Harbour Town Golf Links---Hilton Head, SC
Rankings of the last time I played it (2/20/2010)
-Ranked the 75th best course in the US, 13th best public course in the US, and 3rd best course in SC (Golf Digest)
-Ranked 44th best course in the US, 73rd best course in the world, 14th best public course in the US (Golf Mag.)
-Ranked the 28th best modern course in the US, 11th best resort course, 2nd best public course in SC (Golfweek)
Harbour Town is the most unique golf course that I have played. To conquer it, you will have to be precise and bring
your thinking cap as it requires a detailed plan, and execution of that plan, to play each and every hole effectively.
As you can see from this photo of the tee shot from hole #3, the fairways are narrow.
Additionally, the bunkering fiercely protects the greens as seen here at hole #13.
Also, the trees are well-placed and provide excellent protection of the greens...as seen here on your approach to 11.
And those greens that are being protected are teeny-tiny. Actually, the Harbour Town greens are the smallest set of
greens currently on the PGA Tour.
But above and beyond the excellent strategy and defense put up to protect the course is the routing/pacing of the
course. The first hole (and the front nine as a whole) is tight, requires precision, and endurance. But then the back
nine opens up just a bit and builds a sense of freedom. And then when you approach the green on the par 3 17th,
you see the magnificence of this courses routing/pacing. My playing partner described this hole as the "Gates of
Heaven" due to the magnificent beauty that overwhelms you when you first see that green, the ocean/waterway, and
the bunkering. Juxtaposed to the tight fairways, strategic bunkering, and trees of the previous 16 holes this feeling
is liberating and breathtaking.
However, it is just an appetizer concerning the feelings of openness and freedom relative to the 18th hole. This long
par 4 has the widest fairway on the PGA Tour and the ocean/water in the background only enhances that wide-open
feeling. And the lighthouse seems to be a beacon concerning the way home.
This masterpiece of Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus is the ultimate chess match between architect and golfer due to the
strategy required to play the course. But the opera/symphony that slowly unfolds and builds to a crescendo on the
18 hole is something I hadn't experienced prior to playing Harbour Town. Quite simply the course is magnificent.
It measures 6,603 yards from the blue tees and is rated 72.9/139.