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3015-Golf-AudubonFrom the turf to the register, making it green is the primary concern of golf course operators across the country, including those here in the nature-rich South Carolina Lowcountry. Yet for many right-minded pros, superintendents and owners in Hilton Head and Bluffton, going “green” is equally important to growing and succeeding when it comes to managing a responsible golf course operation.



For more than five decades, Hilton Head Island and the surrounding Lowcountry area have been sharpening their reputations as the finest golf destinations not only on the East Coast, but also around the globe.

When the sun is shining and refreshing winds are blowing during the spring and fall, that designation is difficult to argue with. Even when the temperature is turned up in the summer months, southern Beaufort County’s acclaimed courses are full of vacationing golfers beating the heat by playing in the early morning or late afternoon.

First-Tee-LowcountryFirst Tee of the Lowcountry introduces kids to golf through educational programs

Golf needs an influx of new participants who could provide positive forward momentum for the sport. Children need a safe and welcoming environment to play, exposure to positive social and life skills and time spent exercising outside instead of playing online inside.

While it seems like a perfect match of needs and benefits, for a number of reasons golf and juniors haven’t connected the way one might think they should. Chief among those reasons has been a lack of exposure and affordable access to the game for middleclass and less-advantaged children, who have tended to flock more to traditional team sports such as football and soccer that are easier to play and pay for.

htglCourseMapHarbour Town Golf Links is one of the most distinguished golf courses on the PGA Tour. It is consistently ranked among top courses in the world by publications such as Golf Digest, Golfweek and Travel & Leisure magazine. Here is a hole-by-hole description of the course, which has hosted the Heritage since 1969.

11 Lighthouse Lane, Hilton Head Island
Par: 36/35 — 71
Yardage: 3540/3561 — 7101

Photo by Arno Dimmling


Since his 2011 purchase of Pinecrest Golf Club and subsequent acquisition of Is land West soon thereafter, John Brown has made an indelible mark on the Hilton Head/Bluffton golf industry in a very short period of time.

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His most recent move, however, has absolutely changed the landscape of golf membership in the region. Brown, the co-founder and president of Brown Golf Management, assumed ownership of popular Bluffton sister courses Eagle’s Pointe and Crescent Pointe on Aug. 1 through a venture-capitalist partnership, greatly increasing the company’s profile in the region’s vital golf industry.

In fact, not only does the purchase create a foursome of Lowcountry layouts to offer its growing membership base and its daily-fee players, it makes Brown Golf the second largest golf course operator in the Hilton Head region behind only Heritage Golf, which has six island facilities.

Lead instructor Hank Haney has parted ways with the International Junior Golf Academy and has been replaced by Kevin Smeltz. Haney, the former swing coach of Tiger Woods, has been affiliated with the academy since 2007. The academy features a staff of golf instructors, mental trainers, college placement advisors and fitness coaches who train nearly 150 junior golfers from more than 25 countries across six continents. Smeltz was an instructor at The David Leadbetter Academy and has worked with many professional golfers including Camilo Villegas, D.A. Points and Charles Howell III. The Greenville native will be based in Hilton Head when not traveling to work with professionals on tour. A common complaint students made about Haney was the lack of time he spent at the academy.

Beaufort native Mark Anderson finished eighth on the Web.com Tour earnings list after the final event of the season, earning his PGA Tour card for 2013-14. The top 25 players on the developmental Web.com Tour earn PGA Tour playing privileges. The University of South Carolina graduate has made 29 career starts on the PGA Tour. His best finish was T9 at the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic in 2012. Anderson joined the Web.com Tour in 2010. In his rookie year, he recorded three Top 10 finishes. In 2011, he had four Top 10s and earned his PGA Tour card for 2012. He failed to make the top 200 in the FedEx Cup standings, losing his card for 2013.


golfMany look at the tremendously popular sport of golf and perceive only a needless drain on the economy, with money uselessly spent on maintenance and development of courses. Experience Green recognizes this idea as a common misconception. They understand that, in reality, the golfing industry provides green habitat for wildlife, increases neighboring property value, and offers members of the nearby community opportunities to grow closer together.

DOUG-WEAVERI hit my drive into the Palmetto trees. As you can see, I have two options. One is a clear path to the fairway to the right of the trees. The second option is a gap between the trees that I must keep it low, straight and it requires that I fly the ball over the rough an extra 50 yards. I must consider the risk/reward.

The first option has little risk, however, I will have a 180-yard 5 iron into the green. The second option of going through the gap has high risk. If I am successful, I will only have a 100 sand wedge to the green. Which do I take?

Johnny Miller, winner of the 1973 Heritage and the 1973 U.S. Open used to live in Palmetto Dunes Resort. He was known for practicing in the trees so he could develop trajectory control and shape the shots to fade and draw.

alicecSpend the last of summer with shock rocker Alice Cooper

Break out the boa constrictors, put on your favorite straitjacket and have a seat in an electric chair. Alice Cooper, the notorious Godfather of Shock Rock, is coming to Hilton Head for the 2013 Celebrity Golf Tournament.

The popular event, which takes place every Labor Day weekend, matches amateur golfers with sports and entertainment celebrities such as actor Alan Thicke, Food Network star Robert Irvine and actor Brian Baumgartner, better known as Kevin from The Office.