04.12.17 | Kevin W.
Harbour Town Golf Links has been the host course for 49 years of a PGA Tour event. Built in 1969 it was designed by Pete Dye in collaboration with Jack Nicklaus. The course plays to a par 71 with 7,101 yards in length. The course is open to the public and it receives around 38,000 rounds of golf a year. The players on tour ranked the course as the second best, and it is also ranked annually among top-20 public courses in America. The course is a different test of golf than many of the others on tour. It biggest defense is not length but instead tight fairways with strategically placed pines, oaks, and of course palmettos. The greens this week will also be a tough challenge. Featuring Bermuda grass the small and slick greens are often challenging to read as they have a tricky grain. The feature hole at Harbour Town is clearly the 18th a 500-yard par four. The hole bordering the water can be lengthened further by the winds off the water. Ernie Els once hit driver then three wood to reach the green, and then to came back the next driving with a three wood and finishing with an eight iron. The 18th green also has one of the best back drops with the iconic red and white striped lighthouse.
Jonathan Wright has been at Harbour Town for almost twenty years now. He is an alumni of the University of Kentucky, class of 1996, he graduated with a degree in Biology. He typically has around 18 employees working on the course during the season, and an additional 20 volunteers for this week. Here is a pretty interesting look at what his crew goes through to keep the course in shape during the week.
Tees | Celebration/TifSport bermudagrass overseeded with Paragon ryegrass | 0.325" | avg. 2,500 sq. ft.
Fairways | Bermudagrass overseeded with Paragon ryegrass | 0.325" | 22 acres
Greens | TifEagle bermudagrass overseeded with Poa trivialis | 0.125" | avg. 3,700 sq. ft.
Rough | Bermudagrass overseeded w/ perennial ryegrass | 1.25" | 47 acres
Other: 53 bunkers, 12 water hazards, sandy loam and clay soil, green soil mix 90% sand & 10% peat, uses effluent water, tournament stimpmeter 10.5-11 feet.
The RBC Heritage is held every April the week following the Masters. The event is the only annual tour event in South Carolina, which surprising given how many great courses there are in the state. The tournament is always started with a ceremonial tee shot into Calibogue Sund by the defending champion. Along with the tee shot a cannon is fired simultaneously with the drive. The first to do so was Arnold Palmer.
The tournament's other big tradition piggie backs on the coat tales of Augusta National, literally as they award their winner with a jacket. Harbour Town's jacket is a little different than most, and I am not really sure how they decided on the pattern and color. A Hawaiian shirt would have been a better representation of South Carolina. Heres defending champion Brandon grace sporting his jacket. The field is a little weaker than normal as many players are taking a "spring break" after the challenging and grinding week they had at The Masters.
The defending champion Brandon Grace who finished T27 at this year's Masters is back to defend his title. He comes in this week at +2,500.
Matt Kuchar is the favorite at +1,400 and comes in hot after finishing in 4th at the Masters. He also won the RBC before in 2014.
Adam Hadwin who had his best finish last at the Master last week at T37 and won the Valspar Championship back in March will start off at +2,200.
Russell Henley who was the last player added to the Masters' field after winning the Shell Houston Open is being given +2,200. He also had his best Masters finish ever last week finishing at T11.
Since 1983 only six players have won the RBC without playing the Masters the week prior.
Snedeker +2,000 | Kaymer +2,200 | Dufner +3,300 | Furyk +4,000 | W. Simpson +7,500
Thursday | Partly Sunny | 80/58
Friday | Partly Sunny | 79/63
Saturday | Partly Sunny | 79/64
Sunday | Partly Sunny | 83/60
Thursday & Friday | 3:00-6:00 | Golf Channel
Saturday & Sunday | 1:00-2:30 | Golf Channel
Saturday & Sunday | 3:00-6:00 | CBS