Kiawah Island - Ocean Course
Kiawah Island — South Carolina, USA
International Championship course
Playable on simulator at Golf en Ville, the premier commercial indoor center of Paris
Architect: Pete Dye — Designed: 1976
Severity index: 3 — Difficult
18 holes, Par 72 — Length: 7356 yards
About Kiawah Island - Ocean Course
The Ocean Course: An American Icon
Join the ranks of avid golfers who have The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort on their must-play list for a true test of skill. Located on the eastern-most end of the island, The Ocean Course boasts the most seaside holes in the Northern Hemisphere with ten hugging the Atlantic and the other eight running parallel to those.
Although it was originally planned to sit behind the dunes, designer Pete Dye’s wife, Alice, suggested raising the entire course to give players unobstructed views of Kiawah’s stunning coastline from every hole. One catch? This improved view made the course substantially more demanding as it also exposed play to the Atlantic’s brisk and unpredictable breezes.
In fact, it’s unlikely any other golf course in the world—outside the United Kingdom and Ireland—is affected as much by wind. From one round to the next, a player can experience up to an 8-club difference on holes depending upon the wind’s direction and strength. Interesting fact: Because there are no prevailing winds on The Ocean Course, Dye designed two courses in one—one for an easterly and the other for a westerly wind.
Kiawah Island Golf Resort, The Ocean Course, is a world-famous destination that has attracted the biggest names in golf. From Ryder Cups to PGA Championships, Tiger Woods to Rory McIlroy, the Ocean Course is a must for any serious golfer. This Pete Dye design is known for its panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. With breathtaking views on nearly every hole, The Ocean Course is as beautiful as it is challenging.
Golf.com voted the Ocean course as the fourth best course you can play.
It was voted the third best Public Golf Course in the U.S. by Golf Digest.
The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island was ranked 25th amongst the 100 Greatest U.S. Courses
Kiawah Island hosted the 2007 Senior PGA and the 2012 PGA Championship.
The Ocean Course was host of “War by the Shore,” the dramatic 1991 Ryder Cup that was decided by the final putt on Sunday.
The Ocean Course made its big screen debut in the film, “The Legend of Bagger Vance.”
Hole by hole review
Hole 1 - Par 4
This hole presents one of the narrowest fairways on the course. Still, there is plenty of room between the natural sand area along the right side of the fairway and the thick dune grass bordering the left. A good drive will leave a short iron into a gently undulating green tucked into a natural dune area.
Pete Dye’s Comment: This hole is the furthest from the ocean. We did everything we could to make it as open as possible off the tee. There is a mammoth amount of room to hit your driver, so just hit it. The green is at ground level and everything on the left bounces into the green. It should be an easy starting hole.
Hole 2 - Par 5
From the back tee, you’re as far from the Atlantic as The Ocean Course allows, yet the view from here looks right into the rolling surf, framed by ancient live oaks. Decide how much of the salt marsh to bite off with your tee shot. Then, depending on wind direction, you can go for the elevated green set between two sand ridges.
Pete Dye’s Comment: This is a difficult hole with two crossings over marshes—you can’t touch those wetlands here. But good players have a wide-open fairway and the green should be reachable in two. There’s no water around the green, nothing but sand.
Hole 3 - Par 4
From an island-like tee, you’ll fire across the marsh to an extremely wide fairway. The best drives will find the plateau on the left side of the fairway where you can get the best look at the putting surface. Even a half wedge can be treacherous. Players missing this green will face a very difficult up and down.
Pete Dye’s Comment: This is one of the most unusual holes on the course with the green on flattened sand dune next to the marsh. Better players will go at this elevated, tabletop green with a 9-iron or pitching wedge. Let it fly off the tee—this is probably one of the widest fairways on the course.
Hole 4 - Par 4
The most difficult hole on the outward nine, the second shot to a large green can be played with nearly every club in the bag, from an 8-iron up. Playing against the wind, you may opt to bail out to the left of this green and try to save par with a chip or even a putt from the extended collar area.
