunes.com.