Newsletter Signup | Subscribe to Magazine

We’re Golden: Hilton Head Celebrates 50th RBC Heritage

Hilton Head celebrates 50th Heritage PGA Tour Tournament.

Local artist Linda Hartough painted this beautiful image of the 18th hole at Harbour Town Golf Links.

Story by Lisa Allen

The RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing has never underestimated the power of a party. From its first year in 1969, the tournament has been a social event wrapped around a golf contest.

To commemorate this year’s 50th tournament, organizers wanted to do something BIG, and did they ever. They toasted the start of a 50-day celebration by wrapping the 90-feet-tall Harbour Town lighthouse in — what else? — plaid.

It wasn’t exactly a surprise because it was impossible to keep the work under wraps. It took a crew using blow torches and rollers four days to turn the lighthouse’s usual red and white stripes into red plaid. The finishing touch was to add the RBC logo and a golden 50 onto the middle of the lighthouse.

Then, in true Heritage spirit, the organizers had a little party under the Liberty Oak to celebrate.

We take our Heritage festivities very, very seriously and always have.

How many golf tournaments have a parade featuring a fife and drum corps band and bagpipes? And who else uses minutemen in tri-cornered hats to fire off a canon as the reigning champion tees off a shot into the Calibogue Sound?

And don’t forget to “Get Your Plaid On!” You’ll see lots and lots of plaid jackets, hats, shorts, you name it.

There is an excellent reason we go gaga over “our” Heritage. It’s because it is OUR Heritage. The inaugural golf tournament 49 years ago put Hilton Head Island on the map and created a focal point for the entire area. Only three other PGA tournaments have been played on the same course for 50 years, one of them being the Masters. It is the event of the year for the entire state of South Carolina.

This year’s festivities began on Feb. 18, exactly 50 days before the tournament kicks off with the Pro-Am Presented by Boeing at Harbour Town Golf Links on April 9. There are two other Pro-Ams on April 10, the Tartan Invitational at Atlantic Dunes and the RBC Heritage Pro-Am at Harbour Town.

The new Tartan Invitational gives 80 players the chance to play with celebrities that include Hall of Fame tennis great Stan Smith, Heisman Trophy winner and All-American George Rogers, All-American Clemson quarterback Steve Fuller, Green Bay Packer Pro-Bowler Sterling Sharpe, retired college basketball coach Bobby Cremins and Bravo TV reality star Shep Rose. More celebrities will be announced as the date draws near.

The attention turns to the opening round of The RBC Heritage on April 12. But don’t worry, there are plenty of parties ringing the course, including five clubs, three skyboxes, Wine @ Nine, Michelob Ultra 19th hole and Tito’s Stillhouse. More than 150,000 people are expected to mill around Harbour Town where 132 golfers will compete to make the cut and play into the weekend where anywhere from 70 to 90 players will vie for their own tartan jacket.

The tournament’s general sponsor, the Heritage Classic Foundation, isn’t just a party host. It is a year-round charitable powerhouse that has raised more than $36 million for scholarships since the foundation began in 1987.

Every year, local nonprofits set up vendor booths at the tournament, making it convenient for patrons to donate money. It’s a tradition that began during the first year, thanks to Sea Pines Resort founder Charles Fraser.
Cheers to 50 years!


RBC Heritage Events

Sunday, April 8
  • 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
    Pro-Am registration, Pro-Am headquarters at Plantation Golf Club
Monday, April 9
  • 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
    Pro-Am registration, Pro-Am headquarters at Plantation Golf Club
  • 9:30 a.m.
    Monday Pro-Am Presented by Boeing pairings brunch, Champions ballroom at the Harbour Town Clubhouse
  • 10 a.m.
    Parade begins at the Liberty Oak in Harbour Town and the opening ceremony is at the 18th green
  • 11:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.*
    Monday Pro-Am Presented by Boeing, First and 10th tees
  • 6:30 p.m.*
    Monday Pro-Am Presented by Boeing awards party, Champions ballroom at the Harbour Town Clubhouse
Tuesday, April 10
  • All Day
    Pro practice rounds
  • 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    Pro-Am registration, Pro-Am headquarters at Plantation Golf Club
  • 2-3 p.m.
    Coca-Cola Youth Day, which includes PGA Tour Pro meet-and greet with “Plaid About Reading” winners
  • 3-4 p.m.
    Putting contest on putting green
  • 4:30-6 p.m.
    Family movie on the Heritage lawn
  • 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
    RBC Heritage Pro-Am draw party, Champions ballroom at the Harbour Town Clubhouse
Wednesday, April 11
  • 7:15 a.m. – 7 p.m.*
    RBC Heritage Pro-Am, starting on the first and and 10th tees
  • 8:30 a.m.
    Tartan Invitational at Atlantic Dunes breakfast and registration, Plantation Club
  • 10 a.m.
    Tartan Invitational at Atlantic Dunes, shotgun start
  • 2 p.m.*
    RBC Heritage Pro-Am awards reception for morning group, Champions ballroom at the Harbour Town Clubhouse
  • 2:30 p.m.*
    Tartan Invitational at Atlantic Dunes awards reception, Plantation Club
  • 7 p.m.*
    RBC Heritage Pro-Am awards reception for afternoon group, Champions ballroom at the Harbour Town Clubhouse
Thursday, April 12
  • 7:20 a.m.-6:30 p.m.*
    First round starting on the first and 10th tees
Friday, April 13
  • 7:20 a.m.- 6:30 p.m.*
    Second round starting on the first and 10th tees
Saturday, April 14
  • Plaid Nation Day – Wear plaid!
  • 8:30 a.m.–6 p.m.*
    Third Round – All players start on the first tee
  • Noon-2 p.m.
    Plaid Nation Day contests on the Heritage Lawn
Sunday, April 15
  • 7:30 a.m.
    Sunrise service, 18th Green Harbour Town Golf Links
  • 8:30 a.m.–6 p.m.*
    Final round, all players start on the first tee
  • Trophy presentation immediately following play – 18th green

*Times are approximate