Road to Augusta Proves Spring Really is Here to Stay
This week, and weekend, might be the most fun we golf lovers will have playing golf on Hilton Head Island, the Golf Island.
The weather is consistently warm, certainly warmer than it is for many of you around the country. Our azeleas are competitive with those you’ll see next week on TV from Augusta (ours are usually about a week ahead of theirs in blooming). And many of our playing guests are the same folk who’ll be watching from Amen Corner next week. It’s the week they sneak in to begin their spring, play for a few days here, before they meander up to Augusta National to watch the ode to spring that is the Masters, and before the pros return to the plaid party we call Heritage Week.
The RBC Heritage hasn’t always been the week after the Masters, but the two have been tied together like peanut butter and jelly nearly every year since 1983. A former Masters champ, who fits the profile of a Lowcountry golfer to a tee, Fuzzy Zoeller, won the first Heritage held the week right after Augusta. Now-CBS commentator Nick Faldo won the next year, before winning the first of his three green jackets. The next year, another Hall of Famer, Bernhard Langer, became the first, and still only player to win at Augusta and Harbour Town in back-to-back weeks.
So yes, we’ve had our share of Masters champions play here in the Lowcountry, some have even lent their design talents to our most masterful layouts. Nicklaus at Harbour Town, Palmer at Sea Pines Country Club and Crescent Point, Gary Player at Hilton Head National, Fuzzy at Island West have all left their indelible mark on the Golf Island. Most recently, Jordan Spieth honored a commitment to play after his 2015 Masters win and shot a 62 on Friday (he eventually finished 11th) while entertaining his housemates that week by dealing their nightly card games in his green jacket.
We can do that (the card dealing in a green jacket, maybe not the 62), this week or any week on the Golf Island. And many will before Harbour Town closes on Masters Monday, to let our divots heal before the ‘big show’ comes to the Golf Island. The rest of the Lowcountry’s best, from Palmetto Dunes to the Heritage Group courses, Palmetto Hall and Old South just across the bridge are at their peak of playability, before Masters week, during, and after. Spring has indeed sprung.
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By Bob Stevens
Next to Captain William Hilton himself, Charles Fraser might be the most important name in the history of Hilton Head Island.
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