Reader weighs in on Ocean Course at Kiawah

I played the Ocean Course a couple of times many years ago.  It left an indeliable impression.  GolfCommunityReviews reader and contributor Elliot deBear just returned from a great weekend on Kiawah Island and shares his thoughts and always-outstanding photos below.

by Elliot deBear

    The Pete Dye masterpiece measures 7,536 yards, with a whopping 144 slope and 77.2 course rating. There is little to say about this track that hasn't been said before.  It is simply one of the most outstanding golf courses I have ever played.  
    The Ocean Course, host to a past Ryder Cup and future PGA Championship (in 2012), will forever be on the list of top 100 courses in the world.  If you go, be advised that morning rounds require you walk and hire a caddy.  Walking definitely enhances the experience as it affords the player panoramic views from fantastic vantage points throughout the course. The caddies are extremely helpful in club selections relative to wind conditions, placements off the tees and reading the greens in terms of speed.
    The Ocean Course is rated the most difficult resort course in America with good reason.  To enjoy your round to the fullest, it is critical that you play the appropriate tees.  The starter and caddy will help you choose correctly.   For example, I usually play the tips or one down, but at the Ocean Course, with prevailing 30 MPH winds sweeping in from the Atlantic Ocean, I was warned that 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 protected by pot bunkers on the left side.  Sand dunes, natural grasses and the Atlantic Ocean frame the rest of the green.  
    The par 4 finishing hole is long, between 396 and 439 yards with wind straight in your face along the ocean.  It leads up to the new and welcoming clubhouse, a great place to finish a memorable day.



Photos by Elliot deBear


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