Often referred to in the PGA simply as “Hilton Head”, Harbour Town Golf Links is ranked high among golf courses in America by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine.
The course consists of narrow fairways, overhanging oaks, pines, palmettos, and dark lagoons. Harbour Town, along with the Atlantic Dunes (formerly known as Ocean Course) and Heron Point, make up the Sea Pines Resort.
Harbour Town Golf Links was designed by Pete Dye in 1967 with the help of professional golfer Jack Nicklaus. Dye also designed another course in the Sea Pines Resort, Heron Point, which he redesigned in 2007. The course is open all year, even during overseeding in October and the aerating of the greens in June, July, and August.
The holes at Harbour Town Golf Links consist of seven different types of grass.
Five of the grass types, four of which are Bermudas, are able to withstand the heat during the warm summer months of Hilton Head Island. The other two grass types are annually overseeded in October in order to keep the course green during the cold months. The rye grass that is planted in October is only temporary and will eventually die out when the weather warms up, and the Bermuda grass is no longer dormant. The fairways and rough consist of 419 Bermuda grass.
The tee boxes are made up of Celebration Bermuda as well as TifSports Bermuda. The fairways, rough, and tee boxes are overseeded with rye grass in October. Several tee boxes are composed of Empire Zoysia which does not become dormant in the winter. Harbour Town Golf Link’s greens consist of TifEagle Bermuda which is overseeded with Poa Trivialis in October.
A relatively short for a PGA Tour event, Harbour Town Golf Links is a par 71 course and 7,099 yards from the back tees.
Several holes have a very small margin of error between greens and water hazards (4, 8, 14, 17, 18). Tee shots and lay-ups must be placed in the strategic part of fairway in order to have a direct shot into the green. Sometimes golfers get blocked out by overhanging trees, even if they are in the fairway. Holes in which players may be blocked out from the fairway include numbers 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, and 16. Compared to other courses Harbour Town has a high percentage of holes with this challenge.
The ninth hole is a tight par 4 that can be reached from the tee with a long drive. It normally plays around 325 yards, tempting golfers to go for a small green guarded by bunkers. The two finishing holes are along Calibogue Sound, so the water line can vary due to changing tides. The hazard line is permanent, but shots can be played off the sand at low tide. On the final two holes, wind off the water must be factored in. The eighteenth is the signature hole and heads northward. Its entire left side is guarded by the sound and the right is lined with out-of-bounds stakes. The red-and-white-striped Harbour Town lighthouse is a backdrop. It often serves as a good target for approach shots to the green.
Beginning in 1969, Harbour Town Golf Links has hosted the annual RBC Heritage on the PGA Tour.
It is held in April the weekend following the Masters’ Tournament. It is the only PGA Tour event that is annually held in South Carolina.
The inaugural tournament, “The Heritage Golf Classic”, was held in late November 1969, with a winner’s share of $20,000. Forty-year-old Arnold Palmer claimed the first victory in 1969 with 283 (–1). The Heritage Classic, undergoing several different official names, has been held at Harbour Town annually since 1969. The founder of Sea Pines, Charles E. Fraser, started the tradition of the Heritage Classic. The tournament is always started with a ceremonial tee shot into Calibogue Sound by the defending champion. A cannon is fired simultaneously as the ball is struck.
Winning scores vary considerably from year to year because of the different challenges. Tour players may take advantage of the short yardages and wedge shots into the greens. At the same time, they run the risk of finding themselves in the thick trees with no shot or in a water hazard. Champions now win a prize of over $1.2 million, as well as the traditional tartan plaid jacket.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.