Kiawah Island Resort (Ocean) - South Carolina - USA

Kiawah Island Golf Resort,
1 Sanctuary Beach Drive,
Kiawah Island,
South Carolina 29455,
USA


  • +1 843 768 2121


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Kiawah Island Resort

Kiawah Island played host to the 1991 Ryder Cup matches between the USA and Europe. Team Captains were Dave Stockton (US) and Bernard Gallacher (Europe). Later dubbed the “War by the Shore” the 29th Ryder Cup was one of the most fiercely contested in history with several lead changes and it all came down to one six-foot putt. Bernhard Langer was playing Hale Irwin in the final match and was left with the fateful putt to win his singles match and halve the overall match enabling Europe to retain the Ryder Cup. As everyone knows Langer narrowly missed the putt and the US reclaimed the Ryder Cup they surrendered at The Belfry in 1989. USA 14 ½ - Europe 13 ½. The Ryder Cup was played at The Belfry in 1989 and again in 1993.

The Ocean course at Kiawah Island opened for play in 1991 only weeks before the thrilling “War by the Shore” Ryder Cup match, which saw team USA beat Europe by the narrowest of margins, 14½-13½. This particular Ryder Cup is unfortunately remembered for Bernhard Langer’s missed six-foot putt that would have tied the match, allowing Europe to retain the trophy.

Naturally, after the Ryder Cup, the Ocean course, designed by Pete Dye, leapt into the limelight and has remained there ever since. There are panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean to drink in on each hole and the course is routed in an old-fashioned way alongside the ocean. But instead of a links-like nine out and nine back, the Ocean course adopts a kind of 4½ out and 4½ back figure of eight configuration. According to Pete Dye, "There’s no other golf course in the Northern Hemisphere that has as many seaside holes". And Dye should know, because he built up the ground farthest away from the Atlantic Ocean by a few feet so that the golfer can enjoy unparalleled sea views. What a man!

Pete Dye certainly pays attention to detail and the green sites at Kiawah Island are consistently natural. With miles of underground pipes, which recycle surplus irrigation water, it’s no surprise that the Ocean course is a hit with the environmentalists as well as the golfers.

Kiawah Island hosted the 2012 US PGA Championship. Measuring a formidable 7,676 yards in its tournament livery, the Ocean course was tamed by Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy who cruised to an eight-shot victory and claimed his second major title, becoming the youngest winner of the tournament since it adopted strokeplay in 1958.

A trip to semi-tropical Kiawah Island would not be complete without a round on the best course on the island and one of the world’s finest courses. Add in a sprinkling of Charleston grace and you have the experience of a lifetime.

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Reviews for Kiawah Island Resort (Ocean)

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Description: According to Pete Dye, "There’s no other golf course in the Northern Hemisphere that has as many seaside holes" as the Ocean course at Kiawah Island. Rating: 8.7 out of 10 Reviews: 19
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Charles Farquharson
Played last October and can still remember every hole. Very tough but enchanting layout in fantastic condition. Difficult to be objective about value for money as very expensive compared to seaside golf in the UK but easy to recommend as a one-off as it is a wonderful place to play. CF
September 03, 2014
8 / 10
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Javier Pintos
The Ocean Course at Kiawah is not the first Pete Dye Course I have played and certainly not the best (I like Dye Fore in Dominican Republic better), but it has 2 things I really like: course maintenance is great and it is really very challenging, Kiawah Island (Ocean) Golf Course - Photo by reviewerevery missed shot will pay a fine as driving the ball is tough and the green complexes can be a nightmare if you miss to the wrong side. We played it during the 2014 IAGTO NAC hosted in Charleston and for this Edition Gilles and Carlton had the great idea of doing a Ryder Cup Competition between USA and The Rest of the World. And added to this every match had a VPAR device where to post the current score of the match and where you could follow the online status of the overall match. A great idea and which game an extra adrenaline to the match. With my friend Michael Jensen we won 2up but was not enough as USA won the Matches 18.5 to 17.5, but what was Kiawah Island (Ocean) Golf Course - Photo by revieweramazing is during the round the score was always tight where no team had more than 2 points of advantage and which was decided in the very last match on the last hole! It was a long day which started getting up 6am in Charleston, packing and after breakfast taking a bus to Kiawah. And the organization had the very first great idea of putting the video of McIlroy’s win at the 2012 PGA Championship so that when we arrived, everybody was very excited and wanted to play immediately! When arrived all carts where ready and after warming up everybody when to the corresponding hole to start the matches (we started on 9th hole, using the 6500yds tees which was ok as the hcp average of the field was not lower than 15). About Kiawah Island (Ocean) Golf Course - Photo by reviewerthe course, the first thing to say is the greens were rolling extremely true and at a speed of at least 9 feet in the Stimpmeter, which is very good for summer and paspalum grass. Then, there are no bunkers on the course as every sand area is to be considered a waste area where you can land the club and swing your club testing the ground which really helps as not all of them are the same. I found playing out of the sand one of the bigger challenges of the course. Driving the ball is not easy as there are many dog legs, blind shots and sometimes you need not to be too long to avoid bunkers, long rough or maybe water. Approach shots are the hardest test on the course to those small and hard to hold greens. The longer you are from the pin, the tougher the shot. But the challenge remains as the green complexes are very creative and well designed, you need to be very sharp to get the up & down prize. My favourite holes where par four 3rd (that one where Rory left the ball inside the tree), par four 13th and par three 17th. The 3rd has a very small and elevated green, where I hit a perfect shot (or that is what I believed) and I ended 20 yards long of the pin. The 13th has a very tough tee shot and a more difficult second shot and 17th from the tips to that narrow green protected by water is really very difficult. Said all this, the course shows that it was built and that is not natural, that is why it may lack the character of true links courses like Carnoustie, Royal Aberdeen or Ailsa. I liked it and for sure would go again, but if to choose I'd rather fly to Scotland if I want to play links golf.
July 25, 2014
8 / 10
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Andrew Cooke
When the opportunity arose to play the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, it could hardly have been a more enthralling prospect! For a course that was built for the 1991 Ryder Cup, it has already gained a reputation as one of America’s finest and most challenging courses, and has witnessed some classic Ryder Cup, World Cup and USPGA moments! Playing only a few months after Rory stormed to victory made it all the more exciting! The anticipation builds as you leave the main drag outside Charleston, but from there you have a long windy tree lined road to eventually get to the beginning of the Kiawah Island resort. Once through the first set of security gates, the densely wooded lanes, pass stunning looking courses with exotic names like Ospreys Point and Turtle Point. The excitement builds as you wonder just when the Ocean Course will emerge. Finally, the sky appears and shortly after you arrive at the traditionally Southern clubhouse, to be greeted by the bag drop staff, where your clubs are whisked away to the range.

