Course Architect: Pete Dye (redesign work in 1997, 2002-03)
Year Opened: 1991
Location: Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Slope: 155. Rating: 79.6
Par: 72
Yardage: 7,629 (Back tees 7,937 yards)
Hole-by-Hole: 1 - Par 4 395 Yds    10 - Par 4 439 Yds
                      2 - Par 5 543 Yds    11 - Par 5 576 Yds
                      3 - Par 4 390 Yds    12 - Par 4 466 Yds
                      4 - Par 4 453 Yds    13 - Par 4 465 Yds
                      5 - Par 3 207 Yds    14 - Par 3 219 Yds
                      6 - Par 4 479 Yds    15 - Par 4 468 Yds
                      7 - Par 5 568 Yds    16 - Par 5 579 Yds
                      8 - Par 3 197 Yds    17 - Par 3 221 Yds
                      9 - Par 4 494 Yds    18 - Par 4 470 Yds
                      Par 36  3,726 Yds     Par 36  3,903 Yds

Key Events Held: Ryder Cup Matches (1991),
                 Shell's Wonderful World of Golf (1996),
                 World Cup of Golf (1997),
                 Site of the movie "Legend of Bagger Vance" (2000),
                 UBS Warburg Cup (2001),
                 WGC - World Cup (2003),
                 PGA Club Professional Championship (2005),
                 Senior PGA Championship (2007),
                 PGA Championship (2012, 2021).

Awards Won: #1 Golf Course in South Carolina - Golf Digest,
            #1 Best State-by-State Public Access Course - Golfweek,
            #18 America's Top 100 Modern Courses - Golfweek (2006),
            #3 Top 100 You Can Play - Golf Magazine (2006),
            #1 Golf Resort in U.S. - Travel + Leisure (2006),
            #4 Resort Course in America - Golf Digest,
            #9 America's Best Resort Courses - Golfweek (2005),
            America's Toughest Resort Course - Golf Digest,
            #8 Best Public Course in the U.S. - Golf Digest (2005-06),
            5 Stars - Best Places to Play - Golf Digest (2006),
            #30 Best Courses for Women - Golf for Women (2005),
            #10 Golf Magazine - Top 50 Greatest Courses last 50 years (2009)

            Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.


HISTORY: How does a course get picked to host the Ryder Cup when it's not even
built? Well, you'll have to ask the PGA of America, but that was the case when
in  1988, the Ocean  Course was selected as host of the 29th Ryder Cup Matches
in 1991.

With  legendary  architect Pete Dye  in tow  and permits finally granted, work
begun  in the summer of 1989. Dye, as most are aware, has designed some of the
most  famous and  infamous courses in the  world, such as the TPC at Sawgrass,
Whistling Straits, Blackwolf Run, Harbour Town and Casa de Campo.

Dye had his work cutout for him with just two years to craft an amazing layout
to  test the world's  best players. Just a few months after the routing began,
Hurricane  Hugo put  everything on  hold. But  to his  credit and  all of  the
workers  on the  project, everyone pitched in to complete this course, as even
PGA officials believed it would not be finished.

Dye's  wife Alice  played an  important  part in  the design  process, as  she
suggested  that people who  play the course should be able to see the Atlantic
Ocean. With that in mind, eight of the inland holes were elevated six feet and
all  of the  holes bordering the ocean,  so that you could enjoy the beautiful

Within one year, the course was ready for seeding, but the naysayers continued
to  throw doubt, as even Lanny Wadkins was quoted as saying, "No way will this
course be ready for the Ryder Cup." He of course, was wrong.

