Robert Trent Jones’ award-winning oceanfront resort makes golf an experience
Robert Trent Jones, Sr., was an English–American golf course architect who designed more than 500 golf courses in 45 states and 35 different countries, including this course at Palmetto Dunes.
The link-style course is flats and gets slightly more elevated as golfers approach the shoreline. Known for it’s views of the ninth and tenth hole, both fairways overlook the shoreline with a beautiful view of the ocean. The course is designed so that the first nine holes take golfers out to the water and the last nine holes take them back.
As for the greens, everything is pristine. By attaching Jones’ name to it, golfers know that the course has to be kept to a pretty high standard, well-watered, cut and maintained. There are a decent amount of bunkers and not much water in certain spots. Having been to a driving range once in my life, I found the course challenging but enjoyable to play as it is very picturesque with streams, bridges and small watering holes. That’s the territory that comes with a link-style course; very open and a lot of beautiful landscape. While some other golf courses are hilly with more trees, Palmetto Dunes is more flat, which provides for a good view of the course as golfers progress throughout.
As for difficulty, this beginner golfer was not plagued by a round of 18 holes. A major positive to this course is the different levels of tee boxes for different skill sets. What gets a lot of amateur golfers is length from the tee box to the fairway, but here, golfers have the option to start at different tees, which range from championship tees, two or three sets of higher level to amateur level tees, a senior’s level tee, a ladies tee and a juniors tee. The course caters to all physical levels, but beginner golfers who are serious about progressing should probably save Palmetto Dunes for when they are a little more established.
Based on its location and scenery, you can’t beat Jones’ work here. However, it’s the amenities that make Palmetto Dunes par for the course. The staff pride themselves on the upkeep of the grounds, but also in the impressive technology and level of service offered to golfers. The clubhouse makes anyone who enters immediately feel like a professional golfer. With golf attire, hats, shoes and clubs to purchase, it’s a one stop shop for the day’s activities.
The halfway house at the ninth hole is refreshingly air-conditioned and offers refreshments available for purchase. A member of the staff drives around in a golf cart throughout the day and offers cold scented towels to golfers. If you’re golfing on a hot day in South Carolina, there is no better sight more welcome than a cold respite. The rental clubs, which we both used, are top quality. The brand new tailor-made iron sets, hybrids, drivers and woods are top of the line, especially for a rental bag.
We rode the green in style in a GPS enabled golf cart that is equipped wit a warning system, alerting golfers if they get too close to the fairway. If this happens, a notification will pop up on the screen and the cart will immediately turn off, prompting the golfer to literally retrace their steps and drive backward away from the area as certain holes requires golfers to stay on the cart path.
Although there’s a lot of competition down south for courses—with about 20 courses on Hilton Head Island and 20 more outside the island alone—as long as you have a sunny day, a warm and inviting staff, and the desire to explore the green isle of golf, you’re in for a treat at Palmetto Dunes.