The clubhouse and changing rooms are immaculate, but at this point you can’t wait to get out and see the course. Only a few days before Christmas and the sun shining, it was easy to understand why golf in South Carolina is revered by anyone who has visited this wonderful golfing State. On the short buggy ride to the first tee, you are struck by the spectacular landscape, which although as close to the sea as can be, with in many ways a links feel, it has a landscape that is entirely different from the traditional British and Irish classics. Sandy wasteland areas, unusual trees and bushes, a variety of wildlife, all make the experience an unfamiliar one for the British visitor.

This is a unique stretch of land that has 9 holes on either side of the Club House laid out in a figure of eight, so half the holes on each 9 can be played with the wind and 9 against, with the shore line only metres away at all points on the course. All players are encouraged to take a caddy, and it makes a big difference to the enjoyment of the round, as the line off the tee is not always apparent, while the greens are quick and not easy to read. Another difference with a UK links is the presence of water, particularly on the Back 9. Whilst I hear what other reviewers have said about 17 being slightly unnatural, it didn’t feel that way to me.

This is very much a unique course, and is not trying to be similar to any other. The alligator snoozing by the edge of the 17th was a reminder that this was not your average links! There is no weak hole as such; the Back 9 is a slightly different challenge due to the water that comes in on a number of holes, but the overall experience is fantastic. The round raced by and you starting wishing you could play again the moment you arrived on the 18th tee, but playing the course is as stimulating experience as is imaginable. Importantly, the bar is excellent with a panoramic view down the coastline! Conversation will undoubtedly turn to just how good the course is and where it ranks in your top ten favorites. On a beautiful South Carolina day, you will not want to leave! It’s a must play, and a must play again!!
January 16, 2013
10 / 10
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shigakogen
A little bit disappointed to be honest. My main gripe is the greens. Whilst the roll was pretty good they were littered with ball marks but given the conveyor belt nature of the play on the course I guess this should not be a surprise. Caddies were average.I think the water feature on 17 is completely out of place.All in all a fun course but for USD 400 and USD 130 per caddy it is a little steep but at least you can get on.
November 12, 2012
6 / 10
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Ivan Lipko
That's a hell of a course.Super natural, super beautiful, super challenging yet super playable.One of the firmest and fastest public courses in the US as well as one of the best kept ones.The caddie service is also superb. I especially recommend a guy called Jeff - a true professional.
July 10, 2010
10 / 10
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Mac Plumart
Truly a spectacular course. Being right on the ocean it is beautiful beyond words. If you play the correct tees, it is very playable and at the same time challenging. The wind is a strategic factor that must be accounted for all the time. The variety of the challenges is unrivaled. You must be able to hit fades and draws. You must be a long and accurate ball striker and have an excellent short game. It is truly amazing. Check out mprgolf.com for my full review.
August 06, 2009
10 / 10
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Henry McCray
The Ocean Course is quite simply put- devilishly delightful. As a caddie and a golfer I have walked those wondeful fairways hundreds of times, and she just never gets old. The greens, replaced in 2002, are a hybrid Seaside Paspalum. They have virtually no grain and can be watered and fuzzed to roll at a comfortable 9 or so, or rolled and shaved to see numbers over 12- so fast that downwind puts can travel virtually forever. Every hole presents a unique challenge and there is just no where to let up, the Ocean is a grind. A look at the scorecard will tell you that the black tees play nearly 7500 yards, but it doesn't tell you that there are many stretch tee boxes behind them. Only caddies have ever really played the full teeth of over 8,000 yards. Be smart when you play here- the Ocean tees play a scoatch under 7,000 yards and are plenty difficult even for scratch golfers. When the wind is up (often) 7,000 plays like 7500+, and the Tournament tees are just rediculous. Sure 510 yard par fours sound like fun- into a 25 knot breeze you could be driver (if you can make the carry) 3 wood and mid iron just to reach the greens. Spend some time practicing waste area shots- there are no traditional bunkers here, so you get to ground your club. With a little practice you can effectively hit and score from the waste areas. There is also no out of bounds here- find it and you