50 Words or Less
The Palmetto Hall Arthur Hills Golf Course provides a fun, challenging round of golf. Not overly penal, but you need to be on your game to score well. A testament to the design skills of Arthur Hills.
Plugged In Golf’s recent Hilton Head excursion started at the island’s most famous course, Harbour Town. The Palmetto Hall Arthur Hills Course, our second stop, is not as well known but may be more enjoyable for most golfers. With an engaging blend of challenge and opportunity, this is a great course for players of all ability levels.
The two courses at Palmetto Hall share a large driving range. Big hitters will appreciate that you can hit it as far as you want, and there’s tremendous width, too. After you’ve warmed up your long game, you’ll take a drive to the first tee. There, you’ll find a beautiful practice green. This green imitates the speed on the course precisely and is large enough to hold two foursomes. It also have lots of contours, so you can get a handle on how putts will break on the course. My only complaint is that there is not a dedicated short game area.
Customer Service & Amenities
The amenities at Palmetto Hall are headlined by Baird’s Pub. Found inside the spacious clubhouse, the restaurant has a cozy, old school feel. My advice is to save this spot for after the round. If you gorge yourself the way that we did before your round, you may not be able to swing the club.
Palmetto Hall is also home to a well-stocked pro shop. There’s a wide range of soft goods that you can take home to commemorate your round. There isn’t a lot in the way of clubs, however, so you may be out of luck if you forget to pack something.
Learn about all HHI has to offer HERE
Beauty & Scenery
The Arthur Hills Course at Palmetto Hall is a consistently attractive track with a strong sense of place. My favorite thing about the course, aesthetically, is the Spanish moss found hanging from so many of the trees. That and the wildlife provided a constant sense of being in the Lowcountry.
What this course lacks in dramatic natural features it make up for with engaging golf design. Intelligently placed bunkers and nuanced green shapes keep your eyes and mind busy throughout the round. This isn’t a course that distracts you with natural beauty; it puts your focus solely on the course in front of you.
We played the Palmetto Hall Arthur Hills course the day after Harbour Town [review HERE] and the two could not be more different off the tee. Where HGTL is all about precision, this Arthur Hills design gives you the width to swing away with confidence. The fairways are average or larger in width, and most holes offer plenty of room in the rough. Truly wild or poorly planned shots can find severe trouble, but most of the drives are fairly friendly.
At par 72, the Arthur Hills course can play anywhere from 4,291 to 6,918 yards with a total of six sets of tees. I usually applaud any course that offers such a range of yardages, but this actually turns out to be my one major complaint. Despite it being listed on the scorecard, there were no tee markers for the forward tees. On some holes there was a sprinkler head painted orange to indicate a teeing area, but most holes had nothing at all. This came across as disrespectful to the players who wanted to use those shorter tees.
Back on the positive side of the ledger, Arthur Hills did a marvelous job making every drive interesting. On every tee shot, there’s some water, a bunker, or a tree that creeps into your field of vision to make you think twice. Often, these distractions are purely visual and mental, not really affecting a well struck drive, but they give the shots character. Overall, this is a really fun course off the tee.
Well struck tee shots at Palmetto Hall will typically be rewarded with very favorable approach shots. The movement in the fairways is moderate, so you’re likely to draw a flat, level lie. Putting your drive in the rough invites more trouble. The rough isn’t tall or thick, but it is wiry and patchy. This makes playing out of it less predictable. Also, there is more severe mounding in the rough, so your stance and view may be compromised.
Regardless of your lie, Palmetto Hall’s Arthur Hills course provides you with sizable greens as your target. However, the tiering of the greens makes it so that your desired target is smaller. Most greens are slightly elevated, which can obscure their undulations and give an advantage to those with local knowledge. The combination of elevation and rough makes running the ball up a poor choice. This course favors aerial approaches.
Finally, the trees play a significant role in your approaches, particularly on the back nine. There are several holes where, like Harbour Town, one side of the fairway has a compromised approach. Those who failed to position themselves correctly have the choice of attempting a scrambling par or taking on a heroic, curving shot.
Greens & Surrounds
The greens and bunkers were recently renovated, and it shows. Every putting surface was in premium condition – quick, smooth, and consistent. While I did not spend too much time in the sand, I did take notice that the sand had the same character and depth throughout the course. Across our entire group, no one had a bad word to say about the quality of the bunkers.
Arthur Hills’s green complexes at Palmetto Hall are varied and excellent. The greens themselves provide a substantial challenge and add a lot to every hole. Each one has significant movement, often in the form of soft tiers, that can put substantial break into your putts or challenge your speed control. Given the greens’ above average size, this brings three-putting into play regularly if you’re not hitting it close.
The surrounds provide a good mix of challenges. There are plenty of bunkers but also mounds and more subtle undulations. Around every green, there are safe spaces, but you need to be playing smart, precise golf to find them. More often, you’ll find a situation that tests your short game. The thin, patchy rough extends to the surrounds, giving you another element to contend with.
Golfers chasing only the biggest names will skip Palmetto Hall, and their trip will be worse for it. This course allows you to make your own memories by giving you the chance to hit challenging, engaging shots and make some birdies. The recently renovated greens and bunkers shine. Whether you’re going for course records or trying to break 100, this is a course where you’ll have a great time.
Visit Palmetto Hall HERE
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I used to play the Palmetto Hall courses all of the time when I lived on Hilton Head for a year and had an employee discount there. I loved both the courses, but I preferred the Cupp course due to it’s originality. And you’re right most will skip the palmetto hall courses, for the bigger names – but these are two of the better courses on the island.
Really like this course. It’s one of the courses we find ourselves going back to whenever we visit. It’s fair and fun, with some really nice looking holes. Usually priced where it should be and good pace of play. While it may not be in the same conversation as Harbourtown or the Robert Trent Jones course, I think this course is toward the top of the next tier that the island has to offer.