Thanks to new road, Hilton Head National shrinks by a third
BLUFFTON, S.C. -- A new road through the heart of Hilton Head National had been discussed for more than a decade. But the end finally came in May to nine of the course's 27 holes. Beaufort County will extend Bluffton Parkway through part of the golf course, giving traffic another route to the bridges to Hilton Head Island Island.
The work eventually will claim Hilton Head National's very visible signature par 3 over a pond, but the course is maintaining it for appearances in the meantime.
Because the road didn't come as a surprise, the golf course has been preparing. Hilton Head National reseeded all of the greens on the National nine last year, which now will be known simply as "the back," matching them to the tifeagle Bermuda on the Weed nine, now known as "the front."
"We're not naming the nines any more," said Shannon Archer, general manager and director of golf at Hilton Head National. The Player nine is no longer.
"We also replaced all of the asphalt cart paths with concrete, and next we're getting new signs, score cards and yardage books."
Atop that, crews spent the winter remodeling the clubhouse, putting in new hard-wood floors, building a brand new bar and adding a pictorial history of the 20-year-old course, from the Gary Player-designed 18 to the Bobby Weed-designed nine a few years later, to the latest reincarnation of half Player, half Weed.
"But we haven't been a Player signature course for about 10 years," Archer said.
Hilton Head National also built a $700,000 maintenance building to replace the one the county took for its construction headquarters.
Archer plans to have the course resloped and rated in the fall, "But I don't expect it to change much," he said. The 18 holes currently stretch over 6,718 yards from the tips with a rating of 72.7 and a slope of 131. Three other tees then ratchet the length down to 4,682 from the front tees.
The Player nine might be gone, but what remains is a spruced-up course, with smooth cart paths, a renovated clubhouse and the same excellent service the club prides itself in. It's a happy byproduct of the area's growth.