How to score at Hilton Head National Golf Club in Bluffton, S.C.
BLUFFTON, S.C. -- There are several things that make Hilton Head National Golf Club stand out in this course-thick area: There are no houses around the course. None. Nada. And it's an interesting hybrid of Bobby Weed- and Gary Player-designed nines.
The par-71 golf course is not overly long and gives you a lot of scoring opportunities, but use your brain, not your brawn.
Hilton Head National's Bobby Weed-designed front nine
No. 1: Weed gives you a target on the par-4 dogleg right. Aim at the mound in the center of the fairway in the distance. Ideally, you'll hit it far enough to get some roll on the backside. A bunker guards the left side of the green, but there's plenty of room right.
No. 2: The test on the second hole, a straight par 4, is keeping your ball anywhere on the fairway to avoid drop-offs left and right, then plopping it on the elevated green. Anything short will come back at you because of the steep slope. Anything left will fall into a deep bunker. The green, which is 35 yards deep, slopes toward the bunker.
No. 3: The par 5 is one of the most complex. Play it for par. A lot of sand stares at you from the tee, but steer just to the right of the left bunker, then aim right for your second shot. Trees block out the green from the left.
No. 4: The par 3 has a 43-yard green that's undulating and tiered, so go for the pin, wherever it is. If you drift left, there's an elevated bunker and a shaved area right.
No. 5: It's a sharp, short, par-4 dogleg right. Land it short of the bunker at the far corner for a short iron to the green. You have to fly it there because it's an interrupted fairway with a false front to the green.
No. 6: This par 4 is the most memorable on the front. The green sits to the right of a huge, bunker-laden mound that can create a blind approach from the left. The right side of the hole is all water, plus a bunker occupying the right half of the fairway. Use two iron shots. You can easily slay this monster. It's all bark, no bite if you play it right.
No. 7: This short par 3 is unforgiving if you don't hit the big green. Bunkers await front and left, and there is a tie-wall drop-off on the right.
No. 8: The par 5 fairway is straight and relatively short, but includes mounds right and a drop-off left. However, the big green is the toughest part, with regular and pot bunkers left and collection areas everywhere else.
No. 9: The challenge on this par 4 is staying out of the bunkers on the left mid-fairway, then putting the ball close to the pin. The sloped green has shaved sides with a pot bunker on the right-front side of the green.
Hilton Head National's Gary Player-designed back nine
No. 10: Player starts with a short par 4 with a steep hill on the right that could work in your favor, plus a forward-sloped fairway for added distance. The green has no bunkers, but it has collection areas.
No. 11: This straight par 4 is an opportunity to score well, especially with the absence of bunkers and a nice little run-up to the green.
No. 12: This is an either/or hole. Either you kept your drive in the cradle between mounds or you're in the trees. The green is a bowl with mounds all around.
No. 13: This is a tricky par 3. You hit to an elevated green from an elevated tee. Five daylight-barely-penetrates pot bunkers ring the green, so you could go from one to another if you're not careful. Hit the green or else.
No. 14: An interesting par 4 that requires a drive of exact length on the dogleg right to set up a short iron to the wide but shallow green. It sits below a fairway interruption and next to a waste area.
No. 15: The par 3 requires a descent to a large, offset green with large bunkers below it on the left. There's plenty of green to work with at 36 yards.
No. 16: The par 5 -- the only one on the back -- bends left. Approach from the right to avoid a large oak at the green. There aren't bunkers at the smallish green, but shaved sides and collection areas, so stick it on the green.
No. 17: On this short par 4, the objective is to land your drive up and over a ridge in the fairway. Anything off the left side will roll into the woods, so don't do that. It's an open, crowned green and your last chance at an easy hole.
No. 18: This par 4 throws a lot at you. There is a marsh carry from the tees and a severe drop-off that creeps into the landing area from the right. Go for the middle of the fairway and give yourself enough power to land the ball on the sharply elevated green. Par is excellent on this finishing hole.
March 9, 2011