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  • Writer's pictureDooner

Haig Point | Hilton Head's True Island Golf Experience

The most oft asked question on the Carolinas section of the Broken Tee Society Discord message board goes something like this...

I'm visiting Hilton Head Island/Pinehurst/Myrtle Beach soon and have time for a round or two. Where should I play?

As it relates to Pinehurst or Myrtle, our affinity for Mike Strantz courses makes it an easy point from our direction. When it comes to Hilton Head Island, we tend to focus on the "ISLAND" part, but maybe not in the way you'd expect.


After all, Hilton Head Island is the largest barrier island on the East Coast (no, Long Island doesn't count). With the access US 278 provides to its nearly 2.5 million annual visitors, it's sometimes doesn't feel much like an island. With 20 courses on HHI alone and nearly 50 courses in total, you have plenty of options from which to choose depending on your location through the greater Hilton Head/Bluffton region and your budget.

Damn we were young.

Ah yes... Budget.


In much the same way Pinehurst Number Two draws the eye in the Sandhills of NC, Harbour Town is HHI's pillar that nearly every golfer that visits feels like they have to play at some point in their lives. Who would blame them? Not us. We did it about 15 years ago. It was a memorable experience for sure, but at $200 (at the time), it was FAR and away the most either one of us had ever spent on a singular golf round (still is in fact). It was also mid-July, so that means about 98 degrees with 7000% humidity.


About the time we took that photo, the horns sounded due the impending doom that was barreling down on us from the West. We played the 18th as fast as humanly possible and thankfully did not die.


harbour town, hilton head, green fee
Are you booking this tee time?

However, if you were offered that price today, you'd be getting about a 65% discount. As of this writing (May '24), you're now looking at $576.90 after tax to be able to say you played the course you see on TV every April the week after The Masters. Lunch not included.


No thank you. No thank you very much.


So if not Harbour Town, where should you go? Unless you didn't read the title of this story, our choice is as easy as it is unique and unconventional.


If you haven't heard of it, please allow us to introduce you to Haig Point on Daufuskie Island!

Haig Point, island green, rees jones, daufuskie island, hilton head
Haig (Exclamation) Point

Ladies and gentlemen, this is not just a round of golf either. Book the whole day. You're going to need it all to make the most of this experience!


google maps, hilton head island, daufuskie island, haig point
click to enlarge any photo in this story

First, when we say in the title that its Hilton Head's true island experience, we mean it. As in, it is not on Hilton Head Island. Its on Daufuskie Island. And no, US 278 doesn't extend over there. In fact, no roads do.

Hilton Head Island has about 40,000 year-round residents to host the aforementioned tourist crowd.


Daufuskie Island population at the 2020 Census: 557


Unless you're Doc Brown, that means you're going to need to take a boat to get there. We did say 'experience' right? Have you ever taken a nautical conveyance to play golf? Some have, most won't experience that thrill. You can at Haig Point. Cool factor enhanced.


After you park at the Haig Point Embarkation Center, you're clubs get checked just like they do at the airport. Except instead of luggage, they'll more likely be riding next to someone's groceries! You'll then walk down the pier that extends out into Broad Creek under the shadow of the Cross Island Parkway Bridge.


As boarding calls go, they will make the call for guests and residents. That's your queue to come aboard the Ferry for your scenic thirty minute journey down the Intracoastal Waterway, past the Harbour Town Lighthouse and across the Calibogue Sound.


Haig Point, Welcome center
Welcome to Haig Point!

Next, you make landfall on Daufuskie Island. Your clubs are unloaded for you and you're greeted by Haig Point personnel to take you via private shuttle over to the clubhouse. It's a quick ride in a sprinter van, but it's not one you're going to want to walk!


If you're heading over first thing in the morning, make sure you fuel up with a breakfast sandwich at the clubhouse grill.

If you sit outside to take in the view, be sure to climb up to the balcony via the dual wrapped plantation-style staircases that frame the dining area.

Caution: Dinosaurs are closer than they appear!

When you're ready to think about golf again, a full, double-sided range awaits for you to recover if your sea legs are still a little wobbly.


Cruise back by the tennis center to roll a few putts on the expansive practice green before you tee it up on your first of as many as 29 holes for the day.


Wait...Twenty-nine holes?

Yes, that's correct.

The main course, aka The Signature Course, cards 20 holes if you play them all.


Both nines have an extra par-3 you can choose as your penultimate hole on each side. On the 'Haig Course' routing, those holes play within the island's "mainland", while on the 'Calibogue Course', there are two entirely different holes beyond the Haig routing that play to island greens out past the marshes!


When the course isn't full - which is practically always thanks to its private and secluded island nature - you can play both sets of one-shotters to make it an even twenty.

Haig Point, Osprey, hilton head, daufuskie island, rees jones, golf
The Osprey Course isn't at the level of the Signature Course, but with holes like this it is certainly worth the time!

A second course, the full nine hole 'Osprey Course', winds through the maritime forest with Live Oaks draped in Spanish Moss, alligator filled ponds, beautiful homes and the club's equestrian center. Depending on the time of day, you might have a gallery on the 7th tee!


equestrian, haig point, horses, tee box, daufuskie island, hilton head, golf course
An equine gallery may show up in the evenings to watch tee shots on #7 Osprey!

