After 47 Years, Pete Dye Still Has Harbour Town Right

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Remember this for next year, or the year after. There is NOTHING like playing Harbour Town right after the RBC Heritage. Superintendent Jon Wright leaves the hole locations in the same spots they were on Championship Sunday, meaning you get to play into the same hole locations, and putt to the same diabolical cups he cut for the winner. And, of course, the course is still in tournament condition, not that it isn’t close to that year-round. [Image above courtesy of The Sea Pines Resort | Follow them on Facebook for gorgeous golf shots and resort updates here]

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I just caddied for a group that didn’t score all that well, certainly didn’t shoot anything like Jim Furyk’s final round 63. But there were moments of magic, like my man Lee’s fabulous wedge and 8-foot birdie at the 9th. Think he won’t be telling his buddies about that for awhile?

RBC Heritage Champion Jim Furyk, who has played the very best courses all over the world puts it pretty simply.

“This is my favorite event.  I love being here.  I love the golf course.  I base most of my events around the golf course.  It suits my game.  It suits my style.  I tend to either play really well here or miss the cut.  And it’s because if you’re not placing the ball exactly where you want it, if you don’t have control of the golf ball here, it’s going to eat your lunch.  If you do, if you put the ball in the right spots, you’re going to have short irons into the greens.  You’re going to have some good looks for birdies and you can shoot some good numbers, ” he said.

“This course calls for a lot of different shots.  You see a lot of guys that are good ball‑strikers like Boo Weekley, that play well here year in and year out.  You see Graeme McDowell, Luke Donald, Matt Kuchar, they’re all in that same kind of profile. If I had designed or build a golf course for me, I’d want it to be just like Harbour Town. I love the island.  I think the folks here are fun.  I sat on the 18th green.  There’s a lot of events that feel like a party atmosphere, but this is kind of a classier party than some of the other ones we see.  Weather is starting to get warm.  Everyone is having a good time.  It just has always had a good vibe and a good feel for me.”
“I feel like a lot of folks say, it’s good to come down here and decompress after the Masters.  I understand the comment.  I think sometimes that gets played out a little too thick, and the reason why is because I think it takes a little bit away from this tournament.  I don’t come down to decompress.  I come down because I love the event.  If I felt the golf course was terrible and I didn’t enjoy being here, I’d be decompressing at home, if that makes sense.”

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Ok, Furyk’s won two tartan jackets, he ought to like it here, but ask the reigning Crown Prince of the Links, Masters Champion Jordan Spieth, if he was glad he brought his green jacket to our little island after the whirlwind of activity following his stunning Masters victory.

After he finished a week where he shot a 74 and a 62 within less than 24 hours, all the while acknowledging his play from the week before, Spieth was asked if he was glad he came, even though he finished outside the top-10.

“Very happy,” he said. “This is a relaxing place. I had an awesome time this week with friends. Stayed with Justin (Thomas-a star of the future from Alabama), a good buddy of mine, my caddie Michael and Justin’s caddie Jason. We had a great week. It was a perfect kind of, let’s stay focused but at the same time settle down, enjoy it. It was kind of an odd week for me on the course, but off the course I think it was perfect.”

Spoken like so many who’ve enjoyed a Buddy Trip to the Island. And most importantly, is he coming back? In Jordan’s words, “this is one that I’ll certainly highlight as wanting to come back because I do enjoy it. I wouldn’t have come here THIS week if I didn’t.”

 

Amen to that, coming from a 21-year-old, and a 40-something, who had similar Hilton Head golf experiences.