Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Ohio to Hilton Head Just Got A Lot Easier

Palmetto Dunes
Calling All Ohio Golfers

First the upstart Ohio State Buckeyes win the inaugural College Football Playoff using their third string quarterback, and now this …

Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air is offering three new routes to Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) from cities in the Buckeye State. The Cincinnati to Savannah flights began May 8 with the touchdown of Flight 656.

Plantation Golf Club
Flights from Akron/Canton start May 21 and end Aug. 15, while those from Columbus begin June 4 and will be available through Aug. 16. The Cincinnati route is already so popular it has been extended to Oct. 11. The route runs on Mondays and Fridays, the perfect excuse for a nearly weeklong vacation.

Why is this so important? As one bartender on-island once told us, the season begins on Hilton Head the day schools let out in Ohio. The connection is that strong.

Prior to the Allegiant service, however, the connection was also long. Cincy to Hilton Head is about a 10-hour drive with a two-club wind behind the SUV. The flight on Allegiant, on the other hand, is around 90 minutes. That nets out to two additional rounds of golf.

Here’s a sample golf itinerary to help fill that extra time:

Day One – The Allegiant flight from CVG to SAV arrives just after 11 a.m. Grab the clubs and rental car and make the 35-minute drive to Hampton Hall in Bluffton. Pete Dye designed this layout, which is private but accepts a limited amount of outside play (be sure and call ahead for availability). Often described as “Dye letting off the gas,” Hampton Hall alternates between modern Dye design elements and traditional Lowcountry detail. Tipping at over 7,500 yards, golfers are well served to keep the pedal firmly pressed.

Day Two – For groups who yearn for 36 holes a day, Hilton Head obliges with numerous multi-course resorts. Port Royal (54 holes) and Shipyard (27 holes) Plantations, part of The Heritage Golf Collection, ease players into a Lowcountry frame of mind with playable, well-conditioned offerings from Dye, George Cobb and Willard Byrd. Robber’s Row at Port Royal is a rare opportunity to play a Dye redesign, as Pete updated the course in 1994.

Day Three – With three rounds under the collective belts, it’s time to take on iconic Sea Pines Resort, home of the PGA TOUR’s RBC Heritage presented by Boeing. While famed Harbour Town Golf Links is closed this summer for re-grassing, Heron Point by Pete Dye and the island’s first course, Ocean, serve up plenty of challenge and scenery. Ocean will be renovated by Love Golf Design this fall, closing in October as Harbour Town reopens. The new Plantation Golf Club serving both courses is perfect for 19th hole reminiscing or a full-on dining experience at Live Oak.

Day Four – Few stops on Hilton Head offer as much variety as Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. The Robert Trent Jones Oceanfront Course was masterfully restored by Jones protégé Roger Rulewich and features one of only two holes on the island along the ocean. The Jones course is suitably long by today’s standards (7,005 yards) with open corridors and plenty of room off the tee. The George Fazio layout (par-70) is tighter, tree-lined and arguably one of the toughest tracks on the island tee to green. The Arthur Hills Course is quintessential Lowcountry, with live oaks, Spanish moss, natural dune lines and numerous lagoons.

Day Five – The return flight is at 11:49 a.m., but diehards could squeeze a final nine at Old South, Hilton Head National, or other Bluffton courses along Highway 278.

For more information about Hilton Head Island golf, and golf package, visit

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