Kiawah Island Golf Resort - Ocean Course - 13th
0 of 11
Kiawah Island Golf Resort - Ocean Course - 13th
Even the holes off the beach -- like no. 13 -- are beautiful on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Kiawah Island Golf Resort - clubhouse
1 of 11
Kiawah Island Golf Resort - clubhouse
The clubhouse of the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort glows in the fading daylight. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Kiawah Island Golf Resort - Ocean Course - 18th green
2 of 11
Kiawah Island Golf Resort - Ocean Course - 18th green
Lounging in a chair overlooking the 18th green of the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort is a heavenly spot. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfPass
Kiawah Island Golf Resort - Ocean Course - putting green
3 of 11
Kiawah Island Golf Resort - Ocean Course - putting green
A golfer warms up for his big round on the famed Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Kiawah Island Golf Resort - Ocean Course - 1st
4 of 11
Kiawah Island Golf Resort - Ocean Course - 1st
Water isn't the only hazard on the Pete Dye-designed Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. An alligator lurks near the first green. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Kiawah Island Golf Resort - Ocean Course - 2nd
5 of 11
Kiawah Island Golf Resort - Ocean Course - 2nd
A hazard crosses the second fairway on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Kiawah Island Golf Resort - Ocean Course - 8th
6 of 11
Kiawah Island Golf Resort - Ocean Course - 8th
Players who don't hit the par-3 eighth green on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort will face a tough uphill chip or bunker shot. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Kiawah Island Golf Resort - Ocean Course - 9th
7 of 11
Kiawah Island Golf Resort - Ocean Course - 9th
At 464 yards, the ninth hole is the second-longest par 4 on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Kiawah Island Golf Resort - Ocean Course - 14th
8 of 11
Kiawah Island Golf Resort - Ocean Course - 14th
Hitting the tabletop green on the par-3 14th hole is one of the toughest shots on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfPass
Kiawah Island Golf Resort - Ocean Course - 16th
9 of 11
Kiawah Island Golf Resort - Ocean Course - 16th
A gaping front bunker guards the par-5 16th green on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Kiawah Island Golf Resort - Ocean Course - 17th
10 of 11
Kiawah Island Golf Resort - Ocean Course - 17th
Long is better than short on the watery par-3 17th hole on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
11 Images

Kiawah Island Golf Resort's Ocean Course: A major championship test in an inspiring coastal setting

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- Don't fear the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. Just make sure to respect it.

The venue of the fabled 1991 Ryder Cup called the "War by the Shore" and a pair of PGA Championships (2012 and 2021) can be tamed on a calm day (meaning less than a two-club wind) with smart decisions and sound shot-making. Pete Dye, the master of visual intimidation, inflicts the most damage when golfers stray into the waste areas, ponds and marshes that frame virtually every hole.

The blueprint to enjoy the Ocean Course is simple: 1, Listen to your caddie. 2, Bail out when necessary. 3, Take the extra club when in doubt. 4, And always aim for the fat part of the green, even when chipping (the table-top greens on the par 3s at no. 8 and no. 14 would look right at home on Pinehurst No. 2).

After a winding journey through the coastal marshes, the Ocean Course follows the Atlantic for the final five holes. Judgment comes at no. 17, a harrowing par 3 over water to a narrow green. You're either safe, or you're sorry.

The Atlantic Room Restaurant and The Ryder Cup Bar inside the clubhouse are so popular that even non-golfers drive from miles away just to enjoy the sunset and a fine meal. Arrive early and stay late at Kiawah Island Golf Resort for a day you'll never forget.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.

Related Links

The greatness of the Kiawah Island Golf Resort isn't because of its famous Ocean Course. Or its elegant hotel, The Sanctuary. Or its magnificent Lowcountry setting on the Atlantic. It is found in the totality of the package.
3 Min Read
Want a one-stop golf binge? These are the 31 biggest golf resorts in the world. So where should you start?
11 Min Read
Most Ryder Cups played in America have been played at private clubs. But there have been some exceptions. Here's a look at the five American Ryder Cup sites open to the public.
6 Min Read
Georgia's Sea Island Resort is just one of a collection of great ocean-view courses you can play on the east coast.
6 Min Read
Latest Popular Content
14 Images
July 6, 2022
Our fun gallery of photos might inspire you to watch the strongest celebrity field in the ACC's history duke it out this weekend on Peacock, Golf Channel and NBC.
25 Images
August 29, 2022
Coastlines and rolling hills highlight the best photos from your end of summer golf.
20 Images
August 18, 2022
The northeast-Nebraska semi-private layout marks the first 18-hole design effort by the popular King Collins architecture firm.
15 Images
July 13, 2022
Golfers love showing off their pics from the Swilcan Bridge and other landmarks at the Home of Golf.
Enjoy our award-winning, championship courses. Tee times are filling up fast — book today!
23 Images
September 2, 2022
The Irish links by Tom Doak has rocketed into a world ranking since its 2021 debut.
18 Images
August 18, 2022
This magical links is the best of the 7 courses on the Isle of Arran off the Ayrshire coast of Scotland.
Load More
Now Reading
Kiawah Island Golf Resort's Ocean Course: A major championship test in an inspiring coastal setting