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Kiawah Island, Ocean

Kiawah Island in South Carolina is another top American course where they also host major tournaments and the PGA championship in 2021. I played the course in August 2016 and booked a tee time at 8AM in the morning to avoid too much heat and humidity. The drive through the resort is nice and the close you got to the Ocean course the more you realize how the terrain is going to be on the course.

one of the view whilst driving through the resort
one of the view whilst driving through the resort

Billede 22-08-2016 07.42.41

clubhouse from the parking space

clubhouse from the parking space side

I was really taken away by the views and scenery when arriving and walking into the clubhouse. It is a beautiful location which a nice view of the sea.

View from driving range
View from driving range
It was a clear sunny day and the sun rising.
It was a clear sunny day and the sun rising.

The first holes we played with the sun rising in the calm water. I played with 3 other guests and it was immediately a great group of golfers about to enjoy themselves in perfect conditions.

Hole 1, Par 4, 375yards
Hole 1, Par 4, 375 yards

Nice short opening hole where you can get away with a fairway miss. Most space to the left of the fairway and a sand hazard to the right with trees that might interrupt your second shot. I hit a driver in the semi-rough. 9 iron to the green and a 2 putt par.

Looking back down the fairway on 1st
Looking back down the fairway on 1st
Billede 22-08-2016 08.44.08
Hole 2, Par 5, 528 yards

Now you really start to see how Pete Dye designed the course to play with your mind. A good risk/reward par 5 where the sand runs along the left side of the fairway to catch a short drive and rough on the right hand side. Be aggressive and you could be rewarded with a putt for eagle, but also walk away with doubble bogey. I took my driver and played safe, which resulted in a semi rough second shot.

second shot on hole 2
second shot on hole 2

Again Pete Dye makes you think and either play safe for a longer 3rd shot or go over the hazard that runs across the fairway for a short pitch. I felt comfortable taking a rescue wood and played up about 50 yards short of the green.

2nd green
2nd green

I hit my approach onto the green and as you can there is run off areas around the green as throughout most the course. Another 2 putt for a par.

Hole 3, par 4, 367 yards
Hole 3, par 4, 367 yards

Another tricky drive where you need be accurate from the tee to get the best approach shot to the green. I hit a good drive to the left side of the fairway and was between 9 and Pitching wedge on my second shot. Here is where a great caddie makes the difference, he gave me good advice, precise yardage (in my case meters) which meant that I hit an almost full 9 iron pin high to set myself up for a birdie. Nice!

My birdie putt
My birdie putt
Hole 4, Par 4, 432 yards
Hole 4, Par 4, 432 yards

This is definitely one of the most difficult holes on the course. It requires some good shots to get a par. I hit a perfect drive down the fairway and was between 5 and 6 iron on the approach. Took the 5 iron and went just a bit long and was not able to recover for par – bogey instead…

4th green
4th green
Hole 5, Par 3, 185 yards
Hole 5, Par 3, 185 yards

Nice par 3 where I made a stupid course management mistake and went too much for the left hand pin instead of playing safe in the middle of the green. Went in the bunker pin high with a difficult sandshot that resulted in a bogey. The green is huge and a hole where it makes sense to just get in on the green and putt from there.

Hole 6, Par 4, 377 yards
Hole 6, Par 4, 377 yards

The drive here is pretty straight forward with plenty of space. The pin was also accessible when I played and placed in the front which made it easier. I hit a good drive and a wedge to the green that spun a bit too much and was in the fringe, made par.

6th green
6th green
Hole 7, Par 5, 505 yards
Hole 7, Par 5, 505 yards

Wide fairway that makes the drive the easier part of the hole, however it is more difficult to the second shot on the green.

7th green
7th green

It takes a great second shot to stay on the green and avoid run off or hazards. I went into the bunker on the left and hit a good third shot onto the green. Got a par.

Hole 8, Par 3, 170 yards
Hole 8, Par 3, 170 yards

Tricky par 3 hole where again you have the run off areas to take any shots off-line, which 2 of my playing partners experienced as you can see from picture. I hit a really solid 8 iron just short of the hole and made birdie.

