The Front Nine
The Front Nine is a perfect complement to the Player designs. His layout also offers plenty of run-up opportunities to his greens, which are generally a little larger than Player’s, but with more sever undulations. The par-3 fourth requires a carry over a waste bunker that takes up most of the yardage between tee and green. But it’s the signature sixth that’ll give you stores to tell, or explanations to make. Again under 300 yards from the tips, just 250-275 from the middle tees, it’s one of Bobby Weed’s ultimate risk/reward opportunities. The largest lake on the entire course runs down the entire right side, then wraps around behind the green while pot bunkers and the course’s largest berm rise up to snatch shots hit left or short. Miss the pin by 10 yards right or left and you’re cooked more than the delicious hot dog you got from the friendly cart attendant. That shortest par-4 at Hilton Head National is followed by the shortest par-3, a do-or-die 102-138 yarder over more pristine marshland.
The Back Nine
The Back Nine begins with three increasingly-longer par-4’s to get you started, #3 a great 420+ from the two back tees with water down the entire left side on the drive (around a slight dogleg left) with trees encroaching on the bail-out area to the right. The long-iron approach must negotiate four mounds into the smallish green. The fourth, a middle-length par-3 seems benign enough on the scorecard, but from the elevated tee you’d better not miss the well-bunkered table-top green. You might feel like you need to call in Henry Kissinger to negotiate the huge waste bunker in front of the par-4 fifth, the large greenside bunker in front of the par-3 sixth and the old oak that sits in front of the par-5 seventh, the National’s #1 handicapped hole. The ninth might actually be the toughest, though, with deep marsh all along the right side of a narrow fairway and right next to another elevated “table-top” green it actually shares with #9 on the Player layout.