Haig Point lies to the north end of Daufuskie Island, across the Calibogue Sound from Harbour Town on Hilton Head Island. Whilst both spots are beautiful and scenic, the isolation of Haig Point adds privacy to its allure. Rees Jones set out a course here for a private residential community in 1987, returning to completely renovate the layout twenty years later when he reconstructed all the tees, greens and bunkers.
Interestingly, the tight tree-lined, creek-laden course can be played in two different configurations: the “Calibogue” tees require forced carry shots to be played over wetland and coastal marsh areas, whilst the “Haig Point” tees use the same holes but do not demand the same difficult carries.
There are also a couple of extra holes, one on each nine, which are used in conjunction with these two different sets of tees. The longer version at the par three 8th plays to an island green across the salt marshes, with its 17th hole equivalent playing to a green adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean.
Stand out holes include the long par five 4th, with its fabulous oak tree backdrop, and the par five 14th, which is the architect’s favourite: “[It has] been ranked as one of the top 99 holes in America,” said Rees Jones, “[and] we had to get an environmental okay on that because there's a little high piece of ground between two wetlands, where the green is placed.”
There are a few clubs on this earth where you have to sail to get to the golf course. The Haig Point embarkation is on Hilton Head island, but the actual golf course is located on nearby Daufuskie Island, which is serviced by the Haig Point ferry charter. Passengers enjoy a wonderful view of the Harbour Town lighthouse as they make their way across the Calibogue Sound. There are no cars or commercial services on Daufuskie Island, it’s purely an island full of exclusive residential properties and 29 golf holes (20+9).
On the main course, two of the par 3s have multiple configurations, holes 8 and 17, offering multiple tees and greens. Each has a “Haig Point” set of tees which play to a more inland green site and a “Calibogue” set of tees which play to an exciting island green over a marsh. So in total, there are 20 holes on the main course to accompany the 9-hole Osprey course on the property. When Rees Jones laid out the course in 1987, his idea of having alternate configurations for the par 3s along the coastline was pure genius. Many holes along the coastline can get washed out to sea or can be drowned with the tide (think of the 18th hole at Wild Dunes (links) just north of Charleston), so if ever the club lost these Calibogue par 3s out over the coastal marsh, then at least the club would still have 18 holes to play and the Par of the course wouldn’t be impacted. The course itself has many iconic characteristics of the Open Doctor, and his bunkering around the greens is pretty penal. Rees Jones has performed successful renovations throughout the property in recent times and there are many impressive holes on show. The greens do have a lot of grain in them, and we noted that the green speeds were inconsistent while putting.
In my humble opinion, a number of the holes need trees taken down as the course is very claustrophobic in places and the green sites need more air.