Hole 9, Par 3, 415 yards
Hole 9, Par 3, 415 yards

Good finishing hole to the front 9, where there is space for the drive, but the second shot requires precision. You want to favour the left hand side of the fairway to give a shorter shot to the green, I did the opposite and hit my drive right in the rough. My second shot came up well short of the green as you can see from approach below.

my 3rd shot to 9th green
my 3rd shot to 9th green
View from 9th green
View from 9th green

I hit a decent chip as you can from above and made my par which resulted in an opening front 9 of 36 shots which I was really pleased with.

Some of the nice houses close to the course
Some of the nice houses close to the course
Hole 10, Par 4, 378 yards
Hole 10, Par 4, 378 yards

The design of the hole makes it look more difficult than it is, but there is actually more room out there then it looks. I hit a poor drive in the bunker short of the fairway and left an impossible shot to the green. It was followed by a poor approach and a double bogey start to the back nine.

10th green
10th green
Hole 11, Par 5, 521 yards
Hole 11, Par 5, 521 yards

Pretty wide fairway, where you want to avoid hitting into the right hand waste area that I did. I got a decent lie and manage to get within range for the 3rd shot to the green

approach to 11th
approach to 11th
Hole 12, Par 4, 420 yards
Hole 12, Par 4, 420 yards

Another wide fairway that is slightly down hill. I hit a great drive to wedge distance and as you can see below you do not want to miss the green anywhere but short. I went safe to the middle of the green, maybe a bit too save with a wedge in hand.

12th green
12th green
Hole 13, Par 4, 371 yards
Hole 13, Par 4, 371 yards

A really good looking risk/reward hole where you just need to decide how much to take off on the drive. I hit my worst drive all day left and long over the bunkers. Another bogey on the card.

13th green
13th green
Hole 14, Par 3, 171 yards
Hole 14, Par 3, 171 yards

The view is great on this difficult par 3. The wind has now picked up significantly and straight into playing 2 clubs longer. I hit a good shot that went just left of the green and into the deep grass between the bunker and green.

14th green
14th green

I thought I hit a good chip, but it rolled over the green and down the slope on the other side. Came up short and rolled down again – double bogey 5. I had played really well on the front nine, but was losing it on the back nine. Not because I wasnt hitting the ball well, but mainly because I just missed in the wrong places which really makes is tough to get around in low numbers.

15th approach
15th approach

Long par 4 when the wind is against you. I hit a good drive, but hit second left of the green which resulted in a bogey.

Hole 16, Par 5, 555 yards
Hole 16, Par 5, 555 yards

This is just a really long good par 5 with the wind into your face. Plenty of space, but just hit 3 solid shots to get on the green. Missed my drive just right into the rough. Hit a 4 wood and a 3 hybrid in my third shot to get on the green. 2 putt for a par.

16th green
16th green
Hole 17, Par 3, 191 yards
Hole 17, Par 3, 191 yards

This is one of the hardest par 3’s I have played with the wind we had. Above picture is from the back tee with 221 yards to the green protected by water and bunkers. I hit a 3 hybrid pin high but just left of the bunker with a difficult chip. Made bogey.

17th green
17th green
Hole 18, Par 4, 421 yards
Hole 18, Par 4, 421 yards

Many great courses have superb finishing holes and so does Kiawah Island. 18th a difficult par 4 dogleg left to right. Keep close to right hand side, but avoid the bunkers and it will leave a good approach shot. I hit my drive long and left with 235 yards into the green. Played up just right of the green, but did not manage to get up and down for par. Another bogey and dissapointing back nine  45 shots.

18th green
18th green

Billede 22-08-2016 13.29.01

I was still pleased with my score of 81 shots, but felt it could have been really good after the opening 9. The course was in fantastic shape and luckily they had decided not to aerify the course during august. The overall experience ranks high on my list and I will be back again one day. I would love to stay at the resort and play some of the other courses as well.

My score

score

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