Visit Kiawah Island This Autumn

Ocean Course, Kiawah Island Golf Resort

The famous Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. (Image: KiawahIsland.com)

South Carolina’s Kiawah Island Golf Resort, home of the diabolically difficult Ocean Course, is famous as the scene of Rory McIlroy’s runaway victory in the 2012 PGA Championship. McIlroy’s four-round total of 275 on what many consider the sternest test of golf in the United States was 13-under-par, a record eight strokes better than his nearest challenger.

Designed by Pete Dye, the Ocean Course is the headliner of five courses at a luxurious retreat set on a wind-swept barrier island 24 kilometres south of Charleston. The course, which offers panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean from all 18 holes, also famously hosted the 1991 Ryder Cup (remembered as the “War by the Shore”) and the 1997 and 2003 World Cups.

2012 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island Golf Resort

Rory McIlroy won the 2012 PGA Championship on the Ocean Course. (Image: KiawahIsland.com)

Depending on how the wind blows, golfers can expect as much as a three-club difference on any hole from one round to the next. The Ocean Course is said to have more sea holes than any other course in the Northern Hemisphere — 10 right along the Atlantic, with the other eight running just inland.

After ticking Dye’s Ocean Course off their bucket list, golfers can choose from among the resort’s four other championship designs:

  • Turtle Point is one of Jack Nicklaus’s earliest designs, featuring narrow fairways, evilly placed water hazards and small greens.
  • Osprey Point is a Tom Fazio design that plays around four large natural lakes and fingers of saltwater marsh.
  • Oak Point is a picturesque Clyde Johnston design built along the banks of the Kiawah River on the site of a former cotton and indigo plantation.
  • Cougar Point is a strategic Gary Player design offering dramatic vistas along the Kiawah River.

Après-golf activities at the resort include kayaking, nature tours, tennis on hard or clay courts, and bicycling around the property’s 10,000 wooded oceanfront acres.

But many visitors are content to lounge around Sanctuary Hotel, a sumptuous waterfront hotel and spa opened in 2004, where each of the 255 rooms is equipped with a porch — and almost all offer sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Related:

Read our review of Pete Dye’s new golf course in Roatan, Honduras.

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