The hits keep coming at Sea Pines Country Club on Hilton Head Island. In the fall of 2020, golf course architect Phil Smith was engaged to redesign the practice facility and help completely re-grass the golf course as part of a long-term masterplan. The project is underway and scheduled for completion in the late fall.
Earlier this year, the club’s Fitness Center was ranked in the top 50 in the U.S. by Club + Resort Business (CRB). And this month, its tennis and pickleball center was ranked among the “Top 45 Racquet Facilities in the U.S.” by CRB, coming in at 14 on the inaugural list.
In recognizing the club’s market-leading facilities CRB stated: “With a widely established reputation in local tennis circles as the preeminent facility on the Island, Sea Pines Country Club’s seven lighted and meticulously groomed Har-Tru clay courts provide members of all levels an unparalleled playing field for expert private instruction and clinics, fun-filled junior summer camps, and spirited competitive team programs.”
In addition to its premier tennis offerings, the club installed a USA Pickleball Association regulation surface in 2020, creating a four-court pickleball facility for its members to enjoy America’s fastest-growing sport. A new Pickleball Patio featuring outdoor furniture, umbrellas, comfort stations and an information board for clinics and tournaments was also part of the project.
“Tennis has always been an integral part of our DNA, and Hilton Head Island has long been one of the tennis capitals of the world,” says Robbie Ames, Sea Pines Country Club general manager and chief operating officer. “The addition of the pickleball courts combined with the recent expansion of and enhancements to our Tennis Shoppe really raised the bar.”
Sea Pines Country Club’s racquet sports program is led by longtime Director of Tennis Matt Wuller, Tennis Professional Dave Gleason and Assistant Tennis Professional Graeme Joffe. The department is known for its creative programming, including tennis socials like Cheeseburger in Paradise, the Mardi Gras Tennis Event, and “The Woody Tournament,” a wooden racquet soiree paying homage to Wimbledon and the game’s roots, replete with strawberries & cream and champagne.
“This is a tremendous honor from Club + Resort Business and our industry peers, and I’m extremely proud of our dedicated team of professionals,” Wuller says. “I’d also like to recognize our members, who are unfailingly committed to tennis and pickleball.”
A family-focused lifestyle club, there are approximately 15 juniors in Sea Pines Country Club’s year-round tennis program. The summer junior program has approximately 100 to 125 kids participating in a seven-week program, while the afterschool program hosts between 10 and 15 kids per session.
C + RB’s rankings reflect its judges’ scoring of data provided on the types (tennis, pickleball, squash, paddle and racquetball) and number of courts at the property; retail and food & beverage square footage for racquet-specific facilities; average total monthly plays; member usage (% of total membership); number of interclub teams and junior players; full-time, part-time and contract staff; photos and more. The panel of judges was made up of club professionals from several of the industry’s most-respected properties and a leader in the world of racquet sports.
Golf Course Enhancement
The Club recently approved a two-phase enhancement plan for its Arnold Palmer, Clyde Johnston golf course which is underway and scheduled for completion in November. The project includes an expanded practice facility, new designated short-game area and complete re-grassing of all tees, greens and fairways. All-in-all, the widely-respected layout will look and play just like new.
Golf course architect Phil Smith, who recently completed a full masterplan for the 6,383-yard layout, is leading the project alongside Sea Pines Country Club General Manager/Chief Operating Officer Robbie Ames and Golf Course Superintendent Tom Metzger. Jacksonville, Florida-based MacCurrach Golf will oversee shaping and construction.
“This is a significant period in the club’s history that will help create one of the best golf playing surfaces in the region and state-of-the-art practice facilities allowing our members to focus on game improvement.” says Ames. “The Phase II renovation will create a world-class golf experience for the next generation of Sea Pines Country Club members.”
The practice facility expansion will lengthen the range floor by 50 yards, expand the depth and width of the tee area for additional hitting stations and double the size of the practice putting green. New target greens will be placed at various angles with yardage intervals ranging from 70 to 250 yards. The designated short-game area will feature a multi-tiered chipping green and two bunkers for honing sand shots.
Fairways and tees are being fully re-sprigged with Celebration Bermuda grass, the PGA Tour-caliber turf used at neighboring Sea Pines Resort on RBC Heritage host course Harbour Town Golf Links. Greens are sprigged with TifEagle Bermuda grass and putting surfaces restored to their original size, allowing for additional pin placements and improved approach shot receptivity.
“The leadership team at Sea Pines Country Club is fully committed to providing its members a world-class golf experience,” says Smith. “The 2021 upgrades will enhance the course agronomically while further elevating shot values and strategy. I’m honored to work with this amazing club to help them create a golf course and practice facility that will be maintained at the highest level.”
Phase II, slated for development and construction between 2028 and 2030, entails a full-scale renovation of the golf course coinciding with the installation of a new irrigation system.
To learn more about Sea Pines Country Club, visit www.seapinescountryclub.com.