Spanish Wells Club celebrates 50 years of operations

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The dock at the Spanish Wells Club offers some of the best sunset views on Hilton Head Island. Membership is open to all island residents. SPANISH WELLS CLUB

Spanish Wells Club, which opened its original golf course in 1969, will celebrate 50 years with a member gala Oct. 26 at the clubhouse on Bram's Point Road.

The course is the centerpiece of Spanish Wells Plantation, developed in 1961 by John McIntosh, one of the original developers on Hilton Head Island. The plantation was envisioned to provide a secluded and spacious community, in contrast to the hustle and bustle of Sea Pines and the island's south end.

The 300-acre community boasts 200 one-acre homesites, all either overlooking Broad Creek, Calibogue Sound or the golf course.

The nine-hole course was designed by George Cobb, designer of the Ocean Course in Sea Pines and the par 3 course at Augusta National. The course was re-designed by Clyde Johnston in 2005 in the Lowcountry tradition, with multiple tees offering an 18-hole golf experience.

Along with a full golf program, Spanish Wells offers an active tennis program, a swimming center with pool and cabana, kayak storage, and a clubhouse with the Calibogue Room for private parties and celebration, the informal Holbrook Grill, an outdoor dining patio and pro shop.

The Clubhouse occupies a stunning site overlooking Calibogue Sound, next to Battery Holbrook, a Civil War gun placement constructed by Confederate forces. The developer picked one of the most picturesque locations on Hilton Head for the island's only waterfront clubhouse, offering spectacular sunset views.

Once considered relatively remote, since the opening of the Cross Island Parkway and bridge over Broad Creek in 1998, Spanish Wells Plantation is now easily accessed from both ends of Hilton Head Island. The communities along Marshland Road and Spanish Well Road are similarly enjoying a renaissance with new residential communities and private homes now dotting the area.

"'You don't have to live at Spanish Wells to be a club member' is our new slogan," said Bill Vaughan, the club's general manager and PGA pro.

"We've had a flurry of new members lately," he said. "Many are younger island residents who appreciate our amenities and affordable club structure. We're also seeing second generations who grew up in Spanish Wells now moving back to raise their families here. It's an exciting time for all of us."

The October gala will honor Ted Wells, the long-time golf course superintendent who recently retired after 37 years. Other key players in Spanish Wells Club's history will be recognized.

Karen Cerrati is a freelance writer on Hilton Head Island.

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