Long Cove Club may be renowned for its championship Pete Dye golf course, but members of this private Hilton Head Island neighborhood are equally proud of the community's giving spirit.
In 2003, Long Cove became the first community on Hilton Head Island to establish a charitable endowment fund. Supported by member contributions, the philanthropic organization has raised more than $500,000 to help local non-profit groups working in the areas of health, housing, hunger and education.
"It's an example of the type of community Long Cove is," said retired Exxon Mobile executive Allan Pinne. "We've all had good lives and want to help others have good lives, too."
One of Hilton Head Island's most exclusive neighborhoods, Long Cove is set on 630 acres of sentinel pine and live oak forest overlooking sweeping salt marshes, freshwater lagoons and the beautiful Broad Creek. In the early 1970s, three young men – David Ames, Joseph Webster III and Weston "Wes" Wilhelm – learned about sustainable development working for the Sea Pines Company. Six years later, they ventured out on their own to found Long Cove. The community opened in 1981, offering private, single-family living removed from all the resort hubbub. Today, there are approximately 420 homes and 150 lots within its gates.
Located mid-island off William Hilton Parkway, Long Cove is a short bike ride from the beach and area parks. Just outside the community's gate are first-class restaurants, shopping, grocery stores and schools.
Paige and Tom Berrigan and their children, Tommy, Grace and John, have been Long Cove members since 2003.
"We can spend time doing things we love together as a family without ever leaving our community," Paige Berrigan said. "Summers mean riding bikes, swimming at the pool and crabbing or fishing down at the docks."
On one particularly memorable outing to the waterfront, the Berrigan children spotted a manatee at the docks. The manatee surfaced and came close enough for the kids to pet it.
"It was a real special moment," Paige Berrigan recalled. But it's Long Cove's eighteen-hole championship course that receives most of the notoriety, appearing regularly in national rankings of top golf courses. The more than 7,000-yard, par-71 course is widely hailed as one of Dye's finest designs. "It's a golf course that's very fair and playable for the higher handicappers and less skilled players," said head golf professional Bob Patton, "but at the same time very challenging and interesting for the highest level of player, right up to the best players in the world."
A golf teaching center offers members the opportunity to enhance their golf game with state-of-the-art equipment and personal attention. This summer, Long Cove hosted the 19th annual American Junior Golf Association Rolex Girls Championship. Other prestigious events held at the club have included the USGA's U.S. Mid Amateur Championship in 1991 and the U.S. Women's Mid Amateur Championship in 2003.
In addition to the 85-slip marina and golf course, amenities include a tennis center with eight Har-Tru courts (four lighted), a dog park, playground, Junior Olympic-sized pool, book exchange, farm plots and butterfly garden. Golf usage fees are extra, but everything else, including boat dockage, is covered in the club's annual assessment.
At the heart of the community is the Southern-styled clubhouse featuring two dining rooms, a bar/lounge and men's and ladies' locker rooms. Here, residents come together for a variety of parties and cookouts, from casual oyster roasts to the Commodore's black tie dinner.