The hotels are filling up and the golf carts are speeding around as people arrive for the 46th annual RBC Heritage golf tournament.
Every year, the PGA Tour brings some of best golfers in the world to Hilton Head to compete and celebrate the sport. This year the tournament kicks off on Monday, April 14 with a parade and the opening ceremonies. Last year’s winner, Graeme McDowell, will continue the tradition and tee off into the Calibogue Sound as a cannon fires to start the week’s events.
Golfers will play at the Harbour Town Golf Links in the Sea Pines Resort. The course was ranked 100 in America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses and 21 in America’s Top 100 Public Courses. It is full of small greens, narrow fairways, pot bunkers and abundant water hazards with fronts on the Calibogue Sound and views of the marsh and Harbour Town.
“Our course is a shotmaker’s course; you have to be able to place the ball,” said Angela McSwain, the Marketing Director and Communications Coordinator at the RBC Heritage.
Guests are invited to watch the professional golfers’ practice rounds on Monday and Tuesday and welcome to bring cameras and ask for autographs. On Wednesday some of the best amateur golfers will join the pros in Pro-Am and on Thursday the pros will take over and start their first round.
The theme of the week is “Get your plaid on!”
Every year bright red jackets with green plaid make their appearance. It’s a tradition that has been around since the beginning of the RBC Heritage in 1969. The threads even pull back to the creation of the Harbour Town Golf Links when Charles Fraser, the developer of Sea Pines, asked architect Pete Dye to design the course like of those in Scotland.
To celebrate those Scottish roots, the “Plaid Nation” dubbed Saturday as Tartan Day, so fans can join in the fun.
From 12 until 2 p.m. on the Heritage Lawn there will be contests to win RBC Heritage gear and tickets to next year’s tournament. Fans of all ages can enjoy the contests, which include a hole-in-one, fastest clad in plaid dressing competition, tartan trivia and a special prize will go to the overall best dressed in plaid. And after all the golfers finish up their third round, there will be a concert on the Heritage Lawn, featuring The Headliners.
“For the people that come to the tournament, it’s more than just a tournament. It’s a time to meet up with friends and family and have some fun,” said McSwain.
The tournament has been on Hilton Head Island for almost 50 years, so a lot of people come back each year with their family and friends. It has become an annual tradition to a lot of people.
“Only 30 percent of our ticket buyers are from Hilton Head and 60 percent come from outside of South Carolina,” said McSwain.
Golf fans, their friends and families have kept up the heritage tradition since 1969 and each year the tournament has steadily grown. Now it generates more than $80 million annual economic impact for the state.
“People are traveling to this tournament and making it a vacation,” said McSwain.
The practice rounds will take place on Monday and Tuesday and the Pro-Am on Wednesday. The tournament will begin Thursday morning and conclude on Sunday. On Easter Sunday, RBC Heritage is having a Sunrise Service for all of the ticketholders. It will be on 18th green so people can sit in the skyboxes while one of the PGA Pros speaks. Afterwards there will be an Easter egg hunt for children 10 years and younger and then the final round will begin. After the players finish, the trophy will be presented to this year’s winner.
For a full schedule of events, go to the event page.