Opening ceremonies for RBC Heritage Tuesday afternoon

Published: Apr. 11, 2023 at 5:47 AM EDT
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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WTOC) - It’s a big day at the RBC Heritage golf tournament on Hilton Head.

The opening ceremonies for the RBC Heritage is Tuesday at Harbour Town.

Aside from the actual rounds of golf, many say this is a day they most look forward to at the Heritage, with opening ceremonies setting the tone for the rest of the week.

Opening ceremonies are set for noon, along with a parade from Liberty Oak at Harbour Town Yacht Basin ending on the 18th green.

2023 RBC Heritage Opening Ceremony

#WATCH: The opening ceremony for the 2023 RBC Heritage on Hilton Head Island.

Posted by WTOC-TV on Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Defending champ Jordan Spieth along with tournament officials will march in the parade, joined by the Citadel’s Regimental Pipe Band.

Also happening Tuesday, pros will take part in practice rounds.

And then at 2 p.m., children 15 and under can putt alongside the pros at the Harbour Town Golf Links putting green behind the clubhouse. Fans across the island say they’re excited to welcome professional golf back to Hilton Head.

“Been getting out there and seeing how good those guys really are is awesome. We all try to get out there and do it ourselves but seeing it in real life and hearing the sound that comes off the club when these guys hit it is pretty special to see in person,” said Kyle Putkonen, HHI Golf Shoppe.

If you are planning on coming to see the opening ceremony, here’s what you need to know. Gates are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Free parking with a shuttle to the Harbor Town Marina is at the Coastal Discovery Museum, 70 Honey Horn Drive, and runs from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. There is no general parking in Sea Pines.

You must have a ticket to get into the tournament grounds.

Fans aren’t the only ones gearing up for a big week of golf, local businesses are hoping for a hole in one this tournament week.

Tournament organizers say this event is so much more than what happens on the golf course. From the hotels, to the restaurants, and the shops. It takes effort from just about everyone on the island.

That means more money, more players, and, yes, more spectators.

“You definitely see it. Traffic wise, capacity wise with hotels, timeshares, and whatnot. It’s definitely here,” said Marci Kinabey, G.M., Nectar Farm Kitchen.

Marci Kinabey manages a restaurant just outside the Sea Pines resort. It’s a big week for her staff preparing to feed hundreds of tournament visitors.

“And we’ve just prepared by staffing up, making sure we have product in house, and accommodating guests as they come in.”

Across the island, Kyle Putkonen is opening one of the only golf shops on Hilton Head.

“This is a perfect time, I think, to do the grand opening. Golf is such a great game, and this is a good area for golf,” said Putkonen, owner of HHI Golf Shoppe.

The longtime Heritage attendee is hoping the renewed golf craze means a successful opening week for his new store.

“The buzz, the excitement, the fun, the people, the crowds, the roars, it’s just awesome to hear and see in person,” said Putkonen.

This year’s field of players is expected to draw thousands.

“We’re seeing it now and anticipate it more because of the higher purse and some top players – top names basically,” said KinabeyKinabey.

Those names include defending winner Jordan Spieth and Masters champ Jon Rahm, as fans and businesses alike set their eyes on the opening ceremony, signaling the official start to festivities.

Many of the businesses we talked to said crowds start as early as this weekend for the Easter holiday, and they don’t expect a slowdown until early next week.