Beauty and History Converge at Kiawah Island and Charleston
If you could magically create the ideal golf destination, you’d likely want a pristine island setting with courses designed by Nicklaus, Dye and Fazio, a post card beautiful beach, exceptional accommodations and easy access to an historic city brimming with sights, shopping and dining.
Guess what, it already exists.
It’s Kiawah Island Golf Resort and Charleston in South Carolina.
You can play five adroitly designed courses either set along the ocean or routed through maritime forests, lagoons and wetlands. After golf, travel to Charleston (25 miles from the island) and immerse in a walkable city awash with Southern mansions, horse-drawn carriage rides and an iconic Civil War era fort.
Kiawah Island, South Carolina – Overview
Spanning 13.5 square miles with more than 10 miles of beach, Kiawah Island is a well-preserved wonderland of maritime forests, dunes, tidal creeks and salt marshes. Developed with a dedication to protecting the environment, the island has magnolia-lined avenues, miles of nature paths and natural habitats where sightings of turtles, whitetail deer and seabirds are common.
Kiawah Island Resort Golf
Insider Kiawah Island Golf Resort tips from Stephen Youngner, Head Professional at The Ocean Course:
The Ocean Course
6,911 Yards/Par 72
“There’s not a predominant wind on the Ocean Course so there are multiple tee boxes to accommodate all the different wind conditions. While it’s a difficult test, any golfer can enjoy it if they play smart and take safe lines.” –Stephen Youngner
This iconic Pete Dye design has 10 holes hugging the Atlantic and the remaining eight run parallel to those. Site for the legendary “War on the Shore” 1991 Ryder Cup matches, The Ocean Course is ranked No. 4 Best Public Golf Course by Golf Digest. One of the best places for a 360 degree panorama is the 12th fairway, according to Youngner.
Osprey Point Golf Course
6,902 Yards/Par 72
“It’s the favorite course to play for our membership and local residents. The fairways tend to be a bit wider and it’s a beautiful setting with no homes and the feel of a nature preserve.” –Stephen Youngner
A Tom Fazio design, the Osprey has smallish greens and picturesque natural lagoons. Set in pristine surroundings, golfers are rewarded with a variety of wildlife settings during a round.
Turtle Point Golf Course
7,601 Yards/Par 72
“Slightly tighter than the Osprey, it has hosted big events like the Carolinas’ Amateur and PGA Cup matches. It received a comprehensive renovation by Jack Nicklaus in 2016. The three holes that play along the Atlantic Ocean have both beauty and challenge.”–Stephen Younger
With fairly narrow fairways and smallish greens, Nicklaus requires you play smartly throughout the course. One of the reasons it has hosted so many amateur and professional events is it’s a great skills test and requires more than just a grip it and rip it mentality.
Cougar Point Golf Course
6,814 Yards/Par 72
“The par 5s really stand out on this course with lots of great risk/reward shots.”–Stephen Youngner
Rolling fairways with beautiful oak trees and massive, raised bunkers add lots of character to the course as does the Kiawah River, which comes into play on three holes on the front nine.
Oak Point Golf Course
6,701 Yards/Par 72
“It plays along the Kiawah River with an absolutely gorgeous finishing hole. The green complexes are amazing with lots of movement.”–Stephen Youngner
Designer Clyde Johnston combined the contours and bunkering of Scottish links courses with coastal South Carolina marshes and waterways in this course that opened in 1989.
Other Great Nearby Golf Options
Patriots Point Links, an 18-hole Willard Byrd designed links course on the Charleston Harbor features a par-3, island green 17th hole.
Wild Dunes Resort has 36 holes of Tom Fazio designed golf.
The Sanctuary–Set majestically overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, this luxurious 4-story hotel combines elegant southern hospitality with unobstructed views from every floor.
Each Sanctuary guestroom includes a marble lined entryway, deep garden soaking tub, dual vanity sinks, private balcony, Italian linen and robes and custom-made mattresses. The Spa at The Sanctuary will relax and rejuvenate you with a wide variety of treatments.
Kiawah Villas–Villas rented through Kiawah Island Golf Resort provide guests with an array of resort benefits and amenities, including access to the two interactive pool complexes. The villas offer divergent views ranging from full and partial Atlantic Ocean panoramas to golf course and scenic terrain. Pet friendly villas are also available.
Things to Do on Kiawah Island
- Canoeing and Kayaking
- Bike riding on flat sand beaches
- Biking and walking on more than 30 miles of paved trails
- Paddle Boarding
- Surf lessons
- Nature Walks
- Play tennis
- Boutique shopping and dining at Freshfields Village
- View local art at the Wells Gallery at The Sanctuary
- Enjoy a cold libation at The Ocean Course’s Ryder Cup Bar
- Oyster Roasts at Mingo Point (Monday night during the summer months
Charleston is Calling
Located 25 miles form Kiawah Island, Charleston, founded in 1670, is a stunningly beautiful port city awash in history and wonderfully preserved.
Brimming with plantation homes, museums, gardens, historic buildings and Civil War landmarks, downtown Charleston is extremely walkable. A slew of restaurants, bars and boutique shops line the quaint streets as well.
You can explore the city in a variety of ways, including self-guided tours, horse-drawn carriage tours, culinary tours and walking tours hosted by local experts. To experience a different view of the city, there are several boat cruises available.
When an island setting, fantastic golf by big name designers, oceanside accommodations and an historic city are on your check list for a golf vacation, Kiawah Island Golf Resort should be at the top of that list.