The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island
3rd hole, 365 yards; Yet another example of why Dyeis the master in modern architecture of holes under 400 yards. The fairway itself is one of the widest on the course but as befits a hole of this length, the small 3,000 square foot greenmay bethe most elusive target on the course. The plateau green is flat and offers little help in stoppingthe player’sapproach shot. If the flag is front left, the golfer plays his tee shot wide right. If the hole location is back right, the better angle is from the left side of the fairway. Importantly, Dye made the fairway wide enough so that the thinking golfer has real options available to him.
4th hole, 390 yards; The end to one of golf’s toughest starts, the golfer again faces a forced carry from the tee followed by an exacting approach shot. Once too awkward to be considered a great hole, Dye improved it in 2002 when he was granted the ability to enlarge the fairway to the left. The golfer now has a realistic chance of seeking out a good angle of approach to this green. Still,the hole plays hard as a right to left crosswind often complicates the approach into this left to right angled green. Also, as the aerial below suggests, given theessentially treeless environment, Pete Dye, who is a (or perhaps the) master of angles, had the perfect canvas upon which to work.
5th hole, 165 yards; The variety of the green complexes at The Ocean Course is already evident: the convoluted 2nd green, the tiny flat3rd green, the left to right green at the 4th, and now thelarge right to left green here. This green complex is similar to the 17th at Pebble Beach withan hour-glass shaped green divided by a ridge in the middle. The difference in a front right hole location and a back left one may be as many as three clubs on this 49 yard deep green.
7th hole, 505 yards; A dogleg three shotter that plays as a dogleg should: the golfer is temptedto gain an advantage by successfully challenging the hazard on the inside of the dogleg. In this case, his reward is a crack at the green in two. Of course, Dye defends par by the green, whichpossesses a neat lower right quadrant.
8th hole, 170 yards; The Reverse Redan characteristics of its green make the 8th one of the sleeper holes on the course. Just short of this built up green and the approach rolls backfive feet tothe green’sbase. Just on and the approach oftentracks toward the middle and back hole locations, encouraged as it is by the high left front to lower back rightpitch in the green.
9th hole, 415 yards; The ninth is a sharp dogleg left, which again dispells the knock that a figure 8 routing means a long slog in but one direction. Refinements to it took place in 2003 and in particular, the golfer now sees the flag from the tee, wooing him well left into taking too ambitious a lineoff the tee unless he is careful.
10th hole, 385 yards; The back nine is a series of arresting holes that are made exceptional by the never ending use of interesting angles. For instance, at the 10th,a massive sand pit must be carried on a diagonal line from the tee in order to gain the best angle into the green, which is open front right.
11th hole, 510 yards; An easy way to give a modest length three shotter some teeth is to find an elevated site forthe green. In such a manner, if the player gets off track on one of his first two shots, the elevated target becomes increasinglydifficult to hit with a mid or long iron. Such is the case with the 11th at Kiawah, which can un-do the impatient golfer who isaccustomed to bullying his way to a birdie on a par five hole by just slapping his second shot somewhere near the green.