Kiawah Island

Updated: October 3, 2017

There are plenty of choices to make when it comes to making vacation plans for a golf trip. One of those places should be Kiawah Island Golf Resort, an award-winning resort in South Carolina and home to some of the country’s top golf courses. Tucked away on the coast and just south of Charleston, Kiawah Island features everything you would want in a golf resort, from the five championship golf courses, to the bike trails, to the tennis courts, to the swimming pools . . . you get the idea.

If you’ve never heard of Kiawah Island, get out of that cave. This is a place where the 1991 Ryder Cup matches were held and a place where the 2007 Senior PGA Championship was held as well. The 2012 PGA Championship took place at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island and that’s not all, as the 2021 Championship will also be staged at the Ocean Course.

Big time events for a big time golf resort.

The golf publications can’t say enough great things about the place. Travel and Leisure Magazine has ranked Kiawah Island the top golf resort in the country and Golf Magazine has named the Ocean Course the third best course in its places to play listings. In the listings of resorts, Kiawah beat out such heavyweights as Pebble Beach, Pinehurst and Bandon Dunes. In fact, the Ocean Course is ranked among the best, not only in the country, but in the world.

And just to show how good the golf is at Kiawah Island, the Ocean Course has been given five stars by Golf Digest, just one of 17 courses in North America to be given the five-star rating. In addition, the Cougar Point, Oak Point, Turtle Point and Osprey Point courses have all been given 4 1/2 stars by Golf Digest. Osprey Point has undergone a recent re-model with work done on all of the greens and tees and the project has given the course a new look.

And the golf is not all. Tennis Magazine has ranked Kiawah Island the best tennis resort in the country while a tennis vacation website has ranked the resort as the top tennis resort in the world. Kayaking and nature tours to bicycling and days spent at the beach are more recreational activities at the resort. Kiawah was voted “No. 1 island to visit in the U.S. mainland” by Conde Nast Traveler. (and Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice poll named Kiawah Island as the No. 2 island in the world behind only Palawan in the Philippines. The beach was named one of the top 10 beaches in American by Dr. Stephen Leatherman, aka, Dr. Beach (

But what most people know about Kiawah Island is the Ocean Course, which was designed by Pete Dye and opened the same year as the Ryder Cup matches. It’s a spectacular layout, set along the Atlantic Ocean with holes stretch out from the clubhouse and back. A new clubhouse was constructed for the 2007 Senior PGA Championship. It’s little wonder why the course is ranked among the best in the country and the world. The Ocean Course also provides some great ocean views.

The golf courses all have big names attached to them. The designers at Kiawah Island Resort include Dye, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Fazio and Clyde Johnston.

Kiawah has a variety of rental properties as well as The Sanctuary, a 255-room palace with ocean views. The hotel is Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond, as is the spa. The movie The Legend of Bagger Vance did much of its filming around Kiawah.

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