The 1991 Ryder Cup was everything Pete Dye had intended. The wind blew and the
players  battled  to an epic  conclusion. Deemed, "The  War at the Shore," the
29th Ryder Cup was an incredible competition. Dave Stockton was the captain of
the United States squad, while the European team was led by Bernard Gallacher.
The  Americans  opened up a  3-1 advantage after  the morning foursomes led by
veterans  Wadkins and  Hale Irwin, as they crushed Colin Montgomerie and David
Gilford,  4 &  2. Ryder Cup stalwarts Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal
claimed the only morning point for the Euros. The afternoon four-balls brought
the  Europeans  within one point,  as they captured  2 1/2 points. Once again,
Ballesteros and Olazabal won their match to spearhead the charge. Fred Couples
and  Ray Floyd,  a captains pick, won for  the second time on day one, as they
defeated  Nick Faldo and  Ian Woosnam, 5 & 3. Day two saw the Americans take a
commanding  morning  lead winning  three of  the four  matches, as Wadkins and
Irwin won, 4 & 2 over David Feherty and Sam Torrance. Ballesteros and Olazabal
continued  their  winning ways,  capturing the  only point  for the Euros over
Couples and Floyd. The afternoon four-balls went the way of the Euros, as they
evened  the  matches at  8-8. Couples  and Payne Stewart  were the only saving
grace  for  the U.S., as they  halved Ballesteros and Olazabal. After dropping
two  early matches  to David Feherty and  Nick Faldo, the American squad got a
boost  from Mark Calcavecchia, or so they thought. Leading 5-up after nine and
4-up with just four holes to play against Montgomerie, Calcavecchia played the
final four holes in eight-over par, including dumping a pair of balls into the
water on 17 to gain a half with Monty. Corey Pavin, Paul Azinger and Chip Beck
followed  with  wins for the U.S.,  but Ballesteros and Paul Broadhurst earned
points for the Europeans, who led 13-12 with just three matches remaining. The
Europeans just needed a tie to retain the cup, as they were victorious in 1987
and  tied  in 1989.  Couples and Wadkins  came through in  the clutch, as both
players  posted 3  & 2 wins over  future Ryder Cup captains, Torrance and Mark
James  respectively.  It came down  to Irwin vs.  Bernhard Langer in the final
match.  Dominating most  of the match, Irwin  led 2-up with just four to play.
After  winning the 15th  hole, Langer closed to within one and made a great up
and  down  from the  sand on  16 to remain  1-down. On  the famous 17th, Irwin
three-jacked  from 40-feet,  while Langer sank a crucial five-footer to square
the  match. Both  players missed the green  in two on the last. Irwin, playing
first,  chipped  poorly to  30-feet while  Langer, putting  from the edge, got
within  four-feet of  the hole. Irwin, who  played the final nine holes in 41,
missed his par putt and was conceded bogey from three feet. Langer, needing to
make  to retain the Cup, missed right and the American's reclaimed the trophy.
Ballesteros,  consoling  his fallen compatriot,  "No golfer in the world could
have made that putt."

Shell's  Wonderful World of Golf made its only appearance at the Ocean Course,
as  Annika Sorenstam  battled Dottie Pepper in 1996. Pepper came away with the
win  despite a  triple-bogey on 18 for  a round of 75, compared to Sorenstam's

Dye  returned to  the Ocean Course in  1997 to make some subtle changes to the
course.  Most  notably, replacing  the turf  on the approaches  to each of the
greens  and  adding collection areas  around the  putting surfaces. All of the
changes  were made  to challenge the best  players and to increase the pace of

Players  from around the  globe returned to Kiawah Island for the World Cup in
1997,  as the duo of Irish duo of Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley claimed
a five-shot win. Competitors who had criticized the Ocean Course in 1991, were
quite complimentary this time around. Colin Montgomerie, who called the course
unplayable  during the  Ryder Cup commented, "The course has improved over the
last  six years. It's grown into a popular, well-respected golf course, one of
the  world's finest,  if not  America's best  resort." Montgomerie,  who edged
Germany's Alex Cejka for the individual title, teamed with Raymond Russell for
a  second-place  finish for Scotland.  Montgomerie shot rounds of 68-66-66-66,
two  clear of  Cejka, who  shot the  course  record of  63 in  round one.  The
American team of Davis Love III and Justin Leonard finished third,

Even  Hollywood came calling in 2000, as Robert Redford and company filmed the
movie,  "The Legend  of Bagger Vance" at  the Ocean Course. Will Smith, as the
lead  character, helps  a down-and-out  golfer, Matt  Damon, defeat  legendary
golfers  Walter  Hagen and Bobby Jones  in an exhibition match. A special hole
was  built near  the practice range for  the movie by Tom Simpson, who was the
shaper for Kiawah's greens for Pete Dye.

