South Carolina Tourism - Hole 09

Hole 9, Dream 18

No., 17, Kiawah Island Golf Resort
– Brian Gerard, PGA Master Professional
Director of Golf

It's a fair question that many golfers ask us here at The Ocean Course on Kiawah Island, "What’s your signature hole?" Almost every course has one, but in all honesty, we have several. Most courses will refer to a hole that offers a view of the ocean as their “signature hole.” That’s fine, but what happens when you have ten holes right along the Atlantic and the other eight also offer more stunning views of the water? That’s the tremendous and exciting dilemma that we find ourselves in when our visitors ask that familiar but difficult question.

And truth be told, even though I could make a compelling argument for each hole on The Ocean Course as a signature hole, the majority of these discussions seem to settle on our 17th hole as the consensus pick. It’s exciting and an honor that this same hole was selected to be a part of "The Dream 18 of South Carolina."

The hole is intimidating enough on paper, playing anywhere from 150 yards to 221 yards – all over water, to a long green that can play three to four clubs differently depending on the pin position, with two pot bunkers on the left, trouble behind and water to the right. That’s just the challenge from the design of the hole. Now you have to consider the wind…

The Ocean Course may be as famous for the wind that comes into play here as much as the unique layout from Pete Dye that places so many of the holes along the ocean. Consider, the wind can make up to a four-club difference depending on which way it’s blowing! And yes, Pete Dye took into account that wind, and the various directions and strengths that it blew here, as part of his masterpiece design. As an aside, I’ve heard countless visitors tell me that this is the most difficult course they’ve ever played, but they never say that the course is unfair. That’s a statement that I think describes most feelings about this course and more specifically, about this hole.

Many golf fans know of the 17th hole because of the important role it played at the famous 1991 Ryder Cup matches. It has also proven pivotal at many national championships held here including the 2007 Senior PGA Championship and the 2003 World Cup Championship. And in August of 2012, golf’s final major of the season, the 94th PGA Championship, will be held here at The Ocean Course and I can guarantee you that the 17th hole will be one of the most anticipated and critical holes of that championship too.

But to me, the beauty of the 17th hole isn’t the role it plays in golf’s most important championships. It’s not the challenge of water and wind or even the view of the ocean that you have from every spot on the hole. The best part of the 17th is the sheer size of the smiles that I see from every group when players are able to walk off the green after conquering one of the most scenic, demanding and iconic holes in golf. Yes it’s great to see the world’s best players take on the hole, but we’re always more impressed by seeing the world’s most enthusiastic players excited about the challenge.

Golfers here at The Ocean Course know three things are certain when they tee it up here with us. One, they will be asked to hit every type of shot – draws, fades, knockdowns and flop shots among others. Two, they are going to hit every club in the bag. And third, and most importantly, they are going to have one of the most elite golf experiences of their life. From our world-class caddie program to the elite personal attention you’ll receive from our staff to the stunning views from our spectacular clubhouse deck; every moment of your time with us should remind you that you are experiencing something unique and special. We eagerly invite you to come find out for yourself.