Harbour Town could be down for a while, but some golf, tennis facilities open again

Two Sea Pines golf courses appear to be on their way to recovery from hurricane

Repairs after Hurricane Matthew at the Plantation Golf Club in Sea Pines, home of the Heron Point and Ocean Dunes courses, progress on October 14, 2016.
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Repairs after Hurricane Matthew at the Plantation Golf Club in Sea Pines, home of the Heron Point and Ocean Dunes courses, progress on October 14, 2016.

The new Atlantic Dunes golf course got three days of play before Hurricane Matthew stormed in. Now it needs more dunes.

And Harbour Town Golf Links will need to clear about 800 trees.

For some of Hilton Head Island’s best-loved golf courses, it could take a few weeks to get fully up and running. Nonetheless, options do exist for those who have a yearning to get out on the fairways.

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Bluffton’s Pinecrest Golf Club and Island West Golf Club, both operated by Brown Golf Management, were the first to reopen on Thursday. “They’re clean as a whistle,” said John Brown, CEO of Brown Golf.

Two other clubs the company’s portfolio, Eagle’s Pointe and Rose Hill, also opened over the weekend. All were offering discounts of at least $10 off their usual October rates.

In northern Beaufort County, The Legends at Parris Island and The Golf Club at Pleasant Point Plantation opened by the weekend, though Pleasant Point only had 16 holes available while the final two needed extra time to drain. Lady’s Island Country Club and The Sanctuary at Cat Island were open for play on their front nines, though getting the back nines restored could take an additional week.

At dozens of courses and tennis courts across Beaufort County, crews continued to work feverishly to clear up the damage left nearly a week ago by Matthew’s fury. For some, that process figures to take several more days. Or many beyond that.

With so many tennis centers still closed or with limited courts open, U.S. Tennis Association officials postponed the Combo Doubles Championships that had matches scattered among 13 facilities. No new date was announced, though a post on the tournament website said officials were committed to keeping the event on Hilton Head Island if possible.

Palmetto Dunes, with the island’s largest tennis center in addition to three golf courses, was still assessing damage around the resort Friday. It will be next week until officials there know when golf and tennis amenities will be open again.

The South Beach Racquet Club reported two courts open for play, while the Van Der Meer Racquet Club and Hilton Head Island Beach & Tennis Club prepared for a Monday opening.

It will be a long time before Fripp Island’s Ocean Point golf course is open again. Six holes were completely submerged in water, and it might have been the most severely damaged of Beaufort County’s courses. The 18th hole was covered with sand and will have to be completely rebuilt.

Fripp Island's Ocean Point

Sea Pines Plantation Club

18th green at Harbour Town Golf Links

“Ocean Point got hit pretty hard,” said Nolan Dorner, an assistant pro at the resort. “They’re saying three months (recovery time). They got hit a lot harder than here at Ocean Creek.”

Ocean Creek, the resort’s other layout, is likely to be open again in a week.

Harbour Town and the other Sea Pines courses are also in for lengthy closures.

“Right now, we’re saying we’re closed until the end of the month,” said Cary Corbitt, vice president for sports and operations at Sea Pines Resort, where Harbour Town hosts the PGA Tour’s annual visit and is Hilton Head Island’s best known outpost.

Crews need to remove some 1,500 trees from Sea Pines’ trio of courses, which also includes Heron Point and the Atlantic Dunes, a course known as the Ocean Course before its recent remodel by Davis Love III’s design company. The latter two courses also took on more flooding than Harbour Town.

“Probably 60 percent of the (downed) trees are at Harbour Town,” Corbitt said. “Atlantic Dunes and Heron Point took the worst hit with water and flooding and salt intrusion.”

About 60 percent of the bunkers at Atlantic Dunes will have to be rebuilt. The course opened for play Oct. 3, and Love was to attend a formal opening Oct. 9, the day after Matthew blew through. The course also lost the huge dune that separates the 15th green from the Atlantic Ocean, along with several smaller dunes around the course.

