Some of the most storied skirmishes of the Revolutionary and Civil wars were fought in Charleston, S.C., though golfers will also remember it as the home of the less bloody but rightfully infamous "War by the Shore," the 1991 Ryder Cup at Kiawah Island's Ocean Course. The city is
known for its graceful architecture and tasty Lowcountry eats, and the golf holds its own, too. Here's your sampler menu for Southern comfort.
The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort
7,356 yards, par 72
• Greens fee: $230-$320
• Architect: Pete Dye (1991)
Kiawah's Ocean Course deservedly earned its
reputation as the toughest resort course in the U.S.,
and that reputation has been hard to shake, even
though in the past 16 years Dye has twice softened
the layout. It's still a great course ranked No. 28 on our Top 100 Courses in the U.S.
but just not as perilous a challenge as once upon a time. You'll still be blown away by the Ocean Course's
lethal, wind-whipped blend of tidal-marsh carries,
scrub-topped dunes and wildly flowing greens.
Today's layout plays much fairer, though it remains
frighteningly difficult. The closing stretch along the
ocean is the epitome of beauty and brawn, though
now at least you can lick your wounds in a stunning new clubhouse.
Oak Point Golf Club at Kiawah Island
Golf Resort Johns Island
6,701 yards, par 72
• Greens fee: $83-$133
• Architect: Clyde Johnston (1989)
Kiawah's least-heralded track is situated off-island, and it's neither in the same vicinity nor in the same league as its four siblings. But Oak Point is significantly less expensive, and a solid option for those looking to mix trophy courses with more affordable alternatives. Alligators litter the pond-strewn first hole and set the tone for a surprisingly demanding, hazard-filled round, highlighted by the awkward but gorgeous par-4 home hole that plays alongside Haulover Creek.
The Links at Stono Ferry
6,701 yards, par 72
• Greens fee: $51-$75
• Architect: Ron Garl (1989)
The best bargain in town is dotted with relics from
the Revolutionary War. A pleasant if unexciting front
nine meanders through the forest, but things perk up a
lot thanks to some scenic holes on the Intracoastal
Wild Dunes Resort (Links Course)
Isle of Palms
6,396 yards, par 70
• Greens fee: $135-$165
• Architect: Tom Fazio (1980)
Erosion has trimmed Wild Dunes' beachside par-5
closing hole to a par 3, and a few too many condos mar
the once pristine dune landscape, but it's still a delight to play one of Tom Fazio's earliest solo designs. This lowprofile layout weaves through dense Lowcountry foliage and reaches a climax with its two final holes or one-and-a-half, thanks to
erosion set alongside the Atlantic Ocean.
• Where to stay
The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, a Golf Magazine Gold Medal
property, is one of the finest hotels in the U.S. (800-654-2924, kiawahgolf.com
). The Sanctuary Championship Golf Package includes
lodging, breakfast, three rounds of golf (one on the Ocean Course) and a dinner at any resort restaurant
(surcharge for dining at the Ocean Room). Rates start at $320 per person,per night, double occupancy.
The best bet in-town is Charleston Place (843-722-4900, charlestonplacehotel.com), where rooms start at $259.
• Where to eat
For a night on the town, you can't go wrong at
Charleston Grill (843-577-4522, charlestongrill.com), where the live jazz is matched only by the imaginative twists on Lowcountry favorites.