RBC Heritage

The end of a (plaid) era: Hilton Head lighthouse’s red stripes return after Heritage

Peeling the plaid to re-reveal Hilton Head’s candy cane lighthouse

A crew from Charlotte, N.C. based Who Did That!?! remove the plaid decal from Harbour Town Lighthouse on Hilton Head Island.
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A crew from Charlotte, N.C. based Who Did That!?! remove the plaid decal from Harbour Town Lighthouse on Hilton Head Island.

The iconic Harbour Town lighthouse is no longer sporting its RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing plaid stripes.

On Wednesday, crews removed the vinyl from the lighthouse’s stucco walls, bringing the plain candy-red stripes back to Sea Pines’ Harbour Town.

The lighthouse got its new look in February 2018 when RBC Heritage officials began to prepare for the 50-day countdown to the tournament.

Originally, the plaid stripes were supposed to come off the lighthouse shortly after the tournament finished, but Steve Wilmot, the president of the Heritage Classic Foundation, said visitors to Sea Pines liked the look so much that the foundation announced in June that the lighthouse would remain plaid through the 2019 tournament.

“It’s a symbol for this community, but it also ties into the economic impact of the tournament,” Wilmot said in September of the plaid stripes, which represent the event that brought 135,000 spectators to the island in 2018.

The lighthouse and RBC Heritage are credited with putting Hilton Head on the map in 1969 when Arnold Palmer — the winner of the first RBC Heritage tournament — was pictured with the trophy and the skeletal frame of the Harbour Town lighthouse in the background.

The lighthouse was completed after the tournament.

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Arnold Palmer wins the first Heritage in this file photo from 1969. Heritage Classic Foundation

The plaid print was applied by a “heat and roll” technique, which attached 3,400 square feet of vinyl decals to the stucco walls of the lighthouse, Jeremy Conner — the owner of the company that applied it — told The Island Packet in 2018.

Two certified installers worked together to apply the vinyl to the lighthouse, which was printed on vertical and horizontal panels and had to be pieced together to cover the red stripes, Conner said.

A job of this scale would be time-consuming no matter what, but the stucco texture of the lighthouse made it even more difficult.

“Normally it would be installed with a squeegee if the surface were smooth, but textured applications take extra attention to detail,” Conner said in 2018.

So instead of a squeegee, the installers used a blow torch and a foam roller, which Conner said allowed the vinyl to take on the texture of the lighthouse.

It took about 30 hours last year to cover all eight sides of the lighthouse’s red stripes.

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RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing commemorated the first round of the 2018 PGA Tour tournament with a new look for the Harbour Town Lighthouse. RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing PGA Tour golf tournament Facebook page

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Katherine Kokal moved to South Carolina in 2018 after graduating from the University of Missouri and loves everything about the Lowcountry that isn’t a Palmetto Bug. She has won South Carolina Press Association awards for in-depth and government beat reporting. On the weekends, you can find Kati doing yoga and hiking Pinckney Island.

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