The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island will join an elite group of golf venues in August 2012, when the best golfers in the world compete for top honors at the 94th PGA Championship.
Kiawah, located 21 miles south of Charleston, will earn the distinct honor of being only the fifth course to host the PGA Championship, the Ryder Cup and the Senior PGA Championship. The others are Laurel Valley Golf Club in Ligonier, Pa.; PGA National Golf Club of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.; Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y.; and Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky.
Designed by Pete Dye and built in 1991, the Ocean Course is located at the east end of Kiawah and has more ocean-side holes than any course in the Northern Hemisphere. Ten of the 18 holes border on the Atlantic, and the entire par-72 course was raised to give golfers magnificent views of the ocean. The downside to this beautiful panorama is that raising the course made the already tricky winds even more unpredictable.
The Ocean Course was the setting for “The War by the Shore,” the 1991 Ryder Cup match decided by the final putt on the final hole, and also for the 2000 movie “The Legend of Bagger Vance,” starring Will Smith, Matt Damon and Charlize Theron.
Golf Digest has honored the Ocean Course on several occasions, ranking it as the fourth best public course in the country and “America’s Toughest Resort Course.” The course also has earned the designation “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” by the Audubon Sanctuary System and has been named Golf Course of the Year by the National Golf Course Owners Association.
The PGA Championship, first played in 1916, annually draws the strongest field in golf. The 2011 tournament is being played at The Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga.
Besides the Ocean Course, Kiawah Island Golf Resort features four other championship courses: Turtle Point, designed by Jack Nicklaus; Osprey Point, designed by Tom Fazio; Cougar Point, built by Gary Player; and Oak Point, a creation of Clyde Johnston.