* The famed Ocean Course is walking only until noon. You can take a caddie (there is no fee but they do accept gratuities; suggested amount is $70 per bag) or carry your own bag. After noon, you can walk or ride with an assigned forecaddie (again, there is no fee but they do accept gratuities; suggested amount is $40 per bag).
* If you have a tee time at the Ocean Course, give yourself plenty of extra time to get there, especially if you're coming from downtown Charleston's historic district. The Kiawah Island Resort is an enormous property and all five courses feature separate clubhouses. The Ocean Course's facilities are a considerable distance from the resort's main entrance. You've got to pass through not one, but two guard gates, then drive another 10 to 15 minutes through gorgeous, pristine Lowcountry scenery, teeming with wildlife, until the road ends.
* If you are flying in or out of Charleston and want to squeeze in one more round, consider Coosaw Creek (coosawcreek.com, 843-767-9000), a semi-private Arthur Hills design just minutes north of the airport. With subtle mounds, tall pines and a back nine loaded with water and wetlands, notably at the 596-yard, par-5 12th and at the marsh-guarded, 424-yard par-4 14th, Coosaw Creek is the perfect add-on to any Charleston golf trip.
Travelin' Joe Says
"If you have the time, stay a few days at one of the golf resorts (the Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Resort is one of my personal favorites anywhere) and then spend a few days in downtown Charleston at one of the charming inns or fine hotels around the historic district, such as Charleston Place or the Planters Inn. The city itself, with its exquisite pastels, architecture, history, culture and water views, is worth at least a full day as a side trip."
From the Concierge
"April, May and October are considered by many to be the best months to play Kiawah's five courses. However the winter months — mid-November through February — have the lowest green fees, often offering mild days in the 60s (and sometimes 70s), and all of the courses' fairways are over-seeded, providing exceptional playing conditions.
"Guests can relax after a round at The Sanctuary's Five Star Spa, enjoy a meal at one of Kiawah's 11 dining venues or bicycle along 10 miles of pristine beach. All of this is just 21 miles from beautiful and historic Charleston — the perfect day trip or night on the town."
— Charlie Pickett, Concierge Supervisor, The Sanctuary
Top 100 Teacher Tip
"The Lowcountry courses of Charleston wind along rivers, marshes, and tidal creeks, and one famously hugs the Atlantic Ocean. Undulating fairways and dunes aid in drainage but also create challenging shots with uneven lies.
"When facing an uphill or downhill lie to the target, adjust the ball position toward the higher foot. A practice swing can show where the club head bottoms out.
"Also consider alignment: uphill shots may cause a draw, downhill shots may cause a fade. Sidehill lies, with the ball above or below the feet, require attention to stance and alignment. Stand closer to a ball below your feet and aim toward the high side of the slope. Stand farther from a ball above your feet and aim toward the high side of the slope. Both shots will fly toward the low side of the hill, just like a putt breaks down the slope.
"Follow these tips, and you will stay high and dry in the Low Country."
— Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher and LPGA Master Professional Carol Preisinger is Director of Instruction at The Kiawah Island Club. She can be reached at 843-768-5765 or via email at [email protected].