We had been given mixed reports on the merits of playing Harbour Town, but decided to make our own minds up!

Built in the mid 1960's, Harbour Town was designed by Pete Dye in conjunction with Jack Nicklaus - Jack's first foray into course design - and the course has played host to the annual PGA event - The Heritage - ever since.

We have seen Harbour Town Links on our television sets most of our lives. It's finishing hole, with distinctive lighthouse behind, is one of the most recognized in all of golf...

The day we played was the second day of a bit of a cold snap after some glorious weather, and the punters obviously decided to stay indoors.

We were 2 of only 13 players for the day booked in, and first off - so we had a clear run at the course.

Harbour Town is largely built in a housing estate and this was one of the criticisms from those suggesting it may not be worth playing .... however the homes were set well back in the trees, were largely unobtrusive, and generally tasteful and expensive residences.

Our first impressions were of a VERY tight course, winding delightfully through the stunning Live Oak trees draped with Spanish Moss. Most holes had these large Oak trees strategically placed on the dogleg or protecting angles to the green.

It certainly was easy to hit a tree!

I liked the routing, and variety of holes tucked in the trees - I felt it was a quietly impressive course rather a spectacular one. The Pete Dye trademark sleeper walls were in play on the par 3's - all very pretty and challenging. Many of the par 4's were really interesting, with the short par 4 9th and it's boomerang shaped green, and the 13th with its fortress like, sleeper-walled bunkers surrounding the green.

By late in the round Heather was beginning to wonder if we were on the correct course - only a few holes to go, and no sniff of terrain anything like those famous last holes. And then you play to the16th green and the par 3 17th with its marshy surrounds opens up behind.

The 17th protrudes into the marsh and an audience of waterbirds are perched on the timber sleepers, waiting for you to take on the water carry to the well bunkered green.

You finish your round on that wonderful 18th tee with the lighthouse as a backdrop. All you need is a great drive, and a better approach... A strong finish indeed!

I liked Harbour Town and would recommend it to anyone. If you ever get the chance don't listen to the naysayers - you won't regret the experience, and you certainly won't forget it


jan 2013

USA Harbour Town

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