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 the course. 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 Kiawahn 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.
Golf Digest name The Ocean Course “#1 Golf Course in South Carolina” and “America’s Toughest Resort Course.” It is one of only 18 “5-star” courses in North America in Golf Digest’s “Best Places to Play” reader’s poll. GOLF Magazine has rated it #3 in its “Top 100 Course You Can Play” list. The Ocean Course has achieved the designation as a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” by the Audubon Sanctuary System, and has recently been named “Golf Course of the Year” by National Golf Course Owners Association.