Pete Dye’s Comment: As one of the longer 4s from the back tees—players will have to let it fly. It’s strictly a driving hole. There is a bailout area in the front left of the green. If the pin is on the left side of the green, you can bounce it on.
Hole 5 - Par 3
You’ll survey an hourglass green running away diagonally from the right. A large natural sand area runs from the tee to green ending in a steep face that cuts into the middle. You must hit the appropriate portion of this largest green on the golf course or face a very difficult two putt.
Pete Dye’s Comment: The majority of time, the wind is off your left shoulder. The better player will go at it with a 3- or 4-iron. There’s a bailout area on the right for non-pro players that should have you coming out with par, but watch for the sand on the front-left side of the green.
Hole 6 - Par 4
The perfect drive is one directly at the center oak with a slight draw, eliminating trouble from a natural sand area and pond to the left. The green is open in front, but protected left and right by more sand. Expect to see many approach shots finding the center portion of this narrow, deep green.
Pete Dye’s Comment: This plays best right to left off the tee, with wind off your left shoulder. The landing area is not very generous, but there is nothing in front so you can roll a ball onto it. The bunker on the left (two-thirds of the way back) shouldn’t be a problem if you drive in the fairway.
Hole 7 - Par 5
Here, wind conditions will determine the strategy for the tee shot as you must decide whether to carry a natural dune area that intrudes into the fairway from the right or play left of it. Once that decision is made, the second shot can be fired at a slightly elevated green that is open in the front.
Pete Dye’s Comment: This fairway is monumentally wide, and bunkering and grass mounding around the green is not severe. Pros go for this green in two, but the green itself is a challenge with a good amount of contour major dip in it.
Hole 8 - Par 3
This seemingly simple hole will become more difficult the further the pin is cut into its elevated green. Framed by tall live oaks just off its front left corner, it becomes narrower as it extends away from the tee. Any missing long or right shots will find the sand.
Pete Dye’s Comment: The only key here is the front part of the approach to the green is short grass. Into the wind, it’ll be an easy hole, but downwind it could be a nightmare with players having to hit it short hoping it bounces up there. The water behind the green shouldn’t come into play.
Hole 9 - Par 4
A wide fairway sloping down from the right makes driving length more important than direction. The putting surface is open in the front but presents plenty of tough up-and-down chances from an assortment of grassy swale and deep sand areas both left and right.
Pete Dye’s Comment: The big deal on this hole is that the green is a little bit offset, so the ball has to be turning right to left on the second shot or you’ll have to carry it to the green. Downwind it’ll be a driver, 7-iron, but into the wind it could be a driver, long iron.
Hole 10 - Par 4
A drive down the left-center to the crest of the fairway will set up a second shot to a green set down into the dunes. Players are faced with a large sand area to the left front of the green and a deeper, steep faced sand area to the back.
Pete Dye’s Comment: This tee is elevated atop a sand dune for a panorama of the back nine. The driving area is very liberal with the fairway rolling right into the ground-level green. Pro players can hit driver and short irons to birdie it. It’s very comparable, but in the reverse direction, to No. 1.
Hole 11 - Par 4
The key to this hole is an accurate lay-up. Off the tee, you must avoid sand areas right of the fairway. For the second shot, it’s better to lay back on the right side, taking the sand area left out of play. A good lay-up will leave a pitch to a putting surface set atop a dune ridge.
Pete Dye’s Comment: Players must hit the fairway, but there’s no reason not to. The second shot must be placed in a very narrow area to get into position to pitch to the green. Holding this elevated green should be easy, except from the right-hand side of the fairway.
Hole 12 - Par 4
This hole boasts the widest fairway on the course, which gives way to one of the narrowest approaches. A good drive sets up a downhill second to the green. Though narrow, the approach is open in the front, with a rolling collar area providing the players some room to miss left.
