PGA TOUR players seek rest and recreation on Sea Island when they’re not on the green.
By Damon M. Banks
It’s no surprise that more PGA TOUR pros live and train on Sea Island than any other golf destination in the country. The resort’s world-class golf club is right on the gorgeous coast, and the surrounding terrain and climate afford golfers a place for both rest and recreation. So when they stash their clubs and step away from the course, many of them choose to spend their free time on the island as well. Big names like Matt Kuchar, Chris Kirk, Brian Harman and Harris English can commonly be found around the resort, relaxing and spending time with those they love most.
Kuchar, a pro since 2000, now has seven tour wins under his belt. With a busy travel and practice schedule, he takes to Sea Island for the quality time it affords for his family. As a golfer who likes to stay active, he and his wife, Sybi, often spend time on the tennis courts together. “Matt and I take our racquets everywhere,” Sybi Kuchar says. “It’s great exercise and a good escape from golf. The [tennis] facility at Sea Island is beautiful.”
Off the courts, the couple and their two sons like to spend their mornings taking runs on the beach or paddleboarding at the Beach Club. “Grabbing a fish taco at Flip Flop [Bistro] for lunch is a must,” she explains, adding that the family generally plays the afternoons by ear. The Kuchars enjoy having the flexibility to try new activities every day at Sea Island, and favorite pastimes include fishing, shooting skeet, swimming and relaxing at the spa. “To end the perfect Sea Island day, we [have] a drink at the River Bar and proceed to Tavola for dinner.”
A pro since 2007 with two PGA TOUR wins, Kirk understands the value of being able to spend the day without making a schedule. When he goes off the radar, Sea Island is his favorite locale to get away from it all. Taking a cue from Davis Love III, a personal friend, the Atlanta native enjoys the view from a paddleboard to clear his mind and stay in shape while not on tour.
Kirk explains, “The fitness benefits [of stand-up paddleboarding] are tremendous. I get a great core workout. … It’s a wonderful way for me to decompress and relax after weeks of traveling on the PGA TOUR. Sea Island is such an ideal place for paddleboarding because it provides the serenity of the back rivers, as well as the challenge of the surf.”
The simple luxury of not being on a schedule is what Kirk appreciates most about his time at the resort. After spending the morning on the water, he explains, “The afternoon is a perfect time to visit the Beach Club to meet family and friends for great food and drinks at Southern Tide. … When I’m on the island recovering from my hectic PGA TOUR schedule, this is the perfect day.”
A pro since 2009 and a Savannah native, Harman also feels right at home on the water at Sea Island. Instead of paddleboarding, he prefers to be in a boat with his brother and father while the three fish in the waters off the Georgia coast.
“You are able to bottom fish … miles offshore, which allows you to catch mackerel, barracuda, and my favorite-tasting fish, cobia,” Harman says. “When you get back to The Cloister, you can bring your catch in and a chef will cook it to your liking that evening.”
Harman can also be found at the shooting range at Broadfield, A Sea Island Sporting Club and Lodge, or teaming up with other pro golfers, such as Love III, for a quail hunt. “The quail hunt is a once-in-a-lifetime [experience in most places], and I am able to do it every year,” he explains of the opportunities Sea Island hunting affords. “I do enjoy my life on the PGA TOUR, but when I come home, I want to relax, and being alone on the range provides me that opportunity.”
The activities are endless at Sea Island, where golfers can shed their woods, wedges and putters for fun off the course. If rest is on the schedule, many may consider a day at the Beach Club or lying by a pool. English, a pro since 2011 with two tour wins, is quick to explain that his favorite Sea Island activity off the fairway is mastering the art of relaxation.
“The Beach Club and Southern Tide bar are perfect releases from my everyday stress. … It’s like a vacation without going anywhere,” he describes. “I always take my friends to the Beach Club. … It has everything we need to have a perfect day of relaxation. … From good food, good drinks, good music and great service, you can’t go wrong.”