Each spring, during the Heritage Classic golf tournament on Hilton Head Island, a truly worldwide TV audience is treated to hours of real-time video postcard views of America’s favorite vacation island. The CBS television crews know our Harbour Town Golf links so well that they tell us it’s like returning to a family vacation home. The climax of this global TV experience takes place right at our doorstep, here at the Harbour Town Lighthouse.
Not only has our lighthouse stood witness to every Heritage Classic since the original was won by Arnold Palmer more than 50 years ago, but we also serve as a visual anchor of that signature shot, when the tournament so often comes down to a close-run contest on the 18th green.
Among the vast TV audience are many who don’t realize that this is just one of three Sea Pines Golf Courses that fortunate people enjoy practically every day. In addition to the Harbour Town Golf Links, which were designed by Pete Dye, with Jack Nicklaus consulting, Harbour Town Lighthouse visitors know that Sea Pines also offers Heron Point, by Pete Dye, and Atlantic Dunes, by Davis Love III.
The Very Spot Where Golf Island was Born
When Sea Pines founder Charles Fraser presented the first Heritage Classic trophy to Arnold Palmer, we were standing there in the background, not quite dressed for the occasion. You see, the priority was placed on completing the clubhouse, and as a result our landmark lighthouse was framed, and topped-out, but the signature striped outer walls were not yet in place. Photos of that first trophy presentation are like the “baby pictures” of the Harbour Town Lighthouse.
Blending the Sea Pines golf courses with the renowned yacht basin at the foot of the lighthouse, a bouquet of tennis courts that include the site of famous championships, a pier for boating excursions that turn couples into dolphin discoverers and children into intrepid pirates, and a collection of shops and amenities that combine elegance with convenience, the founders here at Sea Pines had a vision that extended well beyond the pleasures of the Sea Pines golf courses. The wholeness of life that surrounds the golfers who come to Hilton Head Island, and the enjoyment that their loved ones experience too, were built into the dream, the vision that became America’s favorite island.
The Style of the Sea Pines Golf Courses
The sport tends to give the appearance of taking place in a world all its own. Even on the Sea Pines golf courses, golf has its own attire, and that apparel has recently taken on a more athletic and less madcap style, as you can see in the Shoppe at the Top, here atop the lighthouse. Between today’s trim and appealing golf fashions, for both men and women, and the English-country-house style of the classic Bobby Jones epoch of golf in the 1920’s, there was a long era of loud trousers, and clothing that would clearly be out of place beyond the 19th hole.
The customs of golf extend well beyond the apparel. For golfers who were brought up in the game, the courtesies and traditions are second nature. The unspoken aspect of the ways of golf can be just has hard to master as a repeatable swing, for people who embark on the game as newcomers. Who goes first, what’s OK to say, where to stand as your partner takes a swing, the procedures and practices are more than just the rules of the game. Visitors and residents alike find that sense of courtesy and hospitality, every time they visit the lighthouse.
The lifestyle that ripples out from these customs and understandings can be pervasive. Friendships founded on the links translate further into the world beyond golf. Trust and familiarity grown in golf, famously finds its way into business relationships. Fathers find common ground with sons, and mothers with daughters. Couples discover time together that is more and more precious as life’s distractions take on digital rocket fuel. So, while there is no one “golf lifestyle,” there are sensibilities and priorities, rapport and relations, that carry on beyond, reflect the ways of the Sea Pines golf courses, and inspire a cordial atmosphere that brings visitors back to Hilton Head Island at rates unseen in other resort communities. That atmosphere makes residents out of many of those visitors. In fact, most of our neighbors began that way.
Here at the Harbour Town Lighthouse, you’ll find a carefully curated collection of keepsakes for remembering your time here, enjoying this lifestyle to the fullest. Placing the lighthouse at the very spot where the dream of this world-class resort first took shape was just one of the examples of visionary inspiration that makes Sea Pines unforgettable for many, and home for a fortunate few.
What Makes the Lighthouse Unique
The moment that one is tempted to see Sea Pines as a kind of Park Avenue for Hilton Head Island, you notice that convenience and cordiality are as much a part of the design as elegance. The founders were focused far beyond the Sea Pines golf courses, to the lifestyle that they would play a part in inspiring. Giving a sense of place, a focus to this inspiration is very much a goal of the lighthouse.
Here at the Harbour Town Lighthouse, Sea Pines residents and guests and visitors recharge their sense of what Hilton Head Island is all about. From our island’s history and heritage to the hospitality of this very minute, an inspired ideal of gracious living, in the arms of Nature, and containing the courtesies of culture and community, all that richness is symbolized and experienced right here at the Harbour Town Lighthouse, just as the founders envisioned it.