A villa patio in the Turnberry section along the tenth fairway of the Fazio Course at Palmetto Dunes is perfect for watching the golf zoo – players that is, raking bunkers, whiffing balls, and rules gone wild. It can make you feel pretty good about your own game and at the end of the day ball shopping in your yard is an added bonus.

Three courses make Palmetto Dunes the Hilton Head haven for golfers. Combined activities make it THE spot for virtually anyone to vacation. Biking is a big deal here. If in a quandary over whether to bike or golf, you can do both at the same time with the new Golf Bike. It’s a breeze, literally. Slide your clubs into the single slots behind the seat and ride the course with the wind. Hit and pedal directly to your ball, taking in the open views along the way. We loved them so much we now have our own.

Palmetto Dunes’ Arthur Hills course is a wonderful start, built on old sand dunes with sleeper ponds hidden from view. Gators may also appear sleeping but will wake you up. An old water tower anchors the challenging layout. Wooden bridges connect fairways over waterways throughout all the courses. Watch for kayakers paddling by on the resort’s 11-mile inland salt-water lagoon system and try it yourself for a fish eye view of the courses. The Outfitters on property is the place to rent kayaks as well as island bikes. (Golf bikes are ready right at each course.)

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Robert Trent Jones Golf Course is the most popular public course on the island, with no gated access. Bobby Jones’ design is very generous from the forward tee positions, perhaps because he plays them himself or at least he did with us in Puerto Rico on his Bahia Beach design. Number 10 concludes ocean side and number 18 finishes at Big Jim’s Restaurant adjoining the clubhouse serving a yummy variety of food and drinks. 

Bird Island is the busy and beautiful centerpiece on the George Fazio course with the waterways strewn in every direction. A large variety of happy feathered nesters on the island entertain empty nesting human golfers during their rounds.

The golf team is very accommodating and experienced at Palmetto Dunes. Clark Sinclair, the Director of Golf began as a cart boy 32 years ago. Fun is a main goal here, hence the Golf Bike.

The fun factor permeates all 2,000 acres of Palmetto Dunes Resort with 25 USTA sanctioned tennis courts and three miles of sandy beachfront for strolling, bodysurfing and dolphin watching. Island exploration caps off the Hilton Head experience with the Mediterranean-style Shelter Cove Harbour, a deep-water marina across the way. There, ELA’s Blu Water Grille has a balcony view of water activities including the water jet pack, ala Jetson’s cartoon style. The Atlantic Swordfish with lemon caper butter and wilted arugula on the lunch menu is a big hit.

Three seasons and no true winter is why generations of families and golf buddies venture annually to Hilton Head. Many retirees make it their home. Palmetto Dunes with homey accommodations is regularly named one of the “World’s Top-25 Family Getaways” by Travel + Leisure Family magazine, among others. Fly into Savannah or Charleston.