17 Apr GolfPass Grass Guru – Harbour Town Golf Links
RBC Heritage • Harbour Town Golf Links
Hole 7 • Par 3 • 195 yds
By Eric MacPherson
Well, the Masters are over. Golf will slowly recede into the background of NBA and NHL playoffs, right? All the Augusta stans who emerged for the Masters will forget golf is on until the PGA Championship comes around in May. But wait, this week the Tour is at one of my favorite courses – Harbour Town Golf Links.
Harbour Town GL is on the complete opposite side of the coin than the prim and proper Augusta National. Gone are the wide open expanses of green grass. At Harbour Town, the name of the game is precision. We also welcome back some glorious bunkers. Absolute bunker porn and there’s more than a few centerfolds to scope. Just a quick glance at this southern jewel and someone without much golf course experience can tell you who designed it. If you’re expecting me to, I ain’t going to, it’s just that obvious.
Choosing a bunker that sums up the aesthetics of Harbour Town was a challenge, to say the least. The 2nd hole, with its gigantic grassed face or the numerous railroad tie-lined bunkers of the back nine, or one of the several gargantuan bunkers snaking up the sides of fairways. Quality and quantity come in waves at Harbour Town. However, the one bunker to stand above the rest is the monstrosity of a bunker surrounding the entire green complex on the 7th hole. This bunker encompasses the entire green and surrounding rough. Additionally, it encircles several large trees that heavily guard the small green. This is a picture of Southern golf and our architect’s style, lifted straight from the dictionary that he wrote.
The large trees surrounding the green are the true threats on this hole. Being a par 3, situated in the middle of the course, most golfers will never see the sand. I for one dread an overhanging tree wherever I play, especially near a green. Put it all together – the large trees, the surrounding sand, and water – the 7th hole embodies what Harbour Town is all about. Precision, precision, precision.
Large bunkers and the frustrations they cause for the grounds crew are why I tend to single them out before the smaller, more strategically placed bunkers throughout a course. If you’re a bunker person, the second hole backside green bunker is one of the more unique bunkers on the course. That shallow bunker behind a large mound, truly is a sight to see. The whole mound undoubtedly has to be fly mowed, especially the face. Though, I’d rather do that than go rake that beast on 7.
The RBC Heritage allows us to watch a different type of golf than the usual grip it and rip it long drives of the early season. Shot shapers and distance control trump long drives here. The amount of bunkers, water, and other various hazards (i.e., houses), make accuracy the number one factor. Give me a beautifully precise shot over a 400 yard drive 9 times out of 10. Not to mention, the plaid jacket the winner gets at Harbour Town Golf Links is to Dye for. So much cleaner than that boring Green Jacket of the Masters.
Cover Photo: Harbour Town Golf Links
Eric MacPherson knows a lot about golf, but even more about grass. Having worked in golf for what seems like forever, and going on to graduate school in turfgrass, he’s able to walk mow a green, and change the shaft in your favorite driver. He’s worked on some of the east coast’s primer golf clubs doing everything from washing carts to building brand new putting greens. He’s also volunteered at several high profile Tour events including a major and the President’s Cup. The only thing he likes more than pushing a walk mower on a beautiful crisp morning, would be teeing it off instead. Shoot Eric a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.