Updated: Nov 2, 2021
Exploring Sea Island Golf, Beyond The Brochure
If you golf, it is likely you have seen an advertisement for a golf destination. Whether or not the copy behind the ad holds any truth value, they promise of lush fairways and impeccable service. Recently, The Par Train’s own, Evan Singer visited Sea Island Golf Resort and brought us all the goods on a golf destination that will introduce a few courses to the bucket list (if they weren’t already on there).
When we consider US locations for destination golf trips what places come to mind? Pinehurst, Scottsdale, Bandon Dunes, Sand Valley… you would be remiss to not include Sea Island to that mix. Sea Island is not limited to golf, which allowed this special locale to feature both a golf trip destination as well as a suitable location for all kinds of gatherings.
What does Sea Island provide as a golf destination?
Sea Island is a world class golf destination that offers more than just golf. Five world class courses in the area that would allow the golf-obsessed to indulge in the home of nearly a dozen tour pros while accessing cool local amenities and activities.
Tour pros that reside in Sea Island include:
Davis Love III
Who is Sea Island best suited for?
A broad range of off-the-course activities makes Sea Island an ideal destination for golf trips with non-golfers. Families, bachelor parties, couples getaway and more. The point is that in contrast to a place like Bandon Dunes, there is more than just golf for attendees to enjoy. World class golf plus (can we put other activities here like the spa, archery, fishing, paddle boarding, etc.) Perhaps this work/life balance is the reason many golf pros have decided to settle here. If it’s good enough for Tour Pros to call this place home, imagine how good it’ll be for you.
There’s a kitchen in the locker room at Seaside (!!!). Wood lockers with tour pros names on them, leather chairs and huge TVs. Southern hospitality where people are out to extend this cultural kindness and inviting nature. The Halfway Station at the Plantation Course is like walking into someone’s beautiful, inviting home. Delicious cocktails and eats. Transfusions galore!
Non-golf Activities in the Area
Sea Island is a great option for all ranges of trips from a bachelor party to a trip with family. Not the same as an all-golf destination such as Bandon or Pinehurst. Sea Island has all the amenities, activities and outdoors activities. Archery, beach club, boat rentals for fishing, horseback riding, guided nature tours and other activities for everyone. St. Simon’s is a cool, relaxing town that is also accessible for a low-key bar/restaurant scene without resort prices.
Difficulty and Conditions
Marsh, wetlands, huge bunkers, pristine grooming, spanish moss hanging off oak trees.
It feels like a BIG property with big time, pristine practice facilities.
Seaside Tips: 70 / 6,883 / 74.2 / 141
Mid: 70 / 6,277 / 71 / 136
Tips: 72 / 6,999 / 74.1 / 130
Mid: 72 / 6,264 / 70.5 / 120
Tips: 72 / 7,110 / 73.9 / 133
Mid: 72 / 6,350 / 70.8 / 128
Tips: 72 / 7,308 / 76.2 / 151
Mid: 72 / 6,532 / 72.6 / 140
Tips: 72 / 7,218 / 74.6 / 132
Mid: 72 / 6,578 / 71.7 / 127
Cost: Fluctuates seasonally. Peak season rates are around $300 to play Seaside, less for Plantation, Retreat and the other courses.
Sea Island Resort is super helpful with larger groups including Closest to the Pin and Long Drive, scorecards and other tournament/group support.
PSA: GET ENOUGH BALLS BEFORE YOU ARRIVE
Evan paid $67 for SIX Titleist AVX golf balls. Make sure you bring enough balls or go to Edwin Watts (local shop) for non-resort pricing.
Caddies Are Recommended
Available for roughly $30 per person for the round. Site lines are important. Undulated greens and lots of local knowledge. We tipped another $10-$20 each after as an extra thank you.
Losing golf balls is not fun. Paying $300 to lose a ton of golf balls is even less fun. In Tom Fazio’s redesign of the Colton Allison classic, the challenge of bunkers, marsh and water is tempered with reasonable landing zones off the tee, open site lines and approachable greens. For longer players, a consistent use of doglegs provide an opportunity for varying strategy off the tee.
The greens are pretty damn fast but always fair. Depending on the set-up, it can feel like a totally different course from day to day. Use of water, marsh, trees and seaside visuals compose an awesome visual element to be enjoyed by all.
Commonly referred to as a second shot course. Tight iron play helps players get the ball to a good place to putt from. Multi-tiered greens will make three putting an easy feat from certain locations.
The front nine is straight away. Not without character, but very different from Seaside.
Hole 10 turns is a new leaf going into the back nine. Entire left side of the hole is water. An absolutely awesome driveable par four. Very risk-reward, but with playability and fun.
The remainder of the back nine is more like Seaside in the need for deliberate, strategic shots. Risk reward plays abound with lots of challenging yet playable lines.
Favorite Course and Why
If you are playing 3+ rounds, play each Seaside, Plantation and Retreat (more like Pinehurst). Seaside with the marsh and layout holds a special place. Plantation is a must. Seaside is definitely our favorite track so if you’re going to play one of the three more than once, definitely go Seaside.
Seaside number 13 or 15
Plantation number 2 or 10
Retreat number 6
Ocean Forest is also worth mentioning. It’s a private club but a spectacular combo of forest and marsh.
Fredrica is very open. Very accessible for less accurate players. Sharp edged bunkers. Big greens and accessible playing.
Destiny vs. Destination
A great golf trip is typified by the memories and experiences that are created. However, many will criticize their experience if it does not feel like it deserves the hefty price tag. At Seaside Island, the hospitality and captivating visuals are cause for the player to feel less like a consumer and more like a participant.
The Inn Includes indoor golf simulator with a variety of games
On the property with the pro shop to the Plantation and Seaside
Extremely nice & most expensive in the area
How to get to Sea Island?
Jacksonville, FL or Brunswick airport, not unlike other golf resorts that are in rural areas. You can also fly into Savannah, GA. The journey is not insane, but creates excitement.
Thank You to Sea island
Big thank you to the golf team there that hosted us and made us feel like family. Will definitely come back!
Out of Office is a travel mini-series that breaks down bucket list golf trips so you can get the do's and dont's on logistics, lodging, the golf courses, the things to do outside of golf, and so much more. This Out of Office episode goes to Sea Island, Georgia, one of golf's hot spots in the US. If you're looking for your next golf trip, Sea Island could be just the spot.
Visit Sea Island at https://www.seaisland.com/golf
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