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February 10, 2012

Course Spy: The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island

Posted at 6:45 PM by Joe Passov | Categories: Course Spy, South Carolina

Kiawah The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Resort
Kiawah Island, S.C.
7,356 yards, par 72
Green fees: $208-$350
800-576-1570
kiawahresort.com

Service
What is it you require? An impeccable practice range? Five-star assistance at the bag drop? A helpful, laconic caddie who knows every wrinkle in every green? At this, the highest of high-end resort courses, your every need is attended to with detail.

Pace of Play
Tee times are spread out (10-minute intervals), but the layout is too challenging to whip through at full-throttle. On our visit, no golfers blocked our progress, and we finished in four hours. It may take you more time; don't expect it to take any less.

Quality
If you've played other marquee Pete Dye tracks (such as TPC Sawgrass) some shot requirements will ring familiar (the man enjoys his watery, late-round par 3s). Kiawah is set apart by its coastal setting, with the Atlantic lurking and the wetland grasses waving around you.

Value
They ask a healthy price, but you get what you pay for: a pedigree layout in spit-shined shape, in a setting that's the essence of Southern elegance. Bonus points: You get to brave the watery par-3 17th, which made Calc's knees buckle in the pressure-packed climax of the 1991 Ryder Cup.

Verdict
You need not be an unrepentant trophy hunter to want to add this prey—which will challenge the best at this year's PGA Championship—to your list of kills. No matter your skill level, if you love a tough test and have a sense of golf history, the Ocean Course is a must-play.

(Photo: Kiawah Island Resort)

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