Long Cove Club is considered to be one of the best courses on Hilton Head Island. The private club was built in the early 1980s and it remains one of the most prestigious on the island. Pete Dye designed the golf course, which balances typical Dye challenge with a course that won’t dishearten a membership who play the course daily. It is par 71 and reaches 7,000-yard from the tips with a rating of 74.9 and slope of 143. If you do step back to those rear tees, pray the wind doesn’t come up.
My opportunity to play the course came about through LINKS Magazine. We had our annual sales meeting and spent an afternoon on the course at Long Cove. The weather was iffy throughout the day, and you’ll see rain, cloud, and bright skies in the photos below. We had lunch in the beautiful clubhouse and headed out to the range to warm up before our round.
Long Cove was the first project that Tom Doak worked for Pete Dye. When asked about his three favorite Dye courses in a Golf Digest interview, Doak named one of them as “Long Cove, which is the first place I worked for (Dye) in construction, and kind of a little bit of a reaction to the TPC. He had just finished doing the TPC at Sawgrass, and Long Cove was his next course. One of the few courses in that period of his career that wasn’t designed with the idea that there were going to be a whole host of tour pros there the next week.”
Long Cove naturally receives comparisons to Harbour Town, its Dye-designed neighbor in Sea Pines on Hilton Head. Long Cove is considerably more open than nearby Harbour Town, and like Doak said, it wasn’t designed to host PGA Tour events. The greens at Long Cove stand out as particularly good, with great shaping and variety. Keep an eye on the greens in the photos below. For what was a completely flat piece of land, they look both natural and very interesting.
Hole #5 – 305 yards – This is the quirkiest hole on the course. You can see the green from the tee, but the approach is totally blind due to the mound you see in the photo below. Big hitters can try to rip one here and get on the green, but the delicate play and a little local knowledge is the most common route.
Hole #6 – 527 yards – The rain started to come down on this tee. There is plenty of fairway out left and no reason to threaten the large waste bunker on the right. The green – one of my favorite on the course – sits beautifully on the side of a hill.
Hole #7 – 430 yards – If the last green was one of my favorite on the course, this is my favorite green of them all. An open fairway leaves a mid-iron approach shot to this stunning large green. You don’t see many holes like this on Hilton Head, where trees and homes squeeze many layouts.
Hole #11 – 372 yards – Another tight green entrance a la Harbour Town. Slopes and small pot bunkers guard this green and that bunker you see on the left looks greenside, but is actually well short of the green.
Hole #13 – 137 yards – These next two are the “signature” holes on the course. They both run along the marsh, looking back towards the South Carolina mainland. A wooden wall holds up the front of this green, so coming up short isn’t an option… As you can see in George Peper’s case below.
I have lived in the Hilton Head area for just under a year at this point, and I am finally getting around to playing many of the area courses. Long Cove has been at the top of the list for quite a while, and I wasn’t disappointed with the experience. Big thanks to LINKS for this one and to Long Cove for hosting!