Pete Dye’s Comment: Miss your tee shot right or left and it’s disaster. You don’t realize how much of an opening there is going into the green—but it appears to be very narrow from your second shot area. Of course, undulations in front of the green make a bump and run tricky.
Hole 13 - Par 4
This may be the most difficult hole on the inward nine. The canal running down the entire right side will certainly come into play on tee shots. You must decide just how far down the canal you’ll try to carry, setting up a demanding approach.
Pete Dye’s Comment: There are definitely two different holes here. One hole is way back, 470 yards, and the landing area is very wide, about 180 feet. But I built another tee, 400 yards or so, with a very narrow landing area. It’s a good hole from either tee.
Hole 14 - Par 3
This is perhaps the most beautiful hole on The Ocean Course, but also one of the most treacherous. A tee shot missing this severely exposed and elevated green will leave a severe uphill chip or pitch to save par, and the putting surface is the most exposed on the entire course.
Pete Dye’s Comment: This hole—after the flat greens at 12 and 13 and the change in wind since the course is going back eastward now—will make players think. They’ll likely need between a 2- and 4-iron to hit the green.
Hole 15 - Par 4
This seemingly straightforward hole often gets overlooked, much to the player’s peril. The tee shot must find the fairway to set up a mid-iron into the green set down into a natural dune area, making it difficult to determine wind speed and direction.
Pete Dye’s Comment: There are two championship tees here as well—just like 13 only in reverse. There’s a big landing area from way back and the green is the same elevation as the fairway, and you can bounce it in from right to left. It’s a small green, but very receptive on the right-hand side. Another tee at 395 yards gives you a very narrow driving area. It can play long or short like 13, but it’ll be with an iron if the tee is up.
Hole 16 - Par 5
Downwind, this hole will provide a great chance for birdie or eagle, with many players going for the green in two. Those that successfully navigate the extremely deep and dangerous sand area guarding the left side of this green will set themselves up for a late charge.
Pete Dye’s Comment: The advantage is to play down the right side and have a panorama of the second shot. Downwind, better players can reach it in two. There’s a big opening on the right side with a grass swale in front of the green. This is the best approach.
Hole 17 - Par 3
On hole 17, the target appears narrow and is fiercely guarded by water short and to the right, with two deep sand areas to the left. Golfers that play this hole even par will certainly be rewarded.
Pete Dye’s Comment: The tee shot is all carry over water, a very demanding par 3 and my favorite here. There are sea oaks and big dunes behind the green, which is almost a double green with a front and back landing area. There’s a small bailout area to the left of the green with water right up to the front. The green will call for a variety of shots, depending upon the pin positions and wind.
Hole 18 - Par 4
The best drives on hole 18 will hug the right side of the fairway. The wind determines whether players fire at the flag with mid irons or simply try to hit the green with long irons or fairway metals.
Pete Dye’s Comment: This hole must be played left to right because the dunes on the right are much more severe than any other hole on the course. I think it’s the best of the par 4s on the course.
Play Kiawah Island - Ocean Course in Paris on simulator
Alone or with friends, whether you are a golfer or not, you can spend a good time and play Kiawah Island - Ocean Course (or one of other 99 international courses available) in the Paris area, on simulator, in very realistic conditions.
In one click, you can choose to play a selection of holes or the whole course; you can adjust about twenty parameters and display modes and customize the gaming experience and difficulty: the tee-box that is right for you, wind strength, pin position, green speed, fairway hardness, etc ...) or simply you can keep the settings that are available to you. You can also try one of the 35 scoring systems available, for more fun.
You can also choose to take a golf lesson on this course, and enjoy the precision of trajectory measures and the beautiful surroundings.
Please note that the severity index specified above is meant in ideal conditions i.e. no wind, pin position easy,...
If you add some wind, it's a different ball game, some courses can become very difficult.
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Updated on 12-12-19