The  Ocean  Course played  host to the  inaugural UBS Warburg  Cup in 2001, an
event featuring players 40 and over in a Ryder Cup-style format. Arnold Palmer
captained the United States squad, while Gary Player led the Rest of the World
team.  The U.S. squad  edged the Rest of the World, 12 1/2 to 11 1/2. Trailing
7-5  after the first  two days, the Americans rallied to captured 7 1/2 points
out  of the 12 singles matches for the win. Palmer opened the final day with a
2  &  1 win  over Player, but  it was  the final two  matches that decided the
outcome,  as Mark  Calcavecchia defeated  Ian Woosnam,  1-up and  Larry Nelson
knocked  off Frank Nobilo,  3 & 2. Player regarded the Ocean Course as "One of
the top-10 courses I've ever played."

More  changes  came in  2002 and  '03, as  Dye returned  to revamp the course.
Adjustments to the second and fourth holes and moving the 18th green closer to
the  Atlantic highlighted  the alterations. Dye also created new tees on seven
holes and resurfaced each green in 2003.

The  World Cup  returned for  the 49th  staging of  the team  event, as  South
Africans,  Trevor Immelman  and Rory Sabbatini cruised to a four-shot win over
Paul  Casey  and Justin Rose of  England. The U.S. squad paired Justin Leonard
with  Jim Furyk,  but the Americans finished tied for fifth. The South African
duo  held a seven-shot cushion heading into the final round and despite a one-
over 73, they were able to win the fifth World Cup title for their country.

In  2005, the PGA Club Professional Championship came to Kiawah Island and the
Ocean  Course held its own, as no player finished 72 holes under par. When all
was said and done, Mike Small, the University of Illinois golf coach, defeated
Travis  Long by  three shots for the  title. Small opened with rounds of 73-76
and  stood  five shots off  the lead,  but a third-round  best of 71, the only
round  of the  day under  par, vaulted  Small to  within two  of the  lead. On
Sunday,  Small was  one of just four players  to break 70, as he shot 69 for a
one-over-par  total  of 289, the  highest winning score  in the history of the
event.  To say  the course played difficult would be an understatement, as the
field  averaged 77.214 for the week and a whopping three shots over par on the
back  nine alone. Seven of the holes on the final nine ranked in the top-10 as
the hardest for the week.

REVIEW:  One of only  two par fours on the course under 400 yards, albeit just
five  yards  short of that  figure, the first hole  is a dandy opener. Playing
fairly  straight,  the key  is avoiding  the sandy waste  area down the entire
right  side, which  boasts several tall trees.  Left of the landing area is no
bargain  either,  so three-metal off  the tee is your  best play. Just a short
iron  remains  to a fairly  simple green, guarded short  and right by sand and
water.  Approach the left side of the putting surface to set up your best shot
at birdie, as the green is only 27 paces deep.

Although just 543 yards from the tips, the second hole is a very demanding par
five.  There  are three  distinct landing  areas. First, the  tee shot on this
dogleg  left must find  the wide fairway. Cutting the corner can set up a play
to go for the green, but this is extremely risky. The second shot is either to
an 80-yard long strip of fairway or going for the green or attempting to reach
the  third  landing zone,  short of  the putting surface.  All three zones are
surrounded  by  sand, waste area  and marsh, so  pinpoint accuracy is key. The
green  is  long, but very narrow  as it sits  above the fairway. Any shot just
offline  will  roll back down into  a collection area.  As you can read, not a
simple par five.

The  last par four under 400 yards, the third is a dogleg left with a 190-yard
carry  over marsh  from the back buttons.  The fairway is quite wide, so avoid
the  sand and  scrub left, as you  will be blocked by trees towards the green.
Just  a wedge  should remain to an  elevated green devoid of sand. The putting
surface  is  just 26 yards  wide and  very narrow with  the wet stuff long and
left. Club selection is critical in your efforts to make birdie.

One  of the most difficult driving holes on the course, the fourth is a rugged
453-yard  par four with  three devilish pot bunkers down the right side of the
landing  area. The fairway  runs out at 295 yards, so the big hitters must use
three-metal  off the tee.  The entire hole is surrounded by marsh, so any ball
off  line  is gone. A long  iron or fairway metal  will remain to a green with
subtle  undulations. The putting surface is guarded by two traps right, so err
left if you have any doubts. Making par here is a great score.

The  first par three, the fifth features the longest green on the course at 49
yards  deep.  To complicate things,  the putting surface  is divided by a huge
ridge,  so depending upon pin placement and wind, the correct club off the tee
must  be chosen.  Sand down the entire  left side can spell doom for an errant
shot, especially with a back-left flag.