can hit it. But beware- this is a natural habitat for all kinds of things that slither, alligators, bob cats, and god knows what else. If your caddie says wave bye-bye to the ball- trust him (or her.) While you enjoy your walk back to the clubhouse playing the final five holes think forward to the 2012 PGA- it will be an epic finish. Par? only if the PGA moves the tees up, the wind lays down, and somebody puts lights out. With the wind up and playing 7,500 yards you could see most of the field struggling to break 80. Even once. But as hard as she can be she is also fair. An accomplished player shouldn't have any trouble finding the fairways- but it will take a savy iron player and a lot of trust in your caddie to get the ball near the hole. When the wind is up there are plenty of "short cuts" and safe plays to help get you around the course safely. And remember, at sea level with high humidity the ball just doesn't go as far, so when your caddie hands you your driver or 3 wood on the par 3 17th smile and swing. And if you plop one in the water it's ok- almost everyone does- but don't go looking for a drop area, there isn't one. Re-tee and try again, you might consider hitting it straight at the bunkers and forget the green. Having played so many top courses I can assure you- The Ocean Course tops them all.
March 30, 2009
10 / 10
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W
Built specifically for the 1991 Ryder Cup , this course has acquired a somewhat fearsome reputation which was recently supported by a #1 rating in Golf Digest’s review of ‘America’s 50 Toughest Golf Courses’. The opening hole is a straightforward simple looking par 4 but even here there is mental pressure. This might just be your best chance of making a par! Off the Blue tees measuring 6,744 yards, the 2nd has a carry over swamp and marsh of over 200 yards on a double dog leg par 5. Playing singles in 1991, Seve won the hole with a 7.. I was delighted to match his score! The course then winds in a large figure of 8 with very clever use of the marsh and Dye’s ‘waste areas’ ensuring that no two holes play in exactly the same direction. This is important as Kiawah is very exposed, with the sea visible from every tee (thanks to Mrs Dye’s insistence that the landward holes be raised), and audible from the whole course! There are no bunkers at Kiawah, though there is plenty of sand. You play the ball as it lies and these ‘waste areas’ are a great feature with some steep banks requiring a lob wedge to get back on the fairway. Fortunately, you can have a practice swing in the sand to at least give yourself a chance of recovery. Once back in play, the fairways are immaculate and the greens firm and fast.Despite its youth, Kiawah does look fairly natural and from an environmental perspective, the Ocean Course is pioneering and award winning. The entire course is built on reclaimed land and set within it’s own lining which enables the irrigation supply, pesticides, fertilisers and all to be recycled and kept out of the natural ecosystem. The 7ft alligators though are not kept out of the Kiawah eco-system and you’ll probably see a few as you line up your tee shot on the par3 17th, a 200 yard carry over water (where both Montgomerie and Calcavecchia dumped theirs in the water)!A hugely enjoyable challenge, this is a wonderful golf course that despite its short history has developed a great pedigree. Ryder Cup, UBS Cup, 1997 World Cup (won by Harrington and McGinley for Ireland) and this year host to the Seniors USPGA, the Ocean Course at Kiawah will deservedly host a first major with the USPGA Championship scheduled for 2012. If the wind blows, I’d bet on level par being good enough! Not cheap (at over $300), this is an exhilarating place to play golf and definitely is a ‘must-play’ if you happen to be in the area!
March 19, 2007
10 / 10
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David Richards
What an amazing place. If I could vote this a double albatross I would.From the moment you turn up the place is simply special. The first is a gentle par 4, but that's where the gentleness ends. This course is a brute. When we started there was little wind and the caddies told us that if we kept it in play we could be in for a good score. When the wind started to blow the course really grabs you. Narrow fairways, with scrub bunkers and penal rough. The caddies are right though, keep the ball on the cut grass and you will score well (I did, 74!). The greens are as true as anything I have ever played on. The ONLY downside was the construction work on the new clubhouse. A massive complex which they plan to have ready by middle next year. That said the 'temporary' clubhouse would put many established venues in Europe to shame.As you can probably tell I can't speak highly enough of this venue. A truly memorable experience and one I will never ever forget.If you ever have the chance DO play here. And whilst you're there Osprey Point is pretty impressive.
July 04, 2006
10 / 10
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