There is little I can say about the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort that hasn't been said before.
The Pete Dye masterpiece measures 7,536 yards with a whopping 144 slope and 77.2 course rating. It is simply one of the most outstanding golf courses I have ever played. The Ocean Course, host to the 2012 PGA Championship and past Ryder Cup and World Cup course, will forever be on of the top 100 courses in the world.
If you go, morning rounds require you walk and take a caddie. Walking definitely enhances the experience as it affords the player panoramic views from fantastic vantage points throughout the course.
This track is rated the most difficult resort golf course in America with good reason. The caddies are extremely helpful in club selections relative to wind conditions, placements off the tees and reading the greens in terms of speed.
To enjoy your round to the fullest it is critical that you play the appropriate tees. The starter and caddie will help you choose correctly. For example, I usually play the tips or one down, but at the Ocean Course that has sweeping winds coming in from the Atlantic Ocean, I was warned that the 30 MPH winds on this day, the course would play 300 yards longer than the scorecard. Based on this, I moved down to the Dye tees at 6,475 yards (136/72.5) and had plenty of course to play giving me the chance to make a number of pars on my way to a score of 84.
Make no mistake about it, the Ocean Course is expensive and you want to enjoy the experience, not fight your way around 18 difficult holes. Take a camera or you will hate yourself once you see how gorgeous this track is from the 1st tee to the 18th green.
The two finishing holes are mint. The par 3 17th, one of the Ocean's signature holes, is a long par 3 to a tight, two-tiered green with pot bunkers protecting the left side with the green framed with sand dunes, natural grasses and the Atlantic Ocean on the right. The par 4 finishing hole is long, between 396 and 439 yards with wind straight in your face along the ocean leading up to the new club house that acts as the backdrop.
After the round it is strongly suggested you sit in the wooden lounge chairs behind the putting green overlooking the 18th and ocean beyond with a cold one in hand to think about the track you just played.
- Elliot DeBear
October 20, 2009