A Viewer's Guide to the 2012 RBC Heritage

I was reminded while at the Honda Classic a few weeks back that folks who “must” follow Tiger or Phil probably see less than 10 of his shots in a round. With that in mind, and with the RBC Heritage returning (thank heavens) for a 44th spin around the Harbour Town Golf Links, maybe a perspective from inside-the-ropes would help you see a lot more shots and enjoy your experience more from outside-the-ropes.

Harbour Town is a terrific walker’s course, and with that in mind, you’d get a lot out of an early round 9 (or 18) with a specific player that would allow you to get “up close and personal”, maybe even exchange a little banter. Some of you will have to follow John Daly or Boo Weekley out of habit, and all of you should walk through the “triangle” between the 10th and 16th fairways just to be seen! But I’d recommend you also spend a little time watching Berkeley Hall resident Kyle Stanley or Savannah’s Brian Harman if you want some local flavor, and a great young talent you probably haven’t seen up-close yet. Neither of them are very big, yet both of them can bomb it. Or, there are two of the absolute nicest guys in the world who might still be a little under the popular radar, Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington—Paddy’s a bit more outgoing. And if you’re here from another part of the country, or the world, follow a native son, they LOVE the support of the folks back home!

The best places to “park” for awhile are where you can see multiple shots. The bleachers behind the 2nd green now offer a view of the new 3rd tee, which forces players to drive the ball through a scary-narrow chute. You might also see players deal with the par-3 4th from the upper rows of the bleachers at #3, or go up to the green, where the grandstand is rarely busy. My all-time favorite secret spot just got an upgrade too! With a new tee box at #6, there’s more room to watch the players try to make birdie or eagle at the par-5 5th, then you can do a 180-degree turn and watch them play off that new tee at 6.

And if you want to be pampered a little, an “enhanced” clubhouse badge gets you into two on-course hospitality areas at the 7th and 15th holes with great views as well. Or there’s the recently-reduced-priced Arnold Palmer pass that can get you into a climate-controlled tent behind the 18th tee, where you’ll have the postcard view of the spectacular finishing hole—with the lighthouse, something that was still being built when Arnie won the first Heritage back in 1969. Check out the map, or the ticket options online at www.rbcheritage.com