Harbour Town Golf Links – Played 2014
- Rankings: Golf Digest #96, Golf Digest Public #18, Golf Magazine #42, Golf Magazine Public #12
- Location: 32 Greenwood Drive, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
- Year: 1969
- Architect: Pete Dye & Jack Nicklaus
- Course Access: Public
- Walking Rules: Carts & Caddies Available
Score Card Information:
- Heritage: 6,973 yards, Par 71, 75.0 Rating/146 Slope
- Dye: 6,603 yards, Par 71, 73.0 Rating/141 Slope
- Sea Pines: 6,040 yards, Par 71, 70.3 Rating/134 Slope
- Palmetto: 5,208 yards, Par 71, 70.7 Rating/124 Slope
This gem has been home to a PGA Tour event since 1969. It is one of the few finesse courses on that circuit requiring players to work the ball both ways through tight driving areas. Once they get past the drives, tiny greens await them. Pete Dye, along with Nicklaus, created a very unique course that is vexing to pros and amateurs alike. Because of its uniqueness, the course is highly regarded among touring professionals. Some of the notable winners of the event include Matt Kuchar, Graeme McDowell, Jim Furyk, Davis Love III, Hale Irwin, Payne Stewart, Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus, and Arnold Palmer.
In addition to Harbour Town, a resort is also on the property with three other golf courses making staying close extremely easy. However, if you want to walk up and play the option exists. That is what I did on a Sunday in February in between some traveling for work. I played with a great group. We had a mandatory forecaddie, but he turned out to be awesome providing great advice and being an exceedingly nice guy.
On to the course tour where I played the Dye tees.
Hole 1 – 392 yards – Par 4
Ok, so remember what I said about tight driving areas. Here you go right off the bat. A slight fade fits best here.
Hole 2 – 495 yards – Par 5
The second can be reachable in two after a big drive. A fade works well again here.
This looks like a hallway to me. In a change of pace from the first two holes a draw works best here. Tree trouble is all around.
Hole 4 – 187 yards – Par 3
This is quintessential early Pete Dye with the railroad ties all around the hazard. This look also reminds me the most of watching the tournament on TV.
This hole doglegs to the left and is one of the more open driving areas on the course. A slinging draw plays wonderfully here.
There is plenty of trouble on both sides of the fairway on the sixth. A slight fade up the middle is your only safe option. Aim carefully.
There is a large bunker to avoid when hitting to this green. These large trees are confining, but pretty visually.
Look at this place! I am getting claustrophobic. A draw off the V-shaped tree is a good line off this tee.
I hit one of the best recovery shots of my life here. A hybrid from the left trees with a big hook to about 15 feet had me feeling pretty good. The green is guarded by a bunker and water hazard if you veer to far to the left. Oh and no, I didn’t make the putt.
This is a short hole that only requires something in the 200 yard range. It should give you a break from hitting your driver down the chute.
I missed the tee shot at the tenth, but it is a dogleg left. The approach shot plays slightly uphill to a green flanked by trees on the right. A fade provides the most open route to the green.
We are back amongst the trees. A draw plays well on this hole.
A good shot of our awesome forecaddie in action. This hole doglegs to the right and favors a fade.
Your drive at the thirteenth plays out of a tight chute. If you can use a shorter club for accuracy it makes sense here.
This is the home stretch for the tournament. The tee shot here can induce shortness of breath. Any shot short or right is going to be wet. Any miss to the left has you chipping back towards the water. You might as well just hit is in the middle of the green.
This is a pretty stout hole. Bust one up the middle and prepare for a layup unless you are a bomber.
This is the last part of the course in the trees. Aside from the fairway bunker the tree shot is pretty open. A draw will leave you with a wedge or short iron into the green.
This is a marvelous hole and probably the second most famous on the property. There is trouble all over on the left side with the water and the bunker. A miss long is also not desirable.
Here is the iconic 18th hole with the Calibouge Sound seen to the left and the lighthouse in the distance. It is a wide fairway that accommodates any shot shape.
I don’t hit the ball overly straight, but I still had a great time on this course. You definitely have to move the ball both ways and the course makes you think all the way around. The small greens will require a great deal of short game wizardry. However, if you hit them a good chance at birdie awaits. The course was in great shape and the greens were running smooth. I was glad I could recount the round as I started my long drive for work. If you get the chance to play this gem, take it.