The RBC Heritage -- played this week on Harbour Town Golf Links at Hilton Head's The Sea Pines Resort (http://www.seapines.com/) -- is as accessible a TOUR event as they come. With daily tickets sold limited to 25,000, spectators can follow the action out on the Pete Dye masterpiece with ease.
And what a thrill it is to witness up-close and personal how the world's best players try to match wits with this devilish Dye layout.
Not long by today's standards at just under 7,000 yards against a par of 71, Harbour Town is the epitome of strategic golf. Thinking caps must be tied-tight. For success, a player must not only find the fairway, but land on the proper quadrant in order to safely reach the green as sturdy oaks draped with Spanish moss must be negotiated.
Dye's genius is fully evident on Harbour Town's quartet of par 3s -- two menaced by water, one surrounded by sand, and the last -- the magnificent 185-yard 17th -- as fine a penultimate hole as any in the game. With water seemingly everywhere and beguiling winds off the Calibogue Sound causing havoc, disaster seems more likely than triumph.
Then there's the acclaimed No. 18 -- a glorious finish. With the eminent red- and white-striped Harbour Town Lighthouse standing sentinel and an armada of pleasure boats bobbing in tranquil harbor, the 472-yard last cements Harbour Town as Dye's seminal design. The course is simply splendid.
"It's one of the most innovative and revolutionary designs in the history of golf architecture," says Golfweek's Bradley Klein.
Legendary golf writer Dan Jenkins says Harbour Town is "nothing short of a work of art."
And one great aspect of Harbour Town is golfers can tee it up there just like the pros. Sea Pines offers its "RBC Heritage Experience Package" featuring the conditions and atmosphere of the TOUR event.
The offer includes two nights' accommodations at the Inn at Harbour Town, one round of golf on Harbour Town Golf Links with walking caddie, breakfast each morning, lunch during round, practice area with customized name plate / complimentary range balls, one-hour of professional instruction prior to round, first-tee introduction and VIP locker room privileges.
The RBC Heritage Experience Package and several other Sea Pines golf packages can be found at http://www.seapines.com/.