Stress got you down? We bet swinging a golf club would cure that. Pick a weekend and rally a group of your friends to travel to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. It’s a long skinny strip of land with 12 miles of beach, 20 golf courses, and tons of BBQ restaurants (think ribs slathered in jerk spice and southern sauces). Essentially: it’s a domestic haven for the guy who needs a quick getaway. Here’s where to sleep, eat, and golf when you go.
TEE OFF LIKE A CHAMP
Hilton Head Island is prime golfing grounds. With an array of challenging, impeccably groomed oceanside courses, the island is one of America’s top golfing destinations. Even The Legend of Bagger Vance was filmed there and Tiger Woods teed off on the island as a youngster. Our favorite course? Harbour Town Golf Links at Sea Pines Resort is a must. The club plays host to the PGA’s RBC Heritage every April. Designed by 18-time Major winner Jack Nicklaus and world-renowned course creator Pete Dye, the par 71 course runs along the Atlantic, revealing views of a chain of smaller islands to the east. In 2012, Golf Magazine ranked Harbour Town #12 on its list of “Best Courses You Can Play” in the U.S. Just keep an eye out for the gators around some of the water hazards. Hitting next to one can be just a tad intimidating.
SIGHTSEE LIKE A G
When you’re not swinging a club, there’s always something else to do. The island has a ton of vacation-perfect activities. The Canopy Zip Line Tour provides a sweet bird’s eye view of Hilton Head from 75 feet up. Need to satiate your competitive side? Race your buddies along the 900-foot double cable zipline. Or, if a lazy afternoon is what you’re after, stock up some beer and food and take the Calibogue Cruise Ferry to Daufuskie Island, a mile south of Hilton Head, where most get around via golf cart. Food lovers should travel in early March for the 28th Annual Wine & Food Festival, six-days featuring wine tastings and dishes from local Southern chefs. If you can’t get down until later next year and are into old cars, the annual Concours d’Elegance provides a great chance to grab a cocktail and see automobiles from more than 100 years ago.
SLEEP LIKE A MAN
The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort and Spa, located in the Port Royal community, is the perfect spot to crash for the weekend. You and your friends can take advantage of the Play the Tour Package, which offers oceanfront accommodations, daily breakfast and two rounds of golf at any of the island’s 18 participating courses. The Westin itself has three championship golf courses, six restaurants, three pools and a long stretch of beach. If you have time, book the Westin’s Heavenly Spa’s 50-minute heated golf ball massage for $115. It’ll eliminate that back pain from crushing the ball 300 yards on the 18th earlier that morning.
EAT LIKE A BOSS
South Carolina’s top notch for barbecue, and One Hot Mama’s American Grille is by far the best. Try some of their Baby Back Ribs smothered in chocolate (yes, chocolate) barbecue sauce—each bite is worth the tedious treadmill time you’ll put in when you get home. We promise. If you’re a larger group of six or more, head to Michael Anthony’s Italian restaurant. There, you can rent out the private kitchen upstairs and for $150 per person, Executive Chef Chris Johnson will prepare a three-course meal right in front of you—perfect if you’re the guy planning the bachelor party. And don’t forget, the Atlantic Ocean (stocked with salmon, mahi mahi and lobster) is right next door. To try these, expertly grilled and seasoned with local fruits and vegetables, head to Red Fish. The award-winning restaurant mixes seafood with steaks and fresh produce from Hilton Head’s own Bear Island Farms.