By Tara Cibula, Contributor
Mid-April sneaks up faster than Grandma Betty Lee’s biscuits after a chilly winter. Sun dresses are ready and the party is about to start. What party? you may ask if you are not an island “local”. It’s the HERITAGE y’all! The PGA comes to town as locals and tourist’s alike head to Harbour Town to catch some great golf, and maybe a cocktail or two. If you’re in town visiting for the Heritage, or are new to the area, here a few tips to doing the Heritage like a local.
The shuttle is great, but there are so many better (think easier) ways to arrive. Most locals ride bikes either straight to the course (Bubba’s Bikes has fantastic deals if you are visiting), or to Reilly’s South Restaurant (located right outside of the Sea Pines gate) for a quick, delicious lunch and mimosa. Plus, if you go to Reilly’s on Sunday those mimosas are bottomless! From Reilly’s you can walk, bike, or Lyft the rest of the way to Harbour Town. What could be better than a great meal, a mimosa and a bike ride to start the day? A stop on the way home will also be a welcome way to unwind and rehash the day’s events with friends both new and old.
If you do choose to use Lyft or Uber, you should know that Uber drivers are not able to pick you up from the course. However, according to Sea Pines security, Lyft drivers can drop you off and pick you up.
When to Go
If you are bringing the little ones along, Coca-Cola Youth Day (Tuesday April 11th) is the best kept local secret. Although the Heritage advertises this event, many folks hold off arriving until official play begins on Thursday. The putting green is open for future tour players to swing some clubs, and the professionals are more than happy to sign autographs. Be sure your little one has a sharpie and a hat or t-shirt to collect autographs! This is an excellent day to let the young ones experience the Heritage without the crowds. The day culminates with a movie on the Harbour Town lawn.
As for adults, you do not want to miss out on Wednesday’s Pro-Am event, especially if you are a golf enthusiast. Tour players are much more relaxed, stands and fairways are not crowded, and you may be lucky enough to snag a coveted photo with Ernie Els. On Wednesday you can easily follow your favorite player, perhaps even striking up a conversation, while they wait for their turn. At the end of the day it is likely you’ll find caddies, golfers and locals having a laugh at the Quarter Deck, a restaurant located right across the yacht basin at the 18th green. This mingling will not happen once official play begins, so you do not want to miss out on this opportunity.
What to Wear
Functionality y’all. Guys have it the easiest, but isn’t that the truth every day? It will be difficult to distinguish the real professionals from the professional spectators this week. Got it guys? Dress like you are playing golf, minus the shoes.
Ladies, welcome to the south. Bright sun-dresses, big sunglasses and your most fashionable small bag are always appropriate at the Heritage. Dimensions and restrictions can be found on the Heritage website, make sure your purse complies, or it is not coming in. The golf tournament takes form of a fashion show year after year, with the newest Lily Pulitzer dresses gracing the fairways. Be mindful when selecting those all-important shoes. You will be walking. A LOT. So, put down the stilettos and opt for a more comfortable and appropriate cork wedge. Think Lowcountry garden party. If you’re unsure what this means, just open the pages of the latest Southern Living magazine. While the perfect outfit is important, you will hear a more than your fair share of “bless your heart” if you don’t keep the weather in mind.
At the Course
As the saying goes, you catch more bees with honey than vinegar. Every local knows this could not be more true than during the week of Heritage Golf Tournament. If you are new to the course, you will see spectators stepping in and out of white tents which hold the most amazing views, food and cocktails. These tents are by invitation only. Tickets are often given to tournament sponsors and local businesses. When a nice gentleman or lady strikes up a conversation on the golf course, or at the grocery store, throughout the week, enjoy meeting someone new and keep in mind that they may be holding an extra ticket, wristband, or upgraded tournament pass. Many people leave a day early or do not plan to use all of the hospitality tickets they have received. Past experience has shown that they are happy to turn these golden tickets over to a first-timer at the tournament or a nice couple they meet along the course. Our locals really are a friendly bunch.
Now y’all head out there, and for the love your mama, wear some sunscreen!
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