I’m heading down to Sea Island next weekend with my family and we’re playing the Seaside course. I know a few of the NLU guys played it a couple months ago…any tips/feedback from people who have played it? Is taking a caddy necessary?
You don’t need a caddy.
Its an awesome course, awesome clubhouse, awesome property. Really sweet place.
Hopefully the wind wont be too brutal.
I’ve got a full email of recommendations that I’ve sent to people going to Sea Island in the past. I can post it here but also don’t want to be “that guy” that posts a novel on a message board. Let me know what you’d like.
Go ahead and post it IMO
Here we go then. Sorry if this is too detailed and not entirely on point to the original question–this was sent to a friend earlier. Everyone feel free to add based on your experiences.
Sea Island is one of my favorite place in the world, where I got engaged, and where I hope to go once a year for the rest of my life.
First, there is some geography that is really helpful to know before you go, which I didn’t fully understand before I went the first time. When you exit the interstate and go towards Brunswick, you’re going to cross a big bridge into Brunswick, but you’re still on the mainland. Then you’re going to cross a smaller bridge and you’ll be on Saint Simons Island and the town of Saint Simons. Then there is a smaller causeway bridge from Saint Simons onto Sea Island, which is very small and is primarily the Cloister, the Beach Club (part of the resort), Ocean Forest Golf Club (private), and mega houses. Saint Simons is where The Lodge, The Inn, and the three Sea Island resort golf courses (Seaside, Plantation, Retreat) are located. I’ll put the location of everything below in parenthesis as either Sea Island or Saint Simons so you know where things are, but they are only 2 min. apart.
Recap: Mainland (Brunswick)–>Saint Simons–>Sea Island (only accessible from Saint Simons)
Golf (in order of best to “worst” but there’s not a bad course)
Ocean Forest (Sea Island)–Rees Jones course and private club, top ranked club in the area, must play if you can get on. It’s at the north end of Sea Island so you’ll get to see all the huge houses on the way to the club from The Cloister. Course is on the ocean so it may get a small rankings bump for being on the water.
Frederica Golf Club (Saint Simons)–Tom Fazio course and another private club and a lot of people think it may be better than Ocean Forest but it’s on the river side of the island so you don’t get the ocean views. Impeccably maintained and supposedly one of the best practice facilities in the US. The PGA pros practice here (in addition to Sea Island) because they have all of the PGA grasses on the practice facility.
Seaside (Saint Simons at The Lodge)–the best of the Sea Island Resort courses. I think you should definitely play this one so that you can see the locker rooms at The Lodge. Course is on the water and I’d say get a caddie or forecaddie. Some of the shots aren’t what you’d think the first time you see the course. Course is on the water and I loved it.
Plantation (Saint Simons at The Lodge)–if you’re only playing one round, skip Plantation, but it’s going to be convenient to The Lodge and shares the locker room. It’s being renovated soon, not sure if that’s started yet or not.
Retreat (Saint Simon’s but not at The Lodge)–great course, but the one to skip unless you are playing all of the above.
Beach Club (Sea Island)–if you’re staying at The Lodge or The Inn, you can buy a day pass to the Beach Club. Definitely get lunch and drinks at the Beach Club. Some fun shops there and things like an adult pool, ice cream parlor, etc. that are definitely worth seeing
Lunch at Southern Soul BBQ (Saint Simons)–on the day you don’t go to the Beach Club, go to Southern Soul in town. DL3 has ownership in it and It’s a golf museum in a BBQ joint and some of the best BBQ I’ve had. Casual but worth it!
Men’s Locker Room (Saint Simons)–if you’re golfing at the resort one day, the food in the Men’s Locker Room at The Lodge is great.
River Bar, The Cloister (Sea Island)–if you aren’t staying at The Cloister, you want to go to The Cloister one night to walk around and have drinks/dinner. Go before sundown and walk out back to catch the sunset over the river next to the pool. Of all the places in the Cloister for dinner, we liked the River Bar the best. It’s “casual,” but at The Cloister it’s all relative.
If you would prefer Italian, Tavola is also fantastic in The Cloister, we had our nightcap drinks there every night.
Brunch in The Georgian Room is also great. Only 5 star restaurant in Georgia. Pretty expensive for dinner, but brunch there was about $15 and the best deal if you want to see The Georgian Room.
