As I walked around Harbour Town last week for the Heritage, that old South Carolina slogan came to mind -- Smiling Faces, Beautiful Places. In fact, most times it felt like I was standing on the soundstage of a South Carolina commercial shoot. Everyone at the tournament, and I do mean everyone, was smiling — players, caddies, patrons, volunteers, media, and concession workers. Well, there’s a reason they are smiling.
Take my word for it, this is about as perfect as a golf vacation can get. Four days spent in a golfer’s paradise, with only one decision to make each day: watch the world-class golfers or play the world-class courses.
I chose both. Two of my four days were spent playing the Arthur Hills and Robert Trent Jones courses at Palmetto Dunes Resort, and it was nothing short of amazing. (Keep an eye out for more on Palmetto Dunes as well as a full description of my golf outings here soon.) The other two were spent enjoying the tournament.
For anyone who loves the game, watching professional golfers in person as they work their magic on the course is amazing. But to me, it is even cooler when you are watching them on a course that you can actually play. In fact, Harbour Town Golf Links was open to the public on the very next day after the tournament.
From the beautiful views of the Calibogue Sound to the Spanish moss hanging lazily off the live oaks, I felt like I was looking at a postcard image at every turn. It also didn’t hurt that this year’s tournament was blessed with the kind of perfect spring weather that reminds you why so many people want to retire in the south.
The Masters and The Heritage are technically only a week and only 150 miles apart. But in terms of atmosphere, they seem worlds apart. While walking around the hallowed grounds of Augusta leaves you in awe and full of reverence for the game, everything about the Heritage screams, “relax, enjoy and have fun.” And by the looks of it, that’s exactly what everyone was doing. I know I was. And now the state’s new slogan comes to mind -- South Carolina. Made for Vacation. Indeed.