Golf: Sea Pines

Second clubhouse planned for Harbour Town Golf Links

The Beaufort GazetteMarch 19, 2013 

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  • More information

    The AP

— Another round of major renovations is in store for Sea Pines Resort, including another clubhouse.

The second clubhouse will be at the famed Pete Dye-designed Harbour Town Golf Links, home to the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Resort officials confirmed plans Monday for an estimated $25 million in renovations, including tearing down the Harbour Town clubhouse and building a larger, modern version, along with changes to the Ocean Course and upgrading the Beach Club.

The renovations come on the heels of a $15 million investment to replace the Plantation Club that overlooks the Ocean Course and Pete Dye-designed Heron Point course, which is scheduled for completion in February.

The Harbour Town Golf Links clubhouse was built in 1969 — the same year the golf tournament began on Hilton Head — and has one of the smallest locker rooms on the PGA Tour.

During the first 31 years of the tournament, players were separated by name into the men’s and women’s locker rooms in the lobby of the clubhouse. In 2000, the players moved into a new facility, which was built along with the new conference center, but the PGA Tour said it was too small to accommodate the more than 130 players in the Heritage.

So tournament officials invested $500,000 to upgrade and widen the room, providing more space for players to talk on the phone, watch television, eat and socialize.

“We’ve made some improvements throughout the years to the clubhouse, but the locker rooms here still don’t meet the needs of the PGA Tour and its players,” said Steve Birdwell, president of Sea Pines Resort. “New space is needed to appropriately host the RBC Heritage for our new sponsors, the Tour, players and the community.”

Birdwell said resort officials envision replacing the roughly 11,000-square-foot clubhouse with an 18,000-square-foot facility with dual locker facilities for tournament players and regular guests.

The pro shop also would be expanded, along with a new pub and grill, meeting space, and ballroom to provide additional entertainment.

Plans have not yet been approved by the Town of Hilton Head Island or the Sea Pines’ Architectural Review Board, and designs are being developed, Birdwell said.

Should they be approved, Cary Corbitt, vice president of sports and operations for Sea Pines Resort, said demolition would begin after the 2014 RBC Heritage, with a new clubhouse completed in time for the following year’s tournament.

The course would remain open during construction, Corbitt said. Golf operations would move into a temporary trailer in the clubhouse parking lot, he said.

Attempts Monday to reach Bill Goodwin, the Richmond, Va.-based owner of Sea Pines Resort, and his son, Matthew, were unsuccessful. An attempt Monday night to reach tournament director Steve Wilmot was also unsuccessful.

The resort is in the process of finalizing plans to expand outdoor casual dining for guests at the Beach Club, with improvements slated to begin in fall, Birdwell said.

Changes are also slated soon for the Ocean Course to improve drainage, irrigation, cart paths and turf conditions, as well as elevate hole No. 15 with its scenic ocean view, Corbitt said.

“That’s one course we haven’t spent a lot of investment on and hasn’t seen much improvement since the 1990s,” Corbitt said. “We want to keep a resort-friendly course, but one with proper drainage and grass.”

All-in-all, the resort has already spent close to $30 million in the last five years upgrading its amenities, including The Inn at Harbour Town, a recently renovated boutique hotel that received a 2012 Forbes Four-Star Award.

“We are a maturing community that needs improvement,” Birdwell said. “Other resorts have invested in their properties, and we need to be prepared for the future as well.

“We are excited about enhancing the resort experience for our guests and providing the amenities they are looking for.”

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