• Brian Rietveld

REVIEW: First Tee par-3 course

Looking for an affordable change of pace in your weekly golf routine? Perhaps you are in the market for a quiet, well-maintained all grass practice range where you can hone all of your skills from putting to chipping to your long game. Or maybe you want to test out your short game skills on a short course but don’t have hours of time to play. The First Tee of the Lowcountry on Gumtree Road on the Northend of Hilton Head Island just may be your answer to all of those needs.


The slightly hidden facility is nestled between small Lowcountry neighborhoods on Gumtree Road and just a block away from Hilton Head Island High School. The First Tee shares its campus with the local Boys and Girls Club with only a small office space that is used as the “clubhouse” and facility center. For a flat rate fee of $10, the golfer gets full access to the First Tee of the Lowcountry property, easily making it the best golf bargain in Beaufort County.


After settling up with the friendly staff, you walk through the property’s gate and take a 150 yard trot past the Boys and Girls Club and at the end of the path you will find the plush driving range and chipping green. With an old school, hometown vibe you grab your own plastic bucket and scoop out your personal collection of range balls. If one bucket doesn’t help solve your slicing woes, grab another bucket because your $10 fee covers your practicing for the day.


The range is rarely packed and unlike many practice facilities on Hilton Head Island, there are plenty of stations for you to plop down your bag and begin practicing. There is no searching for a strip of grass to tee up your ball because each station is healthy and full of grass that is waiting for you to run your divots. After your range session you can hit chips and putts on their full sized practice green located directly behind the driving range stations. There is plenty of room at this practice green complex for several hackers to practice their bump and runs.



AROUND THE COURSE


Now that you are warmed up, grab your clubs and head to the first tee located at the far end of the driving range. That’s right, the First Tee of the Lowcountry has a six-hole short course that goes around the driving range. The holes range from 53 yards to 119 yards and are mainly set on the perimeter of the 325-yard driving range. Each hole is a unique yardage and comes with it’s own horticultural nickname like “Nandina.”


A fair warning though, if there are several people on the range, you may want to only play holes 1 and 2 as several of the short course green complexes double as targets for the driving range. That said, rarely is the range overflowing with golfers grinding on their swings and those who are there respect those playing the short course. The six-hole track which was originally designed by Clyde Johnston (Island West, Old South), is a perfect way to introduce a beginner or a junior to the beautifully frustrating game of golf. The hole designs are short and the greens are slower than those at your local club’s, but the greens’ are undulating enough to challenge even the most skilled golfers. You can play the course in less than an hour which is perfect for those little ones just learning about the game or those who simply want a quick, stress-free round of golf.


Running parallel to the 441-yard short course is a disc golf course that has nine unique holes. This is also included in your $10 payment into the First Tee of the Lowcountry.


So if you are looking for a quick test of golf or a new place to finetune your game, the budget friendly and fun environment of First Tee of the Lowcountry is a perfect place to spend your morning while also helping out a great foundation.



AT A GLANCE


Course: First Tee of the Lowcountry - Par 3 Course

Location: Hilton Head Island

Designer: Clyde Johnston

Par: 18 (6 holes)

Yardage: 441

Year Opened: 2016

On the Web: https://firstteelowcountry.org/

Phone: 843-686-2680

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