For long time Hilton Head vacationers and locals alike, The RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing PGA Golf Tournament will always just be Heritage. Its heritage on Hilton Head Island is also that it’s the biggest social event (party) of the year. Next week’s version of the RBC Heritage (April 9 – 15) is a time on HHI many of us look forward to as soon as the last one finishes. When the weather is good there isn’t a better place to be (even in so-so weather it’s still a fantastic time) and while it is championship golf, that is only part of the story.
When Arnold Palmer won the inaugural tournament back in 1969 it literally put Hilton Head Island on the map as up to that time we were an island in the Lowcountry that the rest of the world had never really heard of. Since then the Heritage is one of only 3 PGA Golf Tournaments held on the same course for 50 years – another being the Masters – pretty good company indeed.
Pomp and circumstance starts the week with people in plaid, bagpipes and the past winner using a historic wooden golf club to hit a ball into the Calibogue Sound literally with a bang! There are pro-ams and practice rounds to be watched on Tuesday and Wednesday. The PGA Tournament starts on Thursday but parties and events in concert with Heritage have already started and continue all over Hilton Head Island. Whether you are on one of the boats and yachts in the Harbour Town Harbour, Calibogue Sound or the homes and villas in the harbour or ringing the Harbour Town Golf Links, fun is to be had all around.
The RBC Heritage of Golf presented by Boeing is incredibly fan friendly. As long as your ticket is easily seen, you are able to come on and off the course. Parking for the event for most of the spectators is at the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn. You park, get on a bus that takes you down to Harbour Town and then walk over to the course. It saves you sitting in your car bumper to bumper trying to find parking in Sea Pines as in the old days. There are stands sprinkled on the course so you can watch the golf go by and if you are lucky and have an invite to the hospitality tents you can enjoy food and drink as well. Because Harbour Town Golf Links is a narrow, shot maker course, fans mostly stroll the course and can find themselves next to the players if they have an errant shot. It is a family friendly event as kids 15 and under are allowed in free with a paid adult ticket. There are concession stands for food and drink throughout the course, some of them benefitting local charities.
Pro Golfers every year tell us they love this tournament. After the pressure cooker of the Masters the week before, many bring their families down and enjoy our bike paths and wonderful beaches while doing their job. This year players include past winners Matt Kuchar (Kuuuuch) Davis Love III (5 time winner) Wesley Bryan (last year’s winner and only one from SC), Jim Furyk, Graeme McDowell and other fan favorites like Ernie Els, KJ Choi, Stewart Cink, Ian Poulter, Luke Donald and the #1 player in the world Dustin Johnson to name a few. The purse at 6.7 million isn’t isn’t bad either. The RBC Heritage through the Heritage Classic Foundation since 1987 has distributed 38 million throughout SC & GA. 2.9 million was distributed to local charities in 2017 alone.
But back to the really fun part of Heritage and “Getting Your Plaid On”! Every year you get to see old friends that you see once a year like clockwork. You will hear the greeting “Happy Heritage” and a toast of a drink as people pass each other on the course. Oh and the clothes we forgot to talk about the colorful clothes that go well with the azaleas. Saturday is Plaid Nation Day were spectators Get Their Plaid On with fan contests to enjoy. One thing woman should remember is to try to wear comfortable shoes because high heel spikes take their toll after walking the course all day as it is a marathon not a sprint and there is dancing at night as well.
Once the sun starts to go down people head over to the Quarterdeck and the Lighthouse parking lot which has a stage set up and different entertainment. Usually there is a great DJ to get the crowd going and for example well loved local band Cranford Hollow will be rocking it out Saturday night. Local icon Gregg Russell will be playing under the Liberty Oak 4/9 – 11th at 7:30PM and others will take over as the week goes on. Lots of food and drink are part of the experience and the winner of the RBC Heritage -Tito’s Vodka cocktail contest is called Tartan Thyme created by local mixologist Paul Rabe – can’t wait to try it at Tito’s Lounge near 17. New this year will be a Craft Beer Garden behind 15 and we are looking forward to that as well. Link here for our Hilton Head Calendar of Events.
A few things to note is the PGA Tour is sticklers on prohibited items. Opaque bags or purses can be no larger than 6×6 and clear plastic bags no larger than12x6x12. If bringing your own chair it can’t be in a bag. No signs or banners are allowed nor are beverages allowed as you enter or exit. More details are available on rbcheritage.com.
If you can’t attend this year’s event do put The RBC Heritage on your bucket list as it is one of the best things you can attend in the Spring bar none! The dates for next year is April 15 – 21, 2019. And we at Hilton Head Rental Resource would love to have you stay with us for Heritage or any time you are visiting Hilton Head Island!