Named the No. 1 Golf Resort in the U.S.
Kiawah is recognized internationally for its world-class golf courses. The Island has been a proud host to several championships including the 1991 Ryder Cup, the 2012 PGA Championship and the upcoming 2021 PGA Championship.
Cougar Point Golf Course was recently rated the “Golf Course of The Year”, by the South Carolina Golf Course Owners Association One of the most dramatic vistas on the island is the middle of Cougar Point’s front nine, along the Kiawah River, making this course a very memorable one. Originally named Marsh Point, Cougar Point was redesigned by Gary Player in 1996 and plays 6,875 yards. It features a great blend of short and long par-4s, great risk/reward par-5s and extremely scenic and challenging par-3s.
Cougar Point’s long par-4s feature wide landing areas putting the driver in the player’s hands, and open-run-up areas in front of the green making them reachable by the shorter hitters using a wood or long-iron. Its short par-4s feature great “target golf” where players must find specific landing areas on their drives to avoid obstacles and provide the best angle to the greens.
It has become a great strategic layout where players need to think their way around the course. For example, on No. 5, players want to be to the right to avoid hitting over and around trees. On No. 7 and No. 8, players must be to the left to avoid trees guarding approach shots
No. 6 has a spectacular view, and No. 17 is considered by many to be one of the prettiest and most challenging golf holes on the island.
More than any other course on the resort, Oak Point has gone through dramatic changes over the last couple of years, greatly enhancing both the quality of golf and the overall guest experience.
The resort purchased Oak Point in 1997, rounding out the championship rotation of five courses that makes Kiawah Island Golf Resort one of the world’s great golf destinations. Clyde Johnston, a noted Southeastern golf course architect, designed Oak Point on the grounds of former cotton and indigo plantation. With its close proximity to the Kiawah River and the Haulover Creek, with its surrounding maritime forest, Johnston was able to mold the rolling landscape into a first-class layout. Undulating fairways and challenging greens are some of the unique features of Oak Point.
In 2004, in consultation with Johnston, major renovations to the front nine were completed. Gone was the notoriously challenging par-4 third hole that featured a sharp dogleg right requiring an iron off the tee, then a short iron to a green with absolutely no margin for error. To make up the four shots to par that the elimination of the hole caused, the green on No. 1 was pushed back approximately 130 yards, changing the hole from a 402-yard par 4 to a demanding 535-yard par 5 with the green guarded by water on three sides. Additionally, a new 152-yard par three 9th hole was added next to the new clubhouse with a picturesque view of the Haulover Creek as a backdrop.
Oak Point is a shotmaker’s course. Strategy and a thinking approach to the golf course will be rewarded over pure power. In this sense, it is a bit of a throwback to the classic courses of the 1920s where the ability to place the ball in a certain portion of the fairway or a certain spot of the green was more important than power. Throw in the beautiful vistas and it is easy to understand why Oak Point recently received a near-perfect 4½ stars from the readers of Golf Digest magazine in their biennial “Best Places to Play” poll where it was rated one of the best values in South Carolina.
Generally, courses of the caliber of Osprey Point are in private club settings with restricted memberships and high membership fees. In fact, its architect, Tom Fazio, originally developed it as a members’ only type course. However, since Osprey Point is now part of Kiawah Island Golf Resort, anyone can enjoy this beautiful Lowcountry gem. Not only is Osprey Point a world-class layout, Osprey Point’s large, elegant clubhouse is available for guest’s use. It’s a favorite of not only after-round libations and dining, it’s a favorite location for wedding receptions and special event functions.
A favorite of resort guests, Fazio used a superb natural canvas to create a masterpiece in playability and variety. The setting for the course features four large, natural lakes, fingers of saltwater marsh, and dense maritime forests of live oaks, pines, palmettos and magnolias. Into that backdrop, Fazio blended a par-72 layout that takes advantage of its setting. The course offers a wide variety of holes, each presenting its own unique challenges and beauty, which are bound to produce an enjoyable round. Each hole is unique and memorable. There are four distinctive par-3s, four extremely distinctive par-5s and ten outstanding par-4s ranging in length from 340 yards to 461 yards from the championship tees.
Since Fazio’s design was for a member’s only type of course, Osprey Point is very playable for the average golfer. It features generous landing areas and few forced carries. From the proper tees, the course poses appropriate challenges to the better golfers and fairness to the high-handicapper, senior golfers and junior golfers.
For the better player, the course is very challenging with plenty of hazards to avoid, numerous risk/reward options and doglegs that go both left to right and right to left, requiring a premium on both accuracy and finesse.