Delaney’s (Saint Simons)–I think you should go here on the “big” dinner night. It’s in town, but such good food. It’s a somewhat unassuming menu and decor, but then the waiter will give you 15 daily specials and everything we had was fantastic.
Colt & Alison’s (The Lodge, Saint Simons)–great steakhouse right in The Lodge.
Other Things to Do/See
Bagpiper at Sundown at The Lodge (Saint Simons)–every night at sundown, a bagpiper walks down the entire 18th hole of Plantation course out back of The Lodge. Get there 15 min early and get two chairs and order wine or drinks to watch sunset and hear the bagpipe.
Bubba Garcia’s (Saint Simons)–this is the staple Mexican restaurant in town. Food is good and the upstairs bar can be really fun on the weekend. You’ll probably see some of the PGA guys there that aren’t playing in the tournament whichever weekend you’re there. There are a lot of guys with PGA cards that live on Saint Simons, so you are likely to see some faces you recognize.
Practice Facilities at the Sea Island Courses (The Lodge, Saint Simons)–Todd Anderson made his name as a coach at Sea Island and developed some of the best practice facilities here before the PGA hired him down at Sawgrass, but they are just so nice and right on the water.
Spa/gym at The Cloister (Sea Island)–the spa at the Cloister is one of the nicest I’ve seen and the gym there is fantastic as well.
One thing to note is there is a guard house when you get onto Sea Island, so you’ll need reservations or a Sea Island pass from The Lodge or Inn if you want to head over to Sea Island. They take it pretty seriously, so just make sure you have either the reservation or pass!
Hope this wasn’t too much info, but if you have any specific questions, just let me know. You’ll love the trip.
Awesome-this is exactly what I was looking for. We had heard rumblings about the security/guard house on Sea Island, so we made sure we had the passes.
I don’t disagree with any of your writeup.
Just for fun - and to paint a complete/accurate picture of the community - I’ll play the role of Sea Island hater (which I am not, I think its a super sweet place and have spent a ton of time there. I’m amazed how nice they have made it since the makeover that took place a decade ago) and stick up for St. Simons itself.
Like Mortey said, it is important to understand the geography (I spend hours a day on Google Maps. Who doesn’t?) as Sea Island is just a (giant) gated community with a super nice hotel, beach club, and endless streets of really sick private homes.
St. Simons is a lovely little southern beach town that’s great in its own right. Make sure you visit the St. Simons “Village” or the pier at some point to get a feel for the community that is. If you get sick of paying $20 for a cheeseburger and $12 for a beer at the Sea Island beach club, you can go to Brogans in the Village or eat breakfast one day before your round at Palmers. Keep in mind the SSI Village is like a quarter mile from the Sea Island golf courses (aka, the Lodge, which is on SSI). Gnat’s Landing is a great spot too for food and sports.
Also - Sea Island does a nice job of marketing itself by latching onto PGA player - but none of them live on Sea Island (and there is no golf course there other than Ocean Forest, which they don’t really play at and you may not even see). That’s just a smart marketing ploy. They live on St. Simons and are members of Frederica CG and practice there. For Example, Kuchar lives on the beach at St. Simons (on “East Beach”). On more note, as for the ocean, don’t expect the blue waters of the Caribbean. This ain’t the place for that.
Anyways - You’ll have an awesome time. Sea Island is incredible and truly a 5 star resort. Im a huge fan of the Seaside course and the Lodge itself is sweet. But I just wanted to paint a picture of what the real community is like on the island outside the resort. Its a also a great place.
Oh, and like Morety said… Southern Soul BBQ is super dank. Its a must. It has legitimately been named “best BBQ” by countless publications.
One more thing… you should look forward the entrance/driveway into the Sea Island golf course property (the Lodge). It’s got a Magnolia Lane vibe to it but with those big southern oak trees and all their Spanish moss that are such a staple of the area. Its a cool entrance.
Yep, everything added here is great. Check out SSI Village and, and if you’re staying on Saint Simons at the Sea Island Inn (stayed there before, great for the price) or not staying on a Sea Island property, make sure you have the passes to get onto Sea Island. And several of my food recs–Southern Soul BBQ, Bubba Garcia’s, Delaney’s–are on Saint Simons and not affiliated with the resort if you want to try somewhere this isn’t owned by Sea Island.