If  you haven't gotten  the message after the first five holes, the sixth will
surely clue you in. At this hole is when you decide wether you have picked the
right tees to play from. Stretching to as much as 479 yards and usually into a
breeze,  the sixth  requires a  mighty blast  off the  tee just  to reach  the
fairway. Even with a successful shot, a long iron or fairway metal will remain
to  a  long, undulating  putting surface. As  with all the  holes on the Ocean
Course, a sandy waste area surrounds the entire hole, so club yourself wisely.

The  par  five seventh is  reachable if  you're able to  cut the corner of the
dogleg  right.  Having written that, you  must avoid the sandy waste area down
the  right  to have  any shot,  as it  sticks out  like a  sore thumb into the
fairway.  The hole then narrows all the way to the green, with sand dunes left
and  gnarly scrub right. The putting surface is pretty easy and should yield a
birdie or two.

It  might not  seem like a break,  but the par-three eighth could be construed
as  such because the green is accessible and fairly wide, accepting most shots
easily.  The  putting surface does  slope from the center  to the back and the
green is surrounded by waste area, front, right and behind, so be careful. The
more  I  think about it, you  better pay attention  to this one or you'll make
double-bogey in a heartbeat.

Despite  its length,  the ninth  is one  of the  easier driving  holes on  the
course.  A wide  fairway on  this dogleg  left should  be a  simple task.  The
difficulty  remains  with the  length, at  a whopping 494  yards from the back
marker.  A  long iron  or fairway metal  might be needed  to attack the green,
however,  any  shot left will  end up in the  sand while approaches right will
feed  away from  the putting surface. The back-to-front sloping green is quite
slick and requires a deft touch. What a ride, and you're only at the midpoint.

A  long walk  or  modest cart  ride  is needed  to reach  the  10th tee  after
completing the front nine. The 10th is an intimidating hole, however, don't be
fearful,  as the landing  area off the tee is open to the left. The key is not
to  miss your  tee shot to the right,  as a long waste area will gobble up any
and  all  miss-hits. The huge wall  will force you  to layup well short of the
green. A good drive will set up a short iron to a putting surface that is long
and  narrow.  Deep of  the green  is jail, so  play towards  the center of the
green, especially when the pin is back and left.

Yet  another three-shot par  five, the 11th winds left, right and left, like a
snake  in the  grass. Missing the fairway  to the right off the tee will, just
like  No.  10, spell trouble  and force a premature  layup. The proper play is
left  fairway off the  tee, medium or long iron for your second shot and wedge
to  the green. This will set up a birdie chance and take all the danger out of
the  mix. The elevated putting surface has severe drops, but it will hold your
approach. Look for birdie, but par is just fine.

Probably  the widest  fairway on the course,  the 12th can be had, but only if
you  land in  the short grass. Danger  lurks right, as a canal runs the gambit
through the green. You certainly won't fare better missing left, as sand dunes
and  scrub await.  Your approach  to the  green plays  slightly downhill  to a
putting  surface that runs  away towards the rear. Let your second shot run to
the flag, otherwise bogey or worse could ruin your round.

One  of the most  picturesque and difficult holes on the course, the 13th is a
great  par four.  Water crosses in front  of the tee box and then wanders down
the  entire  right side of the  fairway past the  green. A solid tee shot must
favor  the  left side of  the landing  area to set  up any realistic chance of
getting  home,  however, stay  clear of  the two  pot bunkers.  A long iron or
hybrid could be the call for your second shot, but beware because the green is
long with bunkers and dunes left and water right.

As  you begin  your trek  home, the  14th offers  an outstanding  view of  the
Atlantic  Ocean. Another  par  three  over 200  yards,  this  gem features  an
elevated  green with  a diabolical  sandy waste  area to  the right  (trust me
on  this)  and severe  dropoffs right  and deep.  The green  is very large and
undulating, making a two-putt extremely difficult. Missing the putting surface
will certainly test your short game, and your mind.

With  the wind  at your back, hopefully,  and the ocean to the right, the 15th
requires  a  200-yard carry  over the  dunes to just  reach the fairway. Left-
center  is the call off the tee, however any shot missing the short grass will
be  deep in sand  and difficult to recover from. A mid-iron should remain to a
fairly  small green, just 30 paces deep. The putting surface is not to tricky,
so any shot near the center could result in birdie.