Osprey Point is ranked 10th in Golf For Women“ magazine’s list of the “50 Best Golf Courses for Women,” It was also recently awarded a near-perfect 4½ stars in Golf Digest’s “Best Places to Play” reader’s poll where it was considered one of the best values in South Carolina.
The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort hosted the 2007 Senior PGA and the 2012 PGA Championships. The Ocean Course is the fourth course to have hosted each of the PGA of America’s major championships.
Probably no other golf course in the world outside of the United Kingdom and Ireland is affected as much by the wind. From one round to the next, a player can experience up to an 8-club difference on holes depending upon the direction and strength of the wind. Built in 1991 by Pete Dye, there are no prevailing winds on the course. Dye took this into account when designing the course. In fact, he designed two courses into one – one for an easterly wind and one for a westerly wind.
Located on the eastern-most end of Kiawah Island, The Ocean Course has more seaside holes than any other course in the Northern Hemisphere – 10 right along the Atlantic with the other 8 running parallel to those. Although it was originally designed to sit behind the dunes, Dye’s wife, Alice, suggested raising the entire course to allow players unobstructed views of Kiawah’s beautiful Atlantic coastline from every hole. This improved view, however, made the course substantially more demanding as it also exposed it to the area’s brisk and unpredictable sea breezes.
The Ocean Course gained instant notoriety as the host of the dramatic “War by the Shore,” a battle decided literally by the final putt of Sunday’s final match in 1991’s Ryder Cup Matches. In 1997, The Ocean Course hosted the World Cup of Golf, with the world’s finest golfers from 32 countries competing in the stroke play tournament. The inaugural UBS Cup took place on the course in 2001, and in 2003 the course hosted the World Golf Championships World Cup. The PGA Professional National Championship was played in June 2005.
Golf Digest named The Ocean Course “#3 Public Golf Course in U.S.”, #20 among “America’s Greatest Courses” and “America’s Toughest Resort Course.” It is one of only 17 “5-star” courses in North America in Golf Digest’s “Best Places to Play” reader’s poll. GOLF Magazine has rated it #4 in its “Top 100 Courses You Can Play” list. The Ocean Course has achieved the designation as a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” by the Audubon Sanctuary System, and has recently been named “Golf Course of the Year” by the National Golf Course Owners Association.
With 18 holes offering panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean, it is likely The Ocean Course would have earned widespread acclaim had no tournament ever been played there. In May 2007, The Ocean Course hosted the Senior PGA Championship, and in 2012 hosted the PGA Championship – the first of golf’s four majors to be played in South Carolina.
Rated 48th on Golf Digest’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Course List
Turtle Point is a low-profile golf course that delivers a high caliber golfing experience. Players from the Carolina Amateur, the Carolina PGA, the South Carolina Amateur and the 1990 PGA Cup Matches will all agree that the Turtle Point Golf Course is a true test for strategy and accuracy.
Jack Nicklaus once said that his number one goal in golf course design was to “make the player use his mind ahead of his muscles – to control his emotions sufficiently to really think through his options before drawing a club from the bag.” To that we say, welcome to Turtle Point Golf Club at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, one of Jack’s early designs and steeped in the finest traditions of classic golf course architecture.
Because of its traditional design, many of the better players visiting Kiawah Island Golf Resort would rather play Turtle Point than any of the other courses on the island. With narrow fairway corridors, small greens, strategically placed water hazards and plenty of out-of-bounds, Turtle Point calls for great accuracy and intelligent strategies. Players not driving the ball well will struggle for par. Since it is one of the longest courses on the island, proficiency with fairway woods and long irons is a must. So is the ability to scramble.
Like many of Jack’s early courses, the greens on Turtle Point are small. So players need to be able to hit shots high if they want them to stop. The course calls for players to be able to shape their shots both left-to-right and right-to-left. They will need to be proficient with every club in the bag and won’t necessarily hit a driver on every hole. And true to Jack’s playing philosophy, Turtle Point plays best hitting to specific landing areas to get the best angles into the greens.
Turtle Point experiences a lot of wind, as do all of the courses on Kiawah Island. The wind blows in different directions throughout the day. Trees protect many areas at Turtle Point so players won’t always sense how the wind might affect their shots. Local knowledge is very important in dealing with these phantom winds.
This exciting course was selected to hold many important championships including the Carolinas’ Amateur, the Carolinas’ PGA, the South Carolina Amateur and the 1990 PGA Cup Matches, the club professionals version of the Ryder Cup.
When players go down the list of what makes a great golf course, whether it’s shot values, memorability, design variety, resistance to scoring, aesthetics or any other criteria they may use, Turtle Point is sure to score high.
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