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The Courses

Kiawah Island Ocean Course

Kiawah Island (Ocean Course)
#48 in 2007 Golf Magazine's World Top 100

The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort hosted the 2007 Senior PGA and the 2012 PGA Championships. In doing so, the Ocean Course became only the fourth course to host each of the PGA of America's major championships. Probably no other golf course in the world outside of the United Kingdom and Ireland is affected as much by the wind.

From one round to the next, a player can experience up to an 8 club difference on holes depending upon the direction and strength of the wind. Built in 1991 by Pete Dye, there are no prevailing winds on this track. Dye took this into account when designing the course. In fact, he designed two courses into one – one for an easterly wind and one for a westerly wind. Located on the eastern most end of Kiawah Island, the Ocean Course has more seaside holes than any other course in the Northern Hemisphere – 10 right along the Atlantic with the other 8 running parallel to those. Although it was originally designed to sit behind the dunes, Dye's wife, Alice, suggested raising the entire course to allow players unobstructed views of Kiawah's beautiful Atlantic coastline from every hole. This improved view, however, made the course substantially more demanding as it also exposed it to the area's brisk and unpredictable sea breezes. The Ocean Course gained instant notoriety as the host of the dramatic "War by the Shore," a battle decided literally by the final putt of Sunday's final match in 1991's Ryder Cup Matches. In 1997, The Ocean Course hosted the World Cup of Golf, with the world's finest golfers from 32 countries competing in the stroke play tournament.

Kiawah Island Turtle Point

Kiawah Island (Turtle Point) – 4.5 Stars in Golf Digest

Jack Nicklaus once said that his number one goal in golf course design was to "make the player use his mind ahead of his muscles – to control his emotions sufficiently to really think through his options before drawing a club from the bag." To that we say, welcome to Turtle Point Golf Club at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, one of Jack's early designs and steeped in the finest traditions of classic golf course architecture. Because of its traditional design, many of the better players visiting Kiawah Island Golf Resort would rather play Turtle Point than any of the other courses on the island. With narrow fairway corridors, small greens, strategically placed water hazards and plenty of out-of-bounds, Turtle Point calls for great accuracy and intelligent strategies. Players not driving the ball well will struggle for par. Since it is one of the longest courses on the island, proficiency with fairway woods and long irons is a must. So is the ability to scramble.

Like many of Jack's early courses, the greens on Turtle Point are small. So players need to be able to hit shots high if they want them to stop. The course calls for players to be able to shape their shots both left to right and right to left. They will need to be proficient with every club in the bag and won't necessarily hit a driver on every hole. And true to Jack's playing philosophy, Turtle Point plays best hitting to specific landing areas to get the best angles into the greens. Turtle Point experiences a lot of wind, as do all of the courses on Kiawah Island. The wind blows in different directions throughout the day. Trees protect many areas at Turtle Point so players won't always sense how the wind might affect their shots. Local knowledge is very important in dealing with these phantom winds.

Pinehurst Number 2

Pinehurst #2 - Designed by Donald Ross

It is a challenge not because of its length, topography, unruly routing, water features or green size, but because of the combination of factors that have made thousands laugh and cry at the same time: Crowned greens, carefully placed bunkers and a strategic layout that tests both the long and short game. It is golf the way it was meant to be played, "the fairest test of championship golf" ever designed by Ross, in his own words. It is also Top 10 in the USA, Top 30 in the World and site of more championships than any other course in the country (including the 2005 U.S. Open Championship). The Mens & Womens US Opens will return in 2014.

Opened as an 18 hole layout in 1907, the North Carolina course was fine tuned by Ross several times until 1946. Since then, it has staged several leading golf tournaments, including the 1951 Ryder Cup, the 1962 U.S. Amateur, the 1994 U.S. Senior Open and the 1999 U.S. Open, won by the late Payne Stewart. Long established as one of the world's greatest courses, Pinehurst No. 2 is laid out over rolling Carolina sand hills and is known for being a "thinker's" layout. It requires a tight, short game around its slightly elevated and heavily contoured greens as well as inspirational putting. Golfing great Nicklaus, a winner of 18 major titles, has long admired the Ross creation.

"I think Pinehurst No. 2 has always been my favourite golf course, from a design standpoint, in the United States," he said. "The reason for that is that it's a totally tree-lined golf course without a tree in play unless you play a bad shot. And there's no water in play. I just always marvel at how good a test it has been over the years. It's a very special golf course."

Pinehurst Number 4

Pinehurst #4 - Donald Ross original re-designed by Tom Fazio

Fazio's mission was to create a modern golf experience in a historical setting at the core of the old resort, and to give golfers a play that stacked up to Ross' famed No. 2. He did that by brushing the course with a Scottish influence and crowning the greens, the element many say makes No. 2 the ultimate golfing challenge.

The Scottish influence is obvious: More than 140 pot bunkers are scattered throughout the classic, rolling sand hills terrain, all there for strategy rather than show, guarding greens and doglegs and catching wayward tee shots. Add the bowl shaped greens that reject any approach shot long, short, wide or otherwise errant and you have a considerable challenge. For those not enjoying a day of precision, No. 4 can be maddening, as well as confusing.

No. 4 has another distinction, being perhaps the most scenic of the resort's eight courses. It is an absolutely lovely walk, with a five acre lake dominating the layout.  The course uses the water to near perfection, especially at the 13th and 14th. No. 4 has the region's characteristic wire grass as well as longleaf pines, hollies, magnolias, dogwoods and azaleas. The elevation changes around the course ensure you get the big pictures. Pinehurst #4 was proud to be the site of the 2008 US Amateur Championship.

Pinehurst Number 8

Pinehurst #8 - Designed by Tom Fazio

No. 8 opened in 1996 to commemorate Pinehurst's centennial year. Fazio incorporated signature Ross features into the design of No. 8, including dips and swales around the greens, sloping greens and false fronts. The greens and tees are close together, making it a pleasure to walk. As the site of the PGA Club Pro Championship in 1997 and 1998, it is a proven championship course that daunts and delights all who play it. Located approximately two miles from the main clubhouse at the site of the former Gun Club, it is a celebration of a century of great golf.

The Pinehurst No. 8 Centennial Golf Course was the first project in the state of North Carolina to achieve certification through the Audubon International Signature Program and was designated as the First Certified Signature Sanctuary in North Carolina on March 31, 1998.

Tobacco Road

Tobacco Road - Designed by Mike Strantz

Pinehurst golf has never been the same since the opening of Tobacco Road Golf Club. Located in the heart of the North Carolina Sand hills, Tobacco Road is a course of such uncommon beauty; it will capture your imagination and thrill you with its creativity. It has been rated as 4.5 Stars by Golf Digest, one of the US Top 5 public courses and 1 of the US Top 10 toughest courses.

Described as "Pine Valley on Steroids" and "golf's rock and roll thrill ride", Tobacco Road Golf Club is certainly unique. Carving his way through an old sand quarry, Mike Strantz created one of the most celebrated and talked about courses in the world. Consistently rated amongst the nation's best, Tobacco Road is the one course that leaves you begging for more. The scene is so breath taking you will want to bring along your camera to forever capture the greatness of "The Road". Playing at a length of 6500 yards from the Ripper tees, Tobacco Road was rated as high as second in slope in the Carolinas to the famed Ocean Course at Kiawah Island.