A buddy has suggested a golf weekend at Sea Island November 30-December 2, and I just might be able to make the timing work, but I notice that the Seaside Course seems to be closed for something called the Mariner Chalice that weekend. If we can’t play Seaside (and assuming we don’t know anyone who is going to get us on at Ocean Forest or Frederica), is it worth the trip to just play Plantation and Retreat? It looks like Plantation shuts down for a renovation right after that weekend.
Agree with what others have said. I stayed down there for four nights in early December 2017. The Cloister was pretty quiet during an off-season time, which we didn’t mind. The hotel itself was fine; our room felt and looked a little dated in spots. Restaurants in the hotel were good; we ate at each one at least once with the exception of the Georgian Room. Colt and Alison over at the lodge is a nice high-end steakhouse. It’s more to the formal side as opposed to something lively (read: louder) like a Del Friscos or Ruths Chris. The bar at the Lodge (near Colt and Alison) is a cool spot.
Seaside is a really good track. Had a great caddie for two rounds. Guy named Eric.
I was pleasantly surprised at how good/fun Plantation was. I hit Seaside three times and Plantation only once; While Seaside is the big name course, I’d balance out my rounds more next time. Retreat was meh. Would not play again if I was down there for limited time. Fine but just doesn’t stand up to Seaside / Plantation.
Lots of pros make the area their home. Saw Patton Kizzire having a cocktail with friends at the Lodge bar one evening. Saw Zach Johnson and entourage at the Cloister. Might have been awkward had I been wearing my NLU gear
Trip is booked. Staying at The Lodge, tee times at all three courses, reservation for Colt & Alison one night, planning SSI (Southern Soul) for the other night. Is there a bar at The Lodge that stays open somewhat late? I can’t wait, it’s been 10 years and 2 kids since I went on a true guys’ golf trip.
Thinking about Sea Island for a pre-Masters weekend. Looks like there are plenty of good options for Air BnBs in St. Simons to make swallowing $300 golf more palatable. Is the village a fun spot to grab a few drinks in the evening after we play?
It is. Also, hit Southern Soul BBQ while you are there. If you’re looking for a good dinner, Tramici is a casual Italian spot with absolutely incredible food and very reasonably priced.
Beachcomber BBQ > Southern Soul.
Beachcomber has a nice feel and the ability to walk up from the beach but I dont think anyone can honestly say that their BBQ is better.
FYI if you dont have an in with a member, I’m pretty sure you have to stay at a Sea Island resort in order to play their courses. Village is an awesome spot check out Brogans for a solid burger & beer. You’ll find most of the locals (and maybe a pro golfer or two) at Mellow Mushroom or Bubbas
I visit SSI a handful of times a year and don’t get on Sea Island as much as I would like to. That said, I’ll speak for the common man and public courses for the area.
King & Prince Course - This can be the best value play on the course. It’s on the north side of island past Fredrica, but a fun course with a beautiful layout. I’ve played for anywhere from $50-150, including cart.
Heritage Oaks - In Brunswick, my family and I play this course every year when in town for the Ga/Fla game. I’ve seen it change for better over the past few years. Has some strange parts to it, but a good beer drinking round with some fun shots. Never been terribly busy. Probably a 25 min drive from SSI.
Sea Palms - Not the greatest value. They are the most convient public course on the island so they charge for it. Typically, not in the greatest shape. But hey its playable and super easy to get to if you’re staying on the island.
Sanctuary - Another one in Brunswick. I’ve only played here once. If I remember correctly this is one of Fred Couples’ courses and they’re trying to get it up to snuff. It’s similar to heritage oaks. Wish I could give you more here, but I don’t remember terribly much from my round here. Don’t let that turn you away from it.
Anyways, you can’t beat SSI in terms of laid backnesses. I echo everyone with Southern soul rec, as it’s my favorite place in the world. I would suggest getting there a touch before open to avoid the line if you’re going on a popular travel weekend. One place I haven’t seen mentioned on here is Georgia Sea Grill, in the village, it’ll be one of the better meals you’ve had in your life too.
Does anybody recall what their greens fees were the most recent time they went down to Sea Island? Should hopefully be able to pay “guest” fees instead of the resort fees. Not sure they are different?
Planning a weekend trip there this spring. Trying to know what $$$ I am looking at before heading down there.