The Itinerant Golfer

The Itinerant Golfer's Take on Sea Pines Resort (Ocean)

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina | Sea Pines Resort (Ocean)

Architect: Mark McCumber
Year: 1995

100 North Sea Pines Drive , Hilton Head Island, South Carolina 29928
(800) 732-7463

driving range available
motorized golf carts available
affiliated resort accommodations

My family vacation kicked off with a round of golf at Sea Pines Resort’s Ocean Course. Not to be confused with Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course, Sea Pines Ocean Course is about two and a half hours south on Hilton Head Island and is one of the sister courses to Sea Pines Harbour Town Golf Links where the RBC Heritage is held the week after The Masters each year. From 2003 through 2007 I went to Hilton Head Island every November with a couple of friends for a little golf getaway. On one of those trips we had played Sea Pines’ Ocean Course but it had been so long ago that I didn’t really remember much about the course and I was anxious to give it another look.

Something I didn’t know is that the Ocean Course was actually the first golf course on Hilton Head Island. In 1995 it was completely rebuilt and overhauled by Mark McCumber. The name is a little misleading because only one hole is actually on the ocean, but then again, there are only two golf holes on the entire island that are oceanfront, so I suppose the nomenclature is fair.

The course starts off with a shortish 359 yard par 4 with a dogleg left. Below is a look at 1st green.
Sea Pines Ocean Course
Being located on an island means that the terrain is mostly flat and the course is routed around a series of lagoons. Below is a photo of the 3rd hole which is a par 3 that we played from 162 yards.
Sea Pines Ocean Course
The 10th hole is a sharp dogleg right that has an interesting feature in the landing zone. the bunker below is where I found my ball after what I thought was an excellent tee shot. A little local knowledge would have been a big help. Too bad I didn’t remember this bunker from the first time I played here!
Sea Pines Ocean Course
As is the norm for many of the courses on Hilton Head Island there are houses bordering the course in a lot of areas. The photo below is of the one shot 147 yard 11th hole. There is a house in the background and several along the right hand side of this hole that are marked with white out of bounds stakes. I remember this well because after playing the first 10 holes in 4 over par I proceeded to dead shank three balls right out of bounds on this hole. Ouch!!!
Sea Pines Ocean Course
Below we have one of the two oceanfront holes on the island. This one is a 190 yard par 3 that plays dead into the wind. Luckily it wasn’t blowing too badly and I only had to hit a 200 yard shot into the green. Note the steps behind the green where players can go get a look at the Atlantic after playing the hole.
Sea Pines Ocean Course
Below is a photo of the 17th green which is a long par 4 we played from 430 yards. It’s a tough hole that played into the wind when we were there and felt like it was much longer than advertised.
Sea Pines Ocean Course
Amazingly, we finished the round in just over four hours which which I found to be amazingly quick for a resort course at this time of year. My overall impression of the course was that it was fun, relatively easy and basically what you would expect for a resort course built on flat land. The fairways were generous and the greens running at a very manageable speed which made the course play very friendly for scoring . . . as long as you don’t shank three balls out of bounds on a short par 3. I’d still love to know what what was going on there!! If you’re going to Sea Pines to play Harbour Town the resort offer packages that include a round of golf on the Sea Pines Ocean Course for a pretty favorable rate . . . just be prepared that the only ocean you will see is from the top of the stairs behind the 15th green.