The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, site of the 2012 PGA Championship, earns its name. Routed through the Atlantic dunes of a barrier island, this Pete Dye layout features unpredictable seaside winds and classic bits of Dye treachery. No wonder Johnny Miller calls it "the hardest course in the country."
2 of 13Angus Murray / Golf Magazine
On the scorecard, the par 72 Ocean Course measures 7,356 yards and boasts a slope of 77.3. For the pros, it will be 7,676 yards, but it can go even longer than that. Using a special set of tees, the course can reach a gargantuan 7,937 yards.
3 of 13Courtesy of Kiawah Island Resort
Hole 3, 390 yards, Par 4
The shortest par-4 on the course, the third is all about the approach. Players enjoy a generous landing area off the tee but face a steep, crowned green set atop a flattened sand dune on their second.
4 of 13Photo Courtesy of Kiawah Island Resort
Hole 5, 188 yards, Par 3
The first par-3 on the Ocean Course features its largest green: a roughly 10,000-square-foot hourglass that runs diagonally away from the tee. The waste-area short and left affords it some protection, but there's plenty of room to bail out right.
5 of 13Photo courtesy of Kiawah Island Resort
Hole 9, 494 yards, Par 4
The outward nine ends on a demanding two-shotter surrounded by trouble. "The big deal on this hole is that the green is a little bit offset, so the ball has to be turning right to left on the second shot or they’ll have to carry it to the green," says architect Pete Dye. On a fast, windy day, that might mean a third from the deep pot bunker over the green. (Source: KiawahResort.com)
6 of 13Steve Uzzell and Susan Lambert
Hole 10, 447 yards, Par 4
The back nine starts atop a sand dune, where golfers tee off toward a generous fairway. "The better players will hit driver and short irons and feel they ought to birdie it," says Dye.
7 of 13Fred Vuich / SI
Hole 12, 412 yards, Par 4
This short par-4 opens into a wide fairway but tapers sharply near the green. The challenge is the downhill approach, which golfers must thread between the canal on the right and the dunes long and left.
8 of 13Fred Vuich / SI
Hole 13, 497 yards, Par 4
The thirteenth is classic risk-reward, as golfers must decide how much of the diagonal canal to carry from the tee. Whatever they choose, water comes into play on the second shot, into this narrow green.
9 of 13Fred Vuich / SI
Hole 14, 238 yards, Par 3
At this long par-3, the Ocean course turns toward the beach for its home stretch along the Atlantic. Before they get there, players will have to negotiate No. 14's swirling winds and plateau green, beset on all sides by trouble.
10 of 13Fred Vuich / SI
Hole 15, 444 yards, Par 4
This rolling, mounded par-4 winds through Kiawah's seaside dunes and favors strategy over strength. From the tee, players must find the fairway to set up a a second shot to this small, secluded green.
11 of 13Steve Uzzell and Susan Lambert
Hole 16, 581 yards, Par 5
Downwind, pros can reach this straightaway par-5 in two. Into it, and No. 16 demands three precise shots to navigate the pond, dunes and steep-walled waste bunkers that guard the hole.
12 of 13Steve Uzzell and Susan Lambert
Hole 17, 223 yards, Par 3
The tee shot at this par-3 is one of the scariest on the course. Players must carry a pond to get to this diagonal green. Those who play it safe must hope to avoid the pair of deep pot bunkers that guard the green's left side.
13 of 13Photo courtesy of Kiawah Island
Hole 18, 501 yards, Par 4
The Ocean Course's home hole is also its most iconic. In 2002, the green of this long par-4 was moved 25 yards closer to the Atlantic, and elevated amongst the dunes. If the PGA Championship comes down to this hole -- as the Ryder Cup did in 1991 -- anything can happen.