Harbour Town Golf Links holds up against best courses

sports@islandpacket.comApril 18, 2013 

Carl Pettersson hits his tee shot on the 18th hole during the final round of the 2012 RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links in Sea Pines on Hilton Head Island.

ISLAND PACKET

The S.C. Golf Course Ratings Panel included Harbour Town Golf LInks among its biennial "Best You Can Play" rankings this year.

The panel listed the top 30 public courses in the state in no order after it's top-ranked selection, The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island.

The panel is composed of 125 golf enthusiasts who represent a diverse range of occupations, handicaps and backgrounds. The group's objective is to promote excellence in the state's golf course design and operation through competitive ranking, education and public advocacy.

The panel's Best 50 courses, public or private, are chosen in even-numbered years and the "Best You Can Play" are announced in odd-numbered years.

Criteria used in judging include routing, variety, strategy, equity, memorability, aesthetics and the golfer's experience.

In last year's Best 50, Harbour Town was second in the state behind The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, site of the 2012 PGA Championship. Harbour Town has been either No. 1 or No. 2 since the rankings began in 2005.

"We're flattered," Sea Pines director of golf John Farrell said at the time. "We're in great company. I love the Ocean Course, too, but I guess I'm biased. This is a great place to be. I really believe there's a lot of great golf courses in the state, and we're in great company."

The same panel named Harbour Town's 18th hole the most memorable in South Carolina last year.

The 478-yard par-4 18th "has done more for South Carolina tourism than any other hole in the state," one panelist said then. It's demanding, scenic and memorable."

Another noted, "It's special in the way it represents South Carolina."

Considering the challenge of the hole, one panelist said, "Long tee shot, long second shot, small green narrow landing area. It's nervewracking to play for a $2 bet. I can't imagine playing it (on the PGA Tour) for the $1 million."

RANKED BY ROLEX

In its February edition, Golf Digest published the Rolex 2013-14 ranking of America's 100 greatest public courses. Harbour Town also ranked 96th among all courses in America and third in the state of South Carolina, behind the Ocean Course, once again, and Hanahan's Yeamans Hall Club.

PLAYERS LOVE IT

In a winter 2012 survey, PGA Tour golfers named Harbour Town among their favorite courses on the tour, second only to Augusta National, the home of the Masters.

Among the anonymous praise: "My favorite Pete Dye course," ... "the best course we play," ... "don't need length for a great golf course," ... "It's a 10 because of great greens," ... "you have to shape the ball on almost every hole."

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