Harbour Town Key Fantasy Stats

RBC Heritage

April 12th – 15th, 2018

Harbour Town G.L.

Hilton Head, SC

Par: 71 / Yardage: 7,099

Purse: 6.7 million

with $1,206,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Wesley Bryan

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:

This is based on the most important stats for Harbour Town, based on data from last years RBC Heritage, and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2018. What we do is take their rank for each stat and then add up the four categories.
The scoring average of the field at Harbour Town last year was 70.68 (ranked 29th on tour), which is a shot and a half easier than in 2016 when it was 72.29 (ranked 8th on tour). So why the big difference? Wind, in 2016 it blew every day between 10-20 MPH with gusts ranging from 30MPH on Thursday to 25 on Sunday. Last year the weather was perfect and each day winds were below 10 mph. So that is the way it played in 2015, perfect conditions in which the players averaged 70.49 (26th hardest). With the course close to the Atlantic and in some places not blocked by trees, wind and weather are the reason the course can play tough. In looking at the weather for Hilton Head Island it’s going to be a picture-perfect week with sunny skies every day and temperatures ranging from 74 to 78 degrees and winds each day about 10mph. Right now they are predicting 60% chance of rain so that will make the course play even easier. So with better scoring conditions, the course tends to get an inexperienced winner like last year with Wesley Bryan, the same could happen this year.
That’s because it’s easier to hit the smaller greens with the lack of wind and then go on to 2 putts. Now last year Wesley Bryan proved that you can’t believe in stats as for the year he ranked 172nd in driving distance and 130th in driving accuracy for a total rank of 185th in strokes gained Off-the-Tee. Even for the week at Harbour Town, he was toward the bottom in all tee to green stats, he was 51st in driving distance, T-55th in driving accuracy and T-66th in greens hit. But he put on the finest performance of short game prowess, as he was 1st in scrambling, 1st in overall putting average, didn’t have a three-putt all week and was 2nd with 39 one-putts. His putting was so good that from 8 feet and in on 62 attempts only missed 3 putts. Still, this was a complete fluke of nature and something that happens once in a blue moon at Harbour Town, so when looking for a winner at the RBC Heritage forget what happened in 2017.

Harbour Town is one of the best courses in America, it’s a totally different experience in which ball placement is utmost over power. Hitting it hard and far doesn’t work at this venue so look for a precision player to win. Looking at all drives in 2017 the course averaged 273.4 yards, meaning it was the 3rd shortest of all the courses on tour. Since it’s so low (The highest on tour last year was TPC Scottsdale, 301.5 yards) players not only throttle it down, on many holes they lay up with 3 woods or long irons. So our first important stat is driving accuracy, you have to drive it well and straight at Harbour Town. Last year the course ranked 21st in this stat compared to the others on tour. In looking at past champions six of the last nine were in the top-ten in accuracy for the week and nine of the last nine champions were in the bottom in driving distance as Carl Pettersson was the longest driver as he ranked 31st in 2012.

For our next categories in looking at the stats for Harbour Town, one thing is obvious, the course caters to those that hits lots of greens, last year it ranked 16th on tour. Now this was a misnomer last year as in 2016 it ranked 2nd on the Tour and it was in the top-3 in four of the last six years. In the last 21 years, eleven of the champions ranked in the top-ten with five of them leading the category, the last being Matt Kuchar in 2014. So despite last year’s winner Bryan ranking T-66th, on the whole, hitting greens is important to winning at Harbour Town.

Next important is around and on the greens. What makes Harbour Town tough is the greens, at 4,500 square feet they are some of the smallest greens on the PGA Tour to hit, so it makes sense that scramblers do well since the course ranked 46th last year, 26th in 2016 and 49th best in 2015 which in this case means that the average player got it up and down 64.43% of the time, only four courses saw averages higher so you have to scramble well to exist. As we said above last year’s winner Bryan was great in this stat and ranked the best for the week.
Last we pick a stat rarely used, strokes gained-putting. That’s because at Hilton Head putting well doesn’t mean much, but you still have to make those nasty 4 to 8 footers. Last year in this stat Bryan ranked 11th.

So as you can see the secret for Harbour Town is not brute force, but finesse and total control over your game. When you look at the champions at this course, every one of them is ranked in the bottom of driving distance and the longest is Davis Love III who won last in 2003. So think of it, every champion since is very short, something that you won’t see at any other event on the PGA Tour. So the thought for the week is hit it short and straight.

*Driving Accuracy: Percentage of fairways hit, last year Heritage finished 21st in this stat, 18th in 2016 and was 36th in 2015.

*Greens in Regulation: Stat is a great barometer on how good players manage their games around Harbour Town. Every year the players that hit lot’s of greens do well.

*Scrambling: So which course is tough to get it up and down on holes players miss the greens. Since all of the area’s around the greens are mowed short and are left with really hard shots to get it close, scrambling is important. You are not going to be perfect so you have to make sure you can make pars from some tough places

*Strokes Gained putting: Who gains the most strokes with their putter, since Harbour Town’s greens are so small you will see less putts as you won’t have as many three putts but you still need to make those putts under ten feet.

Players from this year’s field with stats from 2018 with 115 of the 132 players having stats:

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.