The Heritage of Sea Island

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By: Katie Bonneau, AJGA Communications Intern

In 1908, Howard Coffin, the founder of Sea Island Company, founded Hudson Motor Company. At the Age of 36, he pioneered a car design that could be mass produced and sold for less than one –thousand dollars.

In 1911, Matilda and Howard Coffin were captivated by the island of Sapelo, located south of Savannah.

Later, in 1926, Bill Jones and Howard Coffin found Sea Island Investments. Coffin continued to fall in love with the island of Sapelo and its surrounding area. He purchased tracts on both St. Simons Island and a sliver of land next to it, now named Sea Island.

In 1928, The Cloister started being built. Many dignitaries visited Sea Island to attend the gala opening of the hotel.

Course Scenery - Ruins of House


In 1933, the Great Depression was in full force, especially throughout the Georgia coast. Though many of the people in the area had no real money, the Sea Island Company and adjoining towns came to an agreement that Sea Island money could be used in certain places around the area. The Sea Island Company then issued a script to their employees so the economy could sustain itself even when President Roosevelt shut down the banks.

Though Howard Coffin died in 1937, The Cloister and Sea Island Company continued to thrive as the end of the Great Depression neared.

From 1946 to 1956, many rich adversaries donated land and funds to the hotel and island, keeping it one of the most distinguished places in Georgia.

In 1966, Bill Jones, Jr. becomes president of the Sea Island Company. He focused on the expansion of the hotel and offering more activities for guests of all ages. This addition took almost 30 years.

In 1992, Bill Jones III took over and became president of the Sea Island Bompany.

Course Scenery - Photo of Course Founder


Throughout the years of 1998 and 1999, The Plantation and Sea Side golf courses were developed by Rees Jones and Tom Fazio.

In 2001, The Lodge at Sea Island was built and the Retreat Course was renovated with the help of Davis Love III and Mark Love.

In 2004, big things happened for the Sea Island Golf Club when the International G8 Summit was held at The Lodge. In 2010, Sea Island Acquisition purchased the Sea Island Company.

As of 2013, The Cloister, The Lodge, the Georgian Room at The Cloister, and The Spa at Sea Island received Forbes Five-Star Awards for the fifth consecutive year.


Course Scenery - #1 and #2 Resorts in the US