Kiawah Island Ocean Course, home of this year's PGA Championship, is a long, scenic course with some surprising facts.
Here is a list of the top 10:- Even though there is more sand on this course than any other major championship venue you might think about, this week, none of it will be considered a bunker. So the players will be grounding their clubs and swinging away. This may be a good omen for Dustin Johnson.
- Ten of the 18 holes run right along the beach and Atlantic Ocean. There is an ocean view from every hole, but where there is beauty, there can be trouble. In this case, wind off the Atlantic could cause havoc. The resort literature states that the wind can cause up to an eight club difference in a shot. "Did you hit a 5 or lob wedge?"
- Golf Digest calls the Ocean Course the toughest course in America, with a course rating of 79.6 and a slope of 155.
- Because the wind is so prevalent and unpredictable, there are as many six tee boxes on the majority of the holes to accommodate for circumstances.
- There is no relief from cart paths because they are not artificial surfaces, accentuating the phrase, "play it as it lies."
- The 2000 golf movie, "The Legend of Bagger Vance" was filmed at the Kiawah Island Ocean Course.
- Because PGA Tour professionals have never played an official event here, there is not an official course record, per se, for the big boys.
- If the tournament is tight on Sunday afternoon, expect great drama on the par-3 223-yard 17th hole. During the Senior PGA championship played at the course in 2007, the 17th was the most difficult hole on the course at 165 yards. Simply said, there is a tee, sand dunes, water, a green, and very little bailout area. Course designer Pete Dye says it is his favorite hole on the course.
- The par-5 11th should produce a few eagles depending on the wind.
- At more than 7,600 yards, if the wind blows hard, expect to see a winning score around par. If the wind remains calm, Tiger wlll hoist number 15 at 8-under.
I played competitive golf as a kid in Southern California. I used to be a single handicap golfer. Today, I think I may never break 80 again. But I still love to play and watch the real players on TV.
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