Sea Pines opens new golf club to public

rlurye@islandpacket.comApril 1, 2014 

For some golfers, the new clubhouse at Sea Pines Resort will take some getting used to.

From the restaurant with panoramic course views to the locker rooms featuring plush carpets, mahogany cubbies, a TV and a shoe-shine station, the Plantation Golf Club is a departure from the old clubhouse, according to Cliff McMackin, director of resort development.

The 23,000-square-foot club, which opened March 26, offers guests the first look into a "culture change" at Sea Pines, which McMackin said aims to bring the comforts of a private club to the public.

So far, it's been well-received, locker room attendant John Werner said Tuesday.

"It's no more just hopping out of your car, finding the first available seat and dropping your shoes," Werner said. "You're going to enjoy your day here."

The $17 million clubhouse serves the Heron Point course redesigned by Pete Dye and the Ocean Course, the first golf course built on Hilton Head Island. The building also features an expanded pro shop; a 2,000-square-foot event space where several weddings have already been booked; and a separate building that houses a state-of-the-art golf learning center, McMackin said.

There, golfers can take advantage of a putting lab and two indoor hitting bays equipped with swing-analyzing technology.

"Just the magnitude of people coming in, all the property owners, it's pretty enlightening to see," Ocean Course and Heron Point staff professional Bobby Downs said. "It's great for the community and for the island as a whole."

On Thursday, the resort will hold a private grand opening for the clubhouse, which replaces the old facility demolished in November 2012 after about 40 years of use. However, the resort made sure to highlight some of that history in its new space -- handmade clay bricks from the old clubhouse were repurposed into a fireplace and accent wall in the entrance to the new club, McMackin said.

This summer, resort residents and guests will get another taste of a Sea Pines' overhaul. Despite weather delays, McMackin said, he still hopes to open the 25,000-square-foot Sea Pines Beach Club by Memorial Day.

The $12 million club, beside Marriott's Monarch, will feature five dining options, including a beach-side restaurant and beach and rooftop bars.

"It's rained twice as much as we had allotted for in the schedule, so that has provided some challenges," McMackin said. "But we're not giving up on the date yet."

Another new clubhouse is planned for Harbour Town Golf Links, where demolition is scheduled for April 21, the day after the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing ends. That $20 million project is set to be completed in time for the 2015 tournament, McMackin said.

"There's a lot of excitement right now inside Sea Pines Plantation," he said. "These improvements were a long time coming."

Follow reporter Rebecca Lurye on Twitter at

Related content:

  • New Sea Pines golf club nearing completion; beach club taking shape, December 31, 2013:
  • Sea Pines Resort unveils designs for new Harbour Town clubhouse, October 22, 2013:

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