Kiawah Island, South Carolina
The Ocean Course
41 Ocean Course Drive
Kiawah Island, SC 29455
Par: 72, 7356 yards
77.2 rating, 144 slope
Architect: Pete Dye
Even before construction began, the Ocean Course at Kiawah Resort was destined for greatness … literally. You see, even before breaking ground, the PGA of America picked the Ocean Course to host the 1991 Ryder Cup Matches, so the course had to be great.
As construction was under way and months before the greatest players of an era would meet in what would be dubbed “The War by the Shore,” already legendary and now Hall of Fame designer Pete Dye said, “If this doesn’t turn out to be a good golf course, then I should be shot.” Well, as we all know, no one had to shoot Pete Dye and the course he created went on to provide the backdrop for the most exciting Ryder Cup – arguably the most dramatic golf event, period – in history, the Americans winning by a single point in a competition that came down to the last putt on the last hole of the last match, a missed six-footer by Europe’s Bernhard Langer.
It was quite a coming-out party for a course that opened for play just two months earlier. Not only was the competition spell-binding, but the scenery and challenge presented by this new-born Ocean Course – a layout that provides a view of the Atlantic from every hole – captivated the entire golf world. Since then, the course has hosted a World Cup and a PGA Senior Championship and back in 2012, they hosted the PGA Championship, the first time one of golf’s four “majors” was played in South Carolina.
But just as a great cathedral isn’t built for Easter Sunday, the Ocean Course wasn’t built purely for golf’s biggest events. And that’s good news for golfers living in or visiting the Charleston area, because they can tackle the beast thought by some to be the hardest resort course in the game anytime they want to – as long as the pros aren’t in town.
Loggerhead sea turtle, Leatherback sea turtle, American Alligator, Eastern Box Turtle, Common Snapping Turtle, Diamond Back Terrapin Turtle, Black Racer Snake, Yellow Rat Snake, Banded Water Snake, Eastern King Snake, Scarlet Sanke
Bobcat, Coyote, River Otter, Gray Fox, Racoon, White Tailed Deer, American Mink,
Bonnethead shark, Squid, Dolphin, Cannonball Jellyfish, Atlantic Flying Fish, Horseshoe crab
Least Terns, Royal Terns, Caspian Terns, Sanderlings, Pelicans, Osprey, Oyster Catchers, Semipalmated Plovers, Great Egrets, Green Heron, Spotted Sandpiper, Merlin, Wild Turkey, Osprey Bald Eagle, Laughing Gull, Woodpecker, Carolina Wren, Southern Mockingbird, Eastern Bluebird, Red-winged blackbird, house finch, Turkey Vulture, Snowy Egret, Kingfisher, Wood Stork, Painted Bunting, Blue Jay, Great Crested Flycatcher, American Crow, Great Horned Owl
HOW TO GET THERE:
By Plane: The closest major airport is the Charleston International Airport (CHS), which is serviced from a number of major US cities and airline hubs, including direct flights from Boston, NYC, Washington DC, Miami, Atlanta, Charlotte, and others. Charleston International Airport is about a 45-50 minute drive from Kiawah Island. Private jets can access Kiawah Island via the Johns Island Executive Airport, a short 25 minute drive from Kiawah.
By Car: From I-26 towards Charleston, take exit 212B toward Savannah. Take exit 212B for I-526 W toward Savannah. Merge onto Interstate 526 W/Mark Clark Expressway. Turn right onto US-17 S/Savannah Hwy. Turn left onto Main Rd/State Rd S-10-20. Continue to follow State Rd S-10-20. At the traffic circle, take the 3rd exit onto Kiawah Island.