HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – Sea Pines Country Club, Hilton Head Island’s premier private club offering a luxury, Lowcountry lifestyle, has named James Swift Director of Golf.
Originally from West Palm Beach, Fla., Swift has enjoyed a 25-year golf career spanning three states and a handful of prestigious clubs. He joins Sea Pines Country Club from Belfair in nearby Bluffton, where he was the Director of Golf for nearly a decade and instrumental in the club’s successful staging of the 2019 PGA Professional Championship.
"I couldn't be more thrilled to join the Sea Pines Country Club family,” Swift says. “I'm looking forward to meeting the golfers and helping everyone get the most from their golf experience. I'm especially happy to be here at this exciting time of expansion and improvements to such a well-respected course.”
Swift graduated from Queens University of Charlotte where he was a four-year golf team letterman, followed by apprenticeships in the Queen City as an assistant golf professional at Carmel and Myers Park Country Clubs from 1994-1999.
Shortly after, he moved to Pennsylvania to work as the director of tournament operations at Pittsburgh's famed Oakmont Country Club, where he worked under PGA Master Professional Bob Ford and earned his PGA Class A Professional Membership in 2001. Prior to his time at Belfair, he was also the Director of Golf at The Santaluz Club in San Diego for seven years and the Club at Longview in Charlotte for four years.
“James is a valuable addition to our team, and he brings a great deal of experience, insight and vision to the director of golf position,” says General Manager and Chief Operating Officer Robbie Ames. “We’re excited to have him help lead us during the club’s golf course and practice facility enhancements.”
Sea Pines Country Club has approved a two-phase enhancement plan for its Arnold Palmer, Clyde Johnston golf course including a greatly expanded practice facility, new designated short-game area and complete re-grassing of all tees, greens and fairways.
Golf course architect Phil Smith, who recently completed a full masterplan for the 6,383-yard layout, is leading the project alongside Ames, Swift and Golf Course Superintendent Tom Metzger. Jacksonville, Florida-based MacCurrach Golf will oversee shaping and construction.
Work on Phase I, comprising the practice facility, short-game area and re-grassing, will start May 1, 2021 and is scheduled for completion by Oct. 31, 2021. Phase II, slated for development and construction between 2028 and 2030, entails a full-scale renovation of the golf course coinciding with the installation of a new irrigation system.
The practice facility expansion will lengthen the range floor by 50 yards, expand the depth and width of the tee area for additional hitting stations and double the size of the practice putting green. New target greens will be placed at various angles with yardage intervals ranging from 70 to 250 yards. The designated short-game area will feature a multi-tiered chipping green and two bunkers for honing sand shots.
Fairways and tees will be fully re-sprigged with Celebration Bermuda grass, the PGA Tour-caliber turf used at neighboring Sea Pines Resort on RBC Heritage host course Harbour Town Golf Links. Greens will be sprigged with TifEagle Bermuda grass and putting surfaces restored to their original size, allowing for additional pin placements and improved approach shot receptivity.
About Sea Pines Country Club
Sea Pines Country Club is a private, member-owned club within the gates of the famed 5,000-acre Sea Pines community on storied Hilton Head Island. Its centerpiece is a meticulously maintained golf course designed by the legendary Arnold Palmer and updated by Hilton Head-based golf course architect Clyde Johnston in 2001.
Eminently playable, the 6383-yard Lowcountry gem is routed through thick strands of Spanish Moss-draped live oaks and towering Carolina pines. Its subtle doglegs and canopied corridors lead to beguiling green complexes flanked by languid lagoons and coastal landscapes.
Members relish the club’s expansive outdoor deck overlooking one of the island’s largest tidal marshes. Here, they soak up the South Carolina sun while cooling off in the waters of the 24-meter lap pool as children play in the fountains of the kids’ splash pool just a few feet away. A wide selection of food and beverage options ranging from smoothies, salads and sandwiches to pizzas, wraps and burgers are available poolside via the Café.
The club’s completely reimagined clubhouse is highlighted by contemporary, casual dining at the Blue Heron Pub & Grille and a 7,300-square-foot fitness center with leading cardio and strength training equipment, classrooms, infrared saunas and indoor saline lap pool. Members enjoy an array of amenities and activities, including tennis, pickleball, bocce and numerous social clubs.