KIAWAH ISLAND, South Carolina – Recently, we took a road trip to one of my favorite places – Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina – to relax for a few days and check out this year’s venue for the 103rd PGA Championship, which will be contested May 20-23.
All eyes of the golf world will focus on The Ocean Course at Kiawah which has been the site of some great golf drama including the “War by the Shore” 1991 Ryder Cup where the United States reclaimed the lost cup after a three-putt by Bernhard Langer on the final hole to lose his singles match to Hale Irwin. In 2012, the world once again came to Kiawah to witness Rory Mcilroy enjoy a decisive win at the 94th PGA Championship by eight strokes.
Who will hoist the Wannamaker Trophy in 2021?
The Kiawah Island Golf Resort is home to five points of interest for the avid golfer:
Cougar Point is a Gary Player design that went through an extensive renovation with new paspalum grass which is more salt-tolerant than bermuda grass. Cougar Point is considered ‘next to the best’ by the in-the-know golfers at Kiawah with superior playability and dynamic vistas. The Cougar was the location of the golf movie “The Legend of Bagger Vance.”
The Jack Nicklaus designed Turtle Point is a challenging assortment of tight, water ladened holes with three on the back nine tucked between the ocean and homes with no room for error. It was fun listening to the crashing waves on the beach, and all in all, Turtle is a well-kept course, with a fun morning of kibbitzing with my wife.
The proud recipient of the 2019 Charleston Golf Course Owners Association(CGCOA) “Course of the Year,” Oak Point delivers a strategic challenge through a refreshed design. Originally conceived by Clyde Johnston, a noted southeastern golf architect, Oak Point sits by the Kiawah River and Haulover Creek surrounded by a maritime forest. It is a true shotmaker’s course that showcases undulating fairways and challenging greens on a meticulously maintained layout that favors a thinking approach rather than raw power.
What began as a members-only club on the island Osprey Point is noted for its playability and has evolved into a championship golf course with a world-class layout that was completely renovated under the direction of one of the world’s best golf architects, Tom Fazio. Today, Osprey still delivers on playability and natural beauty, plus gets rave reviews for its unique and memorable holes. The lovely Osprey clubhouse is home to Cherrywood BBQ & Ale House, a great place for dinner.
After all those four, you can try your luck at the Pete Dye-designed Ocean Course with 10 holes along the Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the most scenic layouts you will ever play. I must say the course has been softened from my 2012 experience. The fairways have been opened up a bit and the waste areas are less abundant but still deep and tough to get out of. We chose our tees carefully to enjoy our round while our playing partner, a low handicapper from Atlanta, thought he had the game to play the tips (7,873 yards).
Our forecaddie had to order more balls from the pro shop for him at the turn. Depending on the wind and the weather the Ocean course could be getable this time around for the Tour players. If you are a duffer like me go one tee box forward than you would normally play and you should be able to enjoy the Ocean otherwise, forget about it.
Kiawah Island Golf Resort sits on a 10-mile slip of land about 30 miles south of Charleston and is a destination known for luxury beach and golf vacations. You can indulge in Five-Star accommodations, world- class amenities and recreational activities along with fine dining all the while enjoying the serenity of a relaxing stay.