[review]There are plenty of reasons to visit Sea Island. There’s the soft and secluded solitude it offers. There’s the sincere southern hospitality. There’s the unparalleled luxurious accommodations. There is truly exquisite cuisine. There are treasured traditions and historical values, from the historical live oaks planted by the likes of Former President Calvin Coolidge and Former President Jimmy Carter to hosting the 30th G8 Summit. But most importantly, there’s the Golf. Oh, the Golf.
At Sea Island there are two breathtaking golf courses, both dripping in history.
The Seaside Course is refined–and challenging. A true ocean side links course, the golfing great Bobby Jones played here in 1930 before heading to the St. Andrews open. He deemed it one of the finest he had ever played. Don’t be alarmed if you lose more than a few balls by the 18th hole…Seaside is all about shot selection, recovery, and putting (We won’t tell you how many ‘A&P’ balls are at the bottom of those marshes….).
The classic Plantation Course, originally designed by Walter Travis and revamped by Rees Jones, is a bit more wild and open—deceiving Oaks tower in front of tidal creeks and lakes. Plantation is a little more chilled out than Seaside, allowing more leeway for novices and players who aren’t intent on getting a perfect par. Having said that, both courses are still demanding and deserve each golfer’s excellence and attention to detail. The ancient live oak and cedar forest whispers stories of the greats who have played before you, from Sam Snead to Davis Love Jr.
For the golf centric vacationer, stay at The Lodge overlooking the Plantation course where you can walk to your tee time. But if you’re bringing the family, The Cloister is a brilliant building. The entire resort underwent a $500 million facelift over the past few years…and it’s paid off. With humble, historical roots, The Cloister maintains its regal traditional aesthetic without being stuffy or overdone.
In a separate category of its own, The Cloister hosts The Georgian Room, a culinary adventure with truly refined southern food. An intimate dining room with a private ambiance, the Chef’s Tasting Menu and Wine Pairings (performed by the in-house Sommelier) is an organic procession of artistic dining, presented simply. The Chef’s Table, equipped with TV screen and the option to electronically ‘zoom’ around the kitchen, is a fun way to spend a romantic evening after a long day on the green. There’s a Medieval Wine cellar available for private parties, too.
There are families who have been summering here for generations, who have married their sweethearts on these beaches and whose children’s children will marry their sweethearts here. There is a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ that lends itself to a joyful, unforgettable experience, whether you spend your time on the fairway, horseback riding on the sand, learning to skeet shoot, going offshore fishing, or just laying by the sea. You’ll find yourself falling in love with Sea Island, and when you do, it will be an affair to last through the ages.
*Tried & Tested. Alister & Paine practices old-school journalistic integrity. We only write from experience–never press releases. If we haven’t tried it and loved it you won’t find it in our magazine.