Ok, so you might be asking, "did you just say its private?" Yes we did. We'll get around that in a minute. Keep reading.


The highest point above sea level on Hilton Head Island is about ten feet. Pete Dye has been known to mound up dirt from time to time, but Harbour Town really predated his fixation with that practice. If you're a fan of that style, aim for an invite to Colleton River Club, a 42-hole club on the mainland side of the bridge in Bluffton.


The Colleton River Dye Course features that feature in spades, including the volcanic looking 'Mt. Dye' on its 9th hole. It was also featured prominently as the match course in The Legend of Bagger Vance.

Haig Point, rees jones, hilton head, daufuskie island, golf course, golf trip, par 3, calibogue sound
The Par-3 5th gives you your first taste of the BIG WATER views Haig Points affords all throughout its clever routing

Yet, on the 5th hole at Haig Point - a breathtaking par-3 that plays slightly uphill and out to the Calibogue Sound - features a green that is perched 20 feet immediately above the Sound below. You're also greeted with an incredible 180+ degree view, complete with your first glimpse of the Harbour Town Lighthouse staring at you less than 1.5 nautical miles away.


flagstick, golf flag, harbour town, lighthouse, calibogue sound, hilton head, haig point
The #5 Flag featuring the lighthouse logo of Haig Point and the Harbour Town lighthouse across the Sound.

You also get views of the lighthouse from as many as EIGHT holes! That's better than the couple you get on it's own course! In the same vein, Sea Pines Resort has 54 holes in total, yet from only three can you see big water (holes 17 & 18 at Harbour Town and the 15th at Davis Love III's Atlantic Dunes).


If you squint, Haig Point has ELEVEN holes with big water views and EIGHT where your ball can land in saltwater.


And a word to the wise for the golf architecture nerd crowd (of which we are members so it's ok for us to say that): if you're a Rees Jones hater, get over it for a day. This place is too good to write-off because of it (we've admittedly done it in the past).


If you need an off-season destination with green grass, this place is your jam! All of the photos you see here were taken in JANUARY! That's right, wall-to-wall over-seeded cool season grasses here on the Signature Course (the Osprey Course is still Bermudagrass that does go dormant even here in the warmer coastal climates). Amazing to see and play on that time of year!


Alright, let's get back to the private/public issue. How can you play it?


Simple, they do a 'member for a day' program. It's limited by the day to ensure a great experience for members and guests alike. You can call them or fill out this form on their website to request the day you'd like. Unlike most 'discovery packages' however, this one doesn't come with the mandatory real-estate hustle.


It's just golf, baby! And it's glorious!

So how much does it cost? It likely varies by season, but we've heard $350 is the prevailing rate recently. Yeah, that's a lot for a round. But if you trust us - if you've been here before we hope that means you do, but if it's your first time here - we'll stick our neck on the line for this comparison...


Remember that $200 round we each spent to PLAY Harbour Town? We feel like that was the most gratuitous overpay of our golfing careers. HT is a really, really good golf course, but its fame inflates the price tag.


The Golf Clubhouse - 1 of 4 clubhouses at Haig Point

We feel like the $300-$350 range you'll spend to EXPERIENCE Haig Point is one of the best bargains in destination golf. Yep, it is very hard to type 'bargain' and '$300+' in the same sentence about golf. Think about it though: golf, ferry ride, experience, exclusivity. All those things have a value. Just do it. Trust us. It's a story we tell anyone who will listen. The ones brave enough to head the advice all come back with the same three (sometimes four) words...


"(WOW!) You. Were. Right."


Now, the roster of people who have taken this advice on this course is not very deep... Yet!


Admittedly, we wrote this story because we grew wary of retyping the same recommendation every few weeks on the BTS Discord. Hopefully, even more - yourself included - will now benefit from our ridiculously great experience at Haig Point, the Hilton Head region's true island golf experience. If you go, let us know if we were right!


Sincerely Fores,

Your Golf Crusade


haig point, hilton head, daufuskie island, rees jones, golf course, lowcountry
The 14th Green, 15th tee (left) and mouth to the Atlantic. Hilton Head Island sits across Calibogue Sound in the upper left corner

P.S. Make sure if you're out on the town the night before, you enjoy in moderation.


Brian Gilreath
Hi, I'm Brian and I'm about to get roasted.

Crusaders, meet Brian.


He was my (Dooner) roommate in college. He's a loud fellow with A LOT of energy. I love him like a Brother. Brian's also a man child; definitely the type to photoshop your face onto other pictures and post them on social media, play his guitar til' 2am or prank call you in the middle of the night. All just because. And yes, he's done all those things to me.


He's also the type of guy who makes the classic guys' golf trip mistake of going too hard on night one when you have the early tee time (or boat ride) on day two. He also must have forgotten who had their own website on which he could post these photos so they could live on in perpetuity...



Compare Day 1 Brian with Day 2 Morning Brian and finally Day 2 Evening Brian...


Good job buddy!


Enjoy some more of the best of our Day on Daufuskie below before you go!


SIGNATURE COURSE


OSPREY COURSE



HAIG POINT CLUB


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