It’s Heritage Week in South Carolina…For those of you who have never been to the RBC Heritage Golf Tournament or the Harbour Town Golf Course, it’s hard to explain. Some call it “spring break for adults.” Others call it “a cocktail party with golf.” Everyone calls it a wonderful time!
For the past 45 years, this golf tournament has seen the likes of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman and the late Payne Stewart wear its signature champion plaid jacket. Even the new generation of golfers like Rory, Camillo, Graeme and (my fav) Webb, all come here for a great game of golf and a respite from the PGA’s major tournament circuit stress. The Dye course weaves amazing play under tall pines, mossy oaks, swaying palms and amid salty air marshes. At night, we party under our Carolina moon on fancy yachts and on the dance floor of the Quarterdeck. You make new friends at every turn with the signature “Happy Heritage” greeting under the watchful glow of our candy-striped lighthouse.
I came to Hilton Head for the first time nearly 10 years ago and fell in love with this tournament. I have visited other golf courses and PGA events but nothing quite compares. I remember being a tourist and walking along the marina…visiting the shops and restaurants while getting lost on Hwy 278! So little space, so many u-turns! I continued to visit Hilton Head as a tournament tourist until life and love brought me here most unexpectedly for a wonderful new job at the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce.
Now, I pinch myself to call this home. I’m no longer just a spectator of golf, visiting the island for a week. I’m planted here as a steward of our business community, my church, my friends… As I attended the cannon-firing opening ceremonies this week on the 18th green, my heart filled with pride to welcome the energy and excitement that comes with Heritage Week. I looked into the stands at the fans of golf, sunshine and sand– wanting to give them all a welcome hug to my home and thank them for being here. I remember thinking, “this feels like home.”
Yes, The Heritage has an $82 million impact each year on South Carolina’s economy… Not to mention, the millions that stay here in our community and is distributed among charitable and educational organizations. This week also matters to our bottom line– our business community shines this week!! Our restaurants are ready.. our shops are stocked.. our landscapes are perfect!
So if you’re here this week for the tournament, stop by and say hi to us at the Chamber’s hospitality tent, #SocialCentral. We’ve got your wifi and welcome waiting on the 18th fairway. But maybe you’ll catch the tournament on Golf Channel or CBS? Tweet us a hello to #SocialCentral or #PlaidNation
In the midst of all of the excitement, I would be remiss if I didn’t also remember this is Easter week. It’s rare that Heritage and Easter end on the same Sunday. This year, rest assured you’ll hear a prayer of thanksgiving for so many things as the sun rises on this most precious of days. And one request.. Bless this home, sweet home.