Another  shot at  birdie, the 16th is  a strong par five, stretching 579 yards
from  the back tee.  Water to the left of the tee box necessitates a big blast
if  you  play down the  left, however the smart  shot is right-fairway to take
advantage  of the  slope that traverses down towards the hole. Sling a fairway
metal  down  the right  for  your  second and  you'll  get  home in  two.  The
difficulty  here  is the  dunes right  and the massive  trap left. The putting
surface  is  miniscule at 29 paces  and is slightly elevated from the fairway.
This hole can be had, but only with pinpoint accuracy.

One  of the  greatest par  threes in  golf, although  Mark Calcavecchia  might
disagree,  the  17th is all about  carry and club selection. Very intimidating
off  the  tee, especially from all  the way back. Water encompasses the entire
right  side of the hole,  so bail out left if you must and try to make par the
old  fashioned  way. Two  deep traps  guard the left  side and  the green is a
massive 46 steps deep (that's 10,000 square feet). Depending upon the weather,
you  could hit five  iron or five wood on this great hole. During the 2005 PGA
Club  Professional  Championship, the  17th played as  the most difficult hole
during the event with a scoring average of 3.586.

Your  final hole on the Ocean Course completes a back nine that measures 3,903
yards!  At 470 yards  from the tips, this awesome par four needs a tee shot to
favor  the right side to set up the best angle to the green. In 2002, Pete Dye
moved  the  green complex  25 yards  to the  right and  closer to the Atlantic
Ocean.  The  second handicap hole  on the course just  got harder. A myriad of
deep bunkers guard the landing zone, so accuracy and strength are needed here.
The  second  shot will require  a long iron or  hybrid to reach the undulating
putting  surface. Any shot  left will be trapped and any shot right, well, the
Ocean calls.

OVERALL: Not only does the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island make you scratch your
head in wonder and anxiety, but it also makes you want to come back and tackle
the  beast  again. This  course is, by  far, the hardest  resort course in the
United States, but it's also one of the greatest.

The  Ocean Course  requires  every club  in  your bag,  not  to mention  great
imagination.  It reminds  me of  Pine Valley,  where if  you miss  the fairway
you're doomed, but if you find safe haven in the short grass, you're rewarded.
Variety  is  what makes  this course  great. Doglegs  right and left, straight
holes,  bail out  rights and lefts, and flat, undulating and heavily contoured

Let's  start  off  with  the  amenities. A  $20  million,  24,000-square  foot
clubhouse  is expected to be finished in the spring of 2007, complete with all
the  trimmings  and situated above  the 18th green.  It will included a locker
room big enough to accommodate 164 players, a 1,700-square foot pro shop and a

The  practice facility is  one of the largest I've ever seen with enough range
balls  to make Vijay  Singh's hands bleed and plenty of space to work on every
aspect of your game.

Next  up is the  staff. The personnel at the Ocean Course is a perfect example
of  Southern hospitality.  From the shuttle bus drivers to the bag handlers to
the  staff in the  pro shop and to the marvelous caddies, the people at Kiawah
Island take a back seat to no one.

Finally,  the course. It  comes as no surprise that the Ocean Course is ranked
in  the  top 100 in  the United States and  has been called America's Toughest
Resort  Course by Golf Digest. This is golf the way it was meant to be played,
against  the elements  and nature. The conditioning of the fairways and greens
are amazing while the look and lines of the course are brilliant.

Since day one, Pete Dye and the people at Kiawah Island have spared no expense
to make this one of the greatest courses in the world and they have succeeded.

With its length, most people would consider the Ocean Course as a single-digit
player's  dream,  however all golfers can  play this course -- made evident by
the five different sets of tees and the course ranging from as little as 5,327

Although  there is  plenty of sand on  the course, there are only six bunkers,
with  the remaining  sand part of "transition areas." Feel free to ground your
club and take plenty of practice swings, you'll need them.

The course is a tale of two different, but equally challenging, nines. Winding
through  marsh  and environmentally-sensitive areas,  the opening nine is laid
out  on the  eastern-most tip of Kiawah Island. The closing nine moves through
sand  dunes, sea oats and wire grasses with the final five holes running along
side the Atlantic Ocean.

A  course like  this comes along once  in a lifetime, each hole unique. If you
haven't been to Ireland and Scotland, this is the next best thing...or better.
The Ocean Course is a supreme test of skill and courage. Pick the right set of
tees, grab a caddie, listen to his advice and enjoy the time of your life.