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Apr 1, 2021

Palmetto Dunes Brings Virtual Golf to the Driving Range

Tim Wood

Photography By

The new Toptracer Range offers a high-tech way to improve your game and enjoy a competitive night out with friends.

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The golf resort that has long been the epicenter for innovation in the Lowcountry and the South is once again bringing a next-level interactive experience to island golfers. The driving range at Palmetto Dunes’ Robert Trent Jones course opened March 29 after a high-tech makeover that will now allow both scratch handicaps and weekend warriors to feel like they’re in the middle of a network TV telecast.

The range now features Toptracer technology, which allows players to receive instant feedback after each swing, play virtual courses, and compete against friends. It’s the same tech you see on CBS and NBC after each golfer’s tee shot.

Serious and casual golfers yearning for a data-driven range experience will now get their fix. Toptracer, owned by TopGolf, brings the tech-focused golf craze sweeping the nation to the Jones course driving range.

“It’s exciting to bring this enhanced experience both to our locals and out-of-town resort visitors and to give the Lowcountry a first-of-its-kind entertainment offering,” said Brad Marra, Palmetto Dunes Resort’s chief operating officer.

Palmetto Dunes is the first on Hilton Head Island and in the entire Southeast to introduce the Toptracer technology, which uses high-speed cameras and computer algorithms to give instantaneous ball-tracking information to guests using the range.

“Toptracer picks up the ball flight, ball speed and a number of data points and displays the information on TV monitors in each bay,” said Jones course general manager Stephen Arnold. “So now, you’re not just hitting practice balls at the range. You’re getting real-time information to sharpen your game.”

The Toptracer Range system has been installed at more than 350 ranges in 31 countries. Toptracer includes a My Practice mode that helps players learn the nuances of each club in their bag and stores their stats on the system’s smartphone app to allow you to track your progress with each visit. The renovated range features 15 covered outdoor bays—the first covered range in the Lowcountry—that give both locals and visitors a new competitive entertainment experience.


Toptracer offers a number of different skills challenges including a closest to the pin game, an approach challenge to fine-tune iron play as you’re tested with nine different approach shots played on a choice of legendary courses. Or, try the Points Game to battle for points based on distance and accuracy hitting in-air targets. Families will enjoy the Go Fish option, which challenges players individually or as a team to catch 24 different sea creatures and as many stars as they can as they’re hitting range balls. Finally, there is the Virtual Golf mode, where you’ll be able to play some of the world’s most legendary courses like St. Andrews, Harbour Town, Pebble Beach, and Spyglass Hill right from your bay.

Players will also be able to compete against golfers worldwide in virtual tournaments and special events hosted by Toptracer. The app tracks weekly, monthly and all-time leaders worldwide in each of the Toptracer challenges.

“So not only are you able to continually track your stats, your new personal bests and your improvement at our range, but you’re competing against players around the world,” Arnold said.

Marra and Arnold said the Palmetto Dunes crew saw the Toptracer tech at a PGA trade show 18 months ago and immediately knew they needed to bring this to the Lowcountry. “Our jaws just dropped. It just gives everyone from beginners to experts a whole new way to experience and evolve their game,” Arnold said. “Now, as we’re battling this pandemic, this gives folks a safe outdoor option to get out and have a whole lot of fun.”

“We’ve prided ourselves in being a hub for innovation through the years, so this is just a logical next step for us,” Marra said. That attention to detail combined with the course’s demanding layout and panoramic ocean views has consistently made Palmetto Dunes one of the most lauded golf resorts in the country.
The range will continue to primarily serve the more than 200 golfers per day that play the Jones course, giving increased amenities to their core base of locals and resort visitors. A couple of the bays will be available to rent during the day to the general public. The full range will be available to the public each day from 4 to 9 p.m.

Each of the 14 main bays accommodates up to four players. There is an additional VIP bay, a separate enclosed bay that gives up to 10 people a private party space. The range can also be rented for private parties and corporate outings.

Bays can be rented for $34 per hour until 4 p.m. and $44 per hour after 4 p.m. That includes a bucket of 100 balls, with additional balls available for purchase ($10 for 70 balls, $14 for 100).

Players can also rent the latest and greatest in Callaway clubs for $10.

Both Marra and Arnold are excited to bring an anxiety-free way to give a heightened entertainment experience to both the everyday golfer and the player who hasn’t picked up a club in 10 years. “There is an intimidation factor to getting out on the course that this eliminates,” Marra said. “It gives players an entryway into the fun of golf and will give them the feedback and the confidence to come out and try our courses. 

To make a reservation or learn more about the Toptracer Range, visit palmettodunestoptracerrange.com or call the Palmetto Dunes reservation center at (844) 546-8943.

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