After Ocean Course beats you up, head for Kiawah Resort's more peaceful Osprey Point golf course
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. - Once you've experienced the famed and daunting Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, you'll probably be in need of a friendlier kind of golf course, and Kiawah's Osprey Point course just down the road is your haven.
Shielded from the fierce, ocean winds and playing through a scenic and wild maritime forest filled with oaks and magnolias on Kiawah Island, architect Tom Fazio has built a course that is easy on the eyes -- and your scorecard -- compared to its sterner Pete Dye neighbor.
Osprey Point isn't necessarily easy -- no course with the threat of water or out-of-bounds on every shot can be to the wandering mid or high handicapper. The first hole is an uncomfortable drive that requires shaking off a small tree that sits in front of the tee. But good shots here are rewarded, and slightly off-line shots won't find trouble in most cases. In typical Fazio fashion, fairways are, for the most part, wide and welcoming. Green complexes feature heavy bunkering but usually safer bail-out zones as well.
Wildlife is especially abundant here. The starter warns to be on the lookout for alligators at every turn, but plenty of other species serve as your gallery here. Swooping birds fly overhead, families of turtles lounge in the rough alongside alligators and on the par-3 11th hole for instance, jumping fish with seemingly no regard for your stroke splash away as you line up your putt.
You have the option to hit your driver on every tee. The par-4 ninth is a wildly fun driving hole. The course's longest par 4 at 468 yards from the championship tees, it plays well over water before allowing you to cut off as much as you can for your second shot. For big hitters, the hole that will have you licking your chops the most is the short par-4 seventh hole. It's only 300 yards from the white tees and features a heavily mounded fairway that shields the green from view. A penal bunker to the left of the green corrals aggressive tee shots, while another short and right makes lay-ups uncomfortable.
The most difficult aspect of Osprey Point is that each hole is generally framed by woods or water, so sprayed tee shots will likely be lost among the marsh.
There are a handful of strategic, short par 4s that add a great deal of excitement to the round. The par-4 seventh hole is a little more than 300 yards, and a giant mound online between the tee and the green can infuse some indecision from the tee. But bunkering well short of the green makes it an uncomfortable lay-up. You've paid a lot of dough to play this course, though; unleash the big dog over the mound and see what happens. The worst that can happen is you'll find yourself in a green-side bunker.
The par-5 18th offers up a chance at birdie with a good drive, as the green -- while guarded on the left by water - can be reached in two and has some run-up space in front of the green.
Kiawah's Osprey Point Course: The verdict
Osprey Point is another feather in the cap for the renowned Kiawah Island Golf Resort. It's an exciting play on beautiful lowcountry marshland. Fazio's design caters more to the resort golfer than the tour pro, with a championship yardage topping out at just under 7,000 yards and numerous holes where pars and birdies are a possibility for the amateur player.
Ocean views at Turtle Point and The Ocean Course are substituted for more peaceful, lowcountry marshland on Kiawah Island. There is no need to keep an eye out for wildlife. The many birds, jumping fish, turtles and alligators will surely find you.
As expected with the Kiawah Island Resort, course conditions, service and clubhouse facilities are all world-class.
Kiawah Island Golf Resort
The Kiawah Island Golf Resort features numerous accommodation options with your golf package. The Sanctuary, a five-diamond, 255-room hotel and spa is at the center of the island's lodging.
For those looking to stay in Charleston's historic city center, the Renaissance Hotel is within walking distance of all the restaurants, shops and bars on Wentworth Street. It's the newest upscale hotel in the historic district but captures the charm of Old Charleston. Rooms feature spacious bathrooms with exceptional showers, and there is a hearty breakfast served each morning. A workout facility and pool is on site and valet parking is available to all guests.
February 6, 2008