Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Harbour Town Golf Links

Last Fall I continued my new-found tradition of playing a PGA course every year (we played Sawgrass in 2011). My dad and I decided to head up to Hilton Head, SC and play Harbour Town Golf Links. Due to a rainstorm (Gorecki was able to meet up and play half the round), I was able to return a few weeks later with Geoff and play it twice more using a complementary pass.

I feel like I need to document these trips before I develop Alzheimer's.

Harbour Town was difficult. From the WHITE tees it was playing about 6,200 yards... which is long for a par 71. Most of the holes are lined with tall pine trees and there isn't much room for error off the tee. It was designed in 1969 by Pete Dye (with help from Jack Nicklaus), and is the course that first made him "world renown." It's also when Pete started being an asshole.

Dye went crazy with tiny greens and railroad ties, the latter becoming his first signature design feature. Later in life he has tried to distance himself from it... but seriously, Pete. You knew what you were doing.

#13 - That bunker is about 5 feet deep.

The first 1.5 times I played the course, I was extremely proud of my performance. The next time up there it tore me a new one. But each trip had something in common: I got destroyed by #18.

#18 - One of the most recognizable holes in America.

The par-4 18th hole finishes along Calibogue Sound, an open body of water surrounding the island. It's a completely bullshit hole for amateurs, measuring 424-472 yards with a forced carry over a marsh to a tiny elevated green. All caddies basically recommend you play it like a par-5 and just hope for a bogey. And even that is asking a lot.

Overall I enjoyed the course and would recommend it if you're in the area. But it's probably not a "must play before you die" experience. I have one of those coming up in two months: Torrey Pines (North and South).

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