The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, designed by Pete Dye and opened just months before it hosted the 1991 Ryder Cup and gained almost instant notoriety and acclaim as the site of the dramatic "War by the Shore." The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island will forever be famous for a Ryder Cup battle that went down to the last putt on the last hole of the last match on the last day. When Bernhard Langer's six-footer for par slid just by the right lip, the most gut-wrenching Ryder Cup in history came to a dramatic and emotional end with the United States posting a one-point victory.
The course has since hosted the 1997 World Cup, the 2001 UBS Warburg Cup and the 2003 World Cup. In 2002 and 2003, Dye returned to oversee some significant course renovation, which included relaying all the greens and tees, and moving the 18th green 40 yards toward the ocean – creating an even more magnificent closing hole. In 2007, the course opened a new clubhouse in the footprint of the old 18th green and hosted the Senior PGA Championship. In 2012, it will host South Carolina’s first major tournament – the PGA Championship.
From a ribbon of pristine sand dunes stretching nearly three miles along the Atlantic Ocean at the extreme eastern end of this barrier island, The Ocean Course is a 7,296-yard, par 72 layout reminiscent of the great seaside links of England and Scotland. Yardage can vary as much as the wind that constantly sweeps across the links. Played from the extreme back tee on every hole, the course measures a mind-numbing 7,937 yards, but that was never the intent of the designer. Instead, Dye created a variety of tees so that great holes would remain great holes, regardless of wind shifts.
The 18-hole Ocean Course at the Kiawah Island, South Carolina plays a whopping 7,937 yards of golf from the tips for a par of 72. The course rating is 79.6 and the slope is 155 on Bermuda grass. Designed by Pete Dye, the Ocean Course opened for play in 2002.
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Kiawah Island Golf Resort, One Sanctuary Beach Drive, Kiawah Island, SC, 29455; (843) 768-2121 or 800-654-2924
Where to Stay:
If you want to play the courses on The Kiawah Island Golf Resort, it only makes sense to stay at the resort, right?
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The Verdict: Over the past decade, or so, I’ve visited some incredible luxury family and golf resorts. Very few rise to the standards of Kiawah Island. The golf is, of course, its most obvious attraction, and the five courses are almost beyond compare. Beyond the golf.
How to get There:
The closest regional airport is Charleston International Airport. The airport is served by Delta, Continental, US Air, United, Northwest, and several others.
Look for the best airline and car rental deals with these two aggregators, which provide travelers with an up-to-date search tool to compare prices on airfares and car rentals of all ratings:
Kiawah Island Golf Resort, One Sanctuary Beach Drive, Kiawah Island, SC, 29455; (843) 768-2121 or 800-654-2924; www.kiawahresort.com
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