Views of Harbour Town Golf Links, Home of the RBC Heritage

Text by Jeffrey A. Rendall, Photos by David Vier

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC – You sometimes wonder why some golf courses make the ‘Top 100’ lists of most major magazines, but Harbour Town Golf Links (on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina) shows in just about every aspect why it’s so highly honored in this way.

The Pete Dye-designed classic truly deserves its placement among the best of the best -- and will remain there as long as the good folks at Sea Pines put the time and effort into keeping it in tip-top condition (and history suggests they will).

“Sea Pines and Harbour Town have done a lot more for me than I’ve ever done for them,” commented Dye, reflecting on what the layout has meant for his career. “When they first opened Harbour Town, it just jumped out of the woods.”

With a well established residential community surrounding the course now, Harbour Town no longer feels like it’s part of a wild jungle, but those all-too-mature trees frame the course and demand accuracy from tee to green in order to score well there.

That’s a big part of the reason why professionals like it so much, as the RBC Heritage (originally known as the Heritage Classic) is played there every April. And in keeping with the advances in technology, Sea Pines recently brought Dye back to make some changes to Harbour Town’s storied links.

Harbour Town's layout was lengthened by 150 yards, a handful of trees were removed to improve sightlines and a select number of bunkers were reshaped or extended to bring hazards back into play. The marsh side of the 18th green complex was altered as well, which will allow somewhat more room to miss to that side during the tournament.

But Dye wouldn’t dare touch the 13th hole, as he credits his wife Alice for its creative design: “We moved here while the course was being built, and Alice would come out to look at what was going on. One time I ran over to Alice and asked her to go out to where the 13th hole was going to be and asked her to rough-in a golf hole.”

“So Alice kind of stayed over there and really built the whole golf hole, with that big bunker and so forth. Alice was always a little hesitant with using railroad ties, but she put cypress boards around the edge of that hole. So Alice actually built the 13th hole at Harbour Town, and it’s probably as well known as any hole we have out here.”

No doubt. Every hole at Harbour Town is memorable, but no one will ever forget the 13th.

Here’s what you’ll see (on TV and otherwise) at Harbour Town:

When you see the famous lighthouse, you know you are at Harbour Town Golf Links.

The first tee hints at what is to come: tight, tree-lined fairways and the pleasant Sea Pines atmosphere.

The 4th hole is the first of a classic set of Pete Dye par threes, all of which incorporate water -- and railroad ties.

The green of the par three 7th hole is surrounded by sand.

The par four 8th is the #1 handicap hole at Harbour Town, and deservedly so.

The short par four 9th can be a birdie hole, but only if you are precise with your approach shot.

Near the green of the par four 11th hole, you will need to stay clear of the tree the guards the front approach.

Pete Dye credits his wife Alice for the unique design of the par four 13th hole. You will either love it... or not.

This tiny bunker in back of the par three 14th hole is the least of your worries on this challenging one-shotter.

The dogleg left, par four 16th hole always makes an impression during the RBC Heritage.

The par three 17th hole receives the brunt of the breeze from Calibogue Sound.

With the Harbour Town lighthouse as the backdrop, the par four 18th hole has become one of the most famous sites on the PGA Tour.


Harbour Town Golf Links
11 Lighthouse Lane
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

Phone: 1-800-955-8337; (843) 363-8385


Course Architect: Pete Dye
PGA Director of Sports: Cary Corbitt
PGA Head Golf Professional: John Farrell
Design Consultant: Jack Nicklaus
Golf Course Superintendent: Jon Wright


Heritage          7101    147/75.6
Dye                 6640    141/73.0
Sea Pines         6251    136/71.3
Palmetto          5208    124/70.7


Consult the Sea Pines website for current rates and packages.

In addition to 54 holes of golf, Sea Pines features 23 clay tennis courts, eco-tours, water sports, fine and casual dining, spa, 14 miles of bike and walking trails, horseback riding and five miles of unspoiled beaches. Guests choose from an array of accommodations, including 300 villas, 100 rental homes and the luxurious 60-room Inn at Harbour Town, a Forbes Four-Star boutique hotel and Preferred Hotel Group member.

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