Heritage is big. But less is more.
You’ve often heard that “less is more.” And then there’s “bigger is better.” Can these statements coexist? When it comes to our own RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing, the right balance is displayed. Over the 50 years since its inception, we’ve filled this exciting week with many fitting examples. Let’s celebrate them again this year as we honor the golden anniversary of this hallmark Hilton Head Island event.
Only a few PGA tournaments have achieved this pretty big distinction. The Masters, the Dean and Deluca Invitational, the Sony Open in Hawaii and AT&T Pebble Beach are the exceptional company we keep. But it takes big effort, big commitment and big vision for a small island’s event to make it to this short list, and our tournament has been big when and where it counts.
It all began with a few big names: a Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course and the one and only Arnold Palmer as inaugural champion. It continues with World No. 1 Dustin Johnson making the trip to Harbour Town this year in search of some tartan plaid. Our big sponsors, the Royal Bank of Canada and the Boeing Company are committed to the tournament’s success as they are to the prominence they enjoy in their businesses.
What’s also big is the giving spirit of the community. The Heritage Classic Foundation has distributed $38 million to charities since 1987. Its mission statement says volumes: “Local charitable causes enhance the quality of life of all.” Non-profit groups that run concession stands throughout the event produced nearly $250,000 for their charities last year alone. And we all know and benefit from the more than 1,200 volunteers who work throughout tournament week, exuding energy, enthusiasm, selflessness, and contagious joy. We couldn’t ask for better partners and island ambassadors. Islanders do giving and hospitality on a grand scale.
We have big exposure, too. In April, we welcome the world to our home. Broadcasts during the RBC Heritage are aired in 23 languages to 226 countries beyond the borders of our United States. This equates to a potential one billion viewers, plus online and social media exposure. But that’s where all this “big” and “more” balances with the beauty of our unique island. The course itself may be smaller than others, but that makes it more distinct. Pros comment that they “don’t need length for a great golf course,” and “you have to shape the ball on almost every hole.” Also distinguished are the best practices employed, such as caddie hospitality and the childcare program, both of which allow players’ families to enjoy every bit of the event.
But the setting – the setting is where we really experience the value of less is more. Here on Hilton Head Island, the nexus of people and place allows for the enhancement of each. We know it and so do those who visit. They see the natural resources, the lifestyle of the island, and they realize what draws us again and again.
Emphasizing “less is more” are Harbour Town’s certification as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary and Hilton Head Island’s designation as one of South Carolina’s first Audubon International Certified Sustainable Communities. In 2017, the RBC Heritage became the first PGA tour event to be GEO Certified, excelling in waste management practices, diversions from landfills, water conservation and carbon reduction using renewable energy. Less intrusion. More conservation. Less impact on the natural resources. More natural resources to enjoy. This year we delight in April with the tartan plaid-wrapped Harbour Town Lighthouse. We celebrate the setting of Calibogue Sound, the flora and fauna, the sounds and smells. They need no embellishment, because less is often so much more.