The drive down 17-Mile Drive to Cypress Point, the chugging ferry to Fishers Island, the long drive through the Highlands to Royal Dornoch. These unique approaches set these clubs apart. The private ferry from Hilton Head to Haig Point on Daufuskie Island falls into this category. You can see the picturesque dock approaching and anticipation about what lies ahead builds along the way.
The Haig Point Embarkation point on Hilton Head is the main method to get to the club. The ferry is a 40-minute journey that wraps around the bottom end of Hilton Head and out to northeast corner of Daufuskie. A shorter journey is the Haig Point ferry that leaves from Harbour Town on Hilton Head. Dolphins swam around our ferry on this shorter 15-minute ride to the island. There are no cars on the island, so a representative from the club picked us up at the dock and shuttled us down to the golf clubhouse.
Daufuskie is 5 miles long and 2 ½ miles wide. There are a number of developments on the island, but the private Haig Point Club has the golf course that you’d want to play the most. The difficult Rees Jones design rates consistently in the top 25 in South Carolina. Both nines have a series of gorgeous waterfront holes. The homes on the course are set back from the fairways and are set relatively far apart from one another. The claustrophobia that you feel on other courses in the area doesn’t happen here as you’ll see in the photos below.
Each nine starts with three or four holes set among trees. The round crescendos during each nine until you peak at the waterfront holes (particularly the par 3s), where you peer across the Harbor River and Calibogue Sound to Hilton Head Island and beyond.
The first hole eases you into the round with a straight-away par 4. Bunkers narrow the fairway and deep greenside bunkers guard the green.
The tee shot on this dogleg right par 4 begs you to take it over the trees. The best angle is achieved with a safe play to the middle / left side of the fairway. The green has difficult slopes and is raised on three sides.
This long dogleg right par 5 narrows closer to the green and bunkers penalize mishit approach shots and layups.
Remember those waterfront holes I mentioned? This is the first. The 5th is a great par 3 with a deceptively large green and gorgeous views of Hilton Head that frame the hole.
This short dogleg left par 4 requires perfect placement in the fairway to have the best angle in.
This beautiful par 3 green is much larger that it initially appears. You could sit on this tee and hit balls all day! This is the second of many great par 3s on the course.
This dogleg left par 5 is another favorite of mine. Marsh in front of the green prevents all but the longest players from reaching in two. From the tee you can see the green left of the large grouping of trees.
After stopping for a drink and bag of Haig Point’s excellent popcorn at the turn, you reach the dogleg right 10th. Bite off as much as you can chew from the tee. Avoid the greenside bunkers at all costs (as I found out personally).
The 11th is a great example of an interesting Rees Jones straightaway par 4. The slightly raised green adds to the challenge.
The long dogleg right par 5 14th brings you back out to the water. The fairway narrows near the green with marsh on either side. Any miss other than short on this green is trouble.
This beast of a par 3 played into the wind during our round, extending it into the 220-yard range. The water is directly behind you on this tee box, which makes this serene nook of the course even more beautiful.
This green complex is beautiful, and gaining the correct position in the fairway is key to avoid the two large trees.
The final par 3 on the course rounds out a special collection of short holes. The tee box is subtly raised to provide a stunning view of the green and background, even when the marsh grasses are tall.
The final hole is another beauty. A long, accurate drive is necessary to reach the green comfortably. The only miss is short on the approach, with rough and deep bunkers guarding all sides of the green.
The choice to live at Haig Point doesn’t appeal to everyone. There are no cars, no Starbucks, and no quick way to go to run errands, but that is what makes the place special. The journey builds anticipation for a great round of golf and the homes, clubhouses, and facilities at Haig Point are beautiful. Check it out if you have a chance, and be sure to cap off your round with a pint and a basket of popcorn.
I have never played a course that has a better complete set of par 3’s anywhere. And the “signature hole” is the par 5 14th! Rees Jones was noted as saying he couldn’t build this course today given the burden of certain ecological rules. Incredible how creative he was in using the land he had.
Glad you covered the feeling of the travel to Haig Point. It is truly rare in a country that moves so fast. The history lesson of the place is equally special. From the Tabby ruins to The lighthouse to how the mansion was moved there in the 1980’s — all the way from Sea Island on two lashed-together barges.
No place I’ve ever been slows the world down as Haig Point does. And the southern hospitality stands apart. Shemieca, Bunny, and Tommy in the bar to Jay, Fred, and Adam in the pro shop. I won’t forget about asking Fred about a new clothing line before a round — only to come in at the turn and see boxes of apparel all unpacked and laid out, just in case I wanted to see something.
Top 100 in the world. Top 25 in SC. Top 5 I’ve ever played…Scotland included!