Corbitt expressed hope that when Hilton Head Island’s beach renourishment continues, the resort can get the company performing the work to stay an extra day or two. “We have high tides coming in with the full moon,” he said, “and we need our dunes.”

Instead of attending the Atlantic Dunes opening, Love spent last weekend at home in St. Simons Island, Ga., helping his own neighbors remove felled trees.

Sea Pines’ tennis center is expected to open around the middle of next week, Corbitt said. The marina’s fuel dock “is serviceable,” he said, but the rest of the marina will need to be rebuilt.

Brown Golf, meantime, also is dealing with significant damage on its newest acquisition. The company closed on the purchase of Palmetto Hall’s two courses Sept. 30, and found themselves trying to cut paths through both the Arthur Hills and Robert Cupp layouts a week later.

“Palmetto Hall is just devastated,” Brown said, noting that tornadoes also touched down on those courses. “If we get it up and on line in two months, we’ve done a yeoman’s job. There’s just that much destruction.”

Dolphin Head, Brown’s third course on the island, is probably a month away from reopening, he said.

Jeff Shain: 843-706-8123, @jeffshain

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After the road to Harbour Town in Sea Pines was finally cleared of debris on Monday, Oct. 10, 2016, the Island Packet took a tour around the yacht basin with CSA president Bret Martin.

Golf and tennis status

We’re compling a list of closures and reopenings for Beaufort County golf courses and tennis clubs. If you operate a club and would like to add your information to the list, call reporter Jeff Shain at 843-706-8123 or email

Golf courses

Hilton Head Island

Sea Pines: All three courses closed until Nov. 21.

Palmetto Dunes: All three courses closed until at least late November.

Palmetto Hall: Both courses closed until mid-November.

Dolphin Head: Closed until early November.

Port Royal: All three courses closed until early November; Robber’s Row likely first to return.

Oyster Reef: Closed until next week, with hopes of opening nine holes Oct. 25.

Shipyard: All three courses closed until next week; work ongoing get Clipper nine open by Oct. 29.

GC at Indigo Run: Recorded message states course is closed until further notice.

Golden Bear GC/Indigo Run: Closed until Nov. 1.

CC of Hilton Head: Closed the rest of October.

First Tee of the Lowcountry: Practice range and lesson tee are open.


Pinecrest GC: Open.

Island West GC: Open.

Eagle's Pointe GC: Open.

Rose Hill GC: Open.

Crescent Point: Closed until at least Monday; still removing fallen trees near the waterfront.

Old South Golf Links: Open.

Hilton Head National: Closed until at least Friday.

Argent Lakes GC: Open.

Hidden Cypress GC: Open.

Okatie Creek GC: Open.

GC at Hilton Head Lakes: Front nine open; working to open back nine early next week.

Oldfield Club: Recorded message states course is closed until further notice.

Beaufort/North of Broad

The Legends at Parris Island: Open.

TGC at Pleasant Point Plantation: All 18 holes now open.

Lady’s Island CC: Front nine open. Back nine still removing trees, no timetable to open.

Sanctuary at Cat Island: Front nine open. Back nine still removing debris, no timetable to open.

Fripp Island: Ocean Creek seeks to open next weekend. Ocean Point likely closed until year’s end to rebuild from severe flooding.

Tennis centers

Hilton Head Island

Palmetto Dunes: Open.

Van der Meer Shipyard: Open.

Sea Pines Racquet Club: Open.

South Beach Racquet Club: Eight courts open, four pending.

HHI Beach & Tennis Resort: Six courts open, four pending.

Port Royal Racquet Club: Closed indefinitely. Courts received significant damage from some 50 trees falling on the property.

Chaplin Park: Closed until further notice.


Rose Hill (Low Country): Open.

Bluffton Recreation Center: Closed until further notice.

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