When it comes to golfing in the Southeast, Kiawah Island is one of the favorites. This two-time host of the PGA Championship has a global reputation. There are many exceptional courses where you can for tee off in the area. Consider this roundup of 9 great golf courses around Kiawah.
This Pete and Alice Dye-designed course is located on the easternmost end of Kiawah Island Golf Resort. That makes it appealing to avid golfers who want the added challenge of golfing seaside holes. Ten of this par-72 course’s holes are exposed to the Atlantic’s unpredictable breezes. It’s a beauty of a course that forces golfers to account for the wind.
Maritime forest surrounds Clyde Johnson’s Oak Point by the Kiawah River. This public course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort takes advantage of natural elements such as a lagoon or a magnificent oak to challenge its players. Voted the 2019 Charleston Golf Course of the Year by the Charleston Golf Owners Association, this Scottish-American design course is just off the island.
Redesigned by Jack Nicklaus and his architectural team in 2016, this public Kiawah Island Golf Resort course exemplifies Nicklaus’ vision that courses should “make the player use his mind ahead of his muscles—to control his emotions sufficiently to really think through his options before drawing a club from the bag.” The course was also named #14 in Golf Advisor’s Top 25 Friendliest Courses in the U.S. in 2020.
This is another Kiawah Island Golf Resort course recently renovated, this time by designer Gary Player. Cougar Point starts out relatively easy with a par 4. But don’t be fooled. By the second hole, you’re playing a par 3 with water running along the entire right side. The risk/reward type of course designs continues over the 18 holes.
This 18-hole course in north Charleston is our only par 71 on the list. A favorite for city residents and visitors since its opening in 1971, Shadowmoss Plantation is 6,366 yards of lush Bermuda grass fairways designed for play by all levels of golfer. You may get a little overconfident about the absence of water hazards on the front nine, but know that veteran course architect Russell Breeden has challenges ahead for you.
This public course just a few miles from Kiawah Island, is par 72 and 6,816 yards. Combining manicured greens with attractive views, the course aims to challenge players at all levels. This Ron Garl creation also incorporates reminders of the 1779 Battle of Stono Ferry into the course. An earthen fortification from the Revolutionary struggle can impact your tee shot on the 12th hole.
Completely renovated in 2014 under the direction of Tom Fazio, this is an 18-hole, par 72 public course with 10 par 4s (from 340-461 yards) mixed with four par 3s and four par 5s. You’ll see island swamps, salt marshes, and more natural landscapes as you play this course. The ninth hole’s tee shot over water is considered one of the more challenging on the island.
One of the members-only courses on Johns Island, The Golf Club at Briar’s Creek opened in 2002. It is one of more than 260 courses Rees Jones had designed or renovated in his renowned career. Expect to play farmland, woodland, and wetlands as this course was designed to accommodate and incorporate Carolina Low country landforms.
We’re combining these two because they deserve mention but are both private to Kiawah Island Club members. Fazio’s River Course earned the #51 spot in Golfweek’s 2023 Top 200 U.S. Residential Golf Courses list, It’s known for offering a highly challenging course that winds along the river’s edge, around ponds, and through savannah and maritime forest
Cassique came in at #43 on Golfweek’s 2023 top residential courses list. Designed by Tom Watson, in his debut North American course, the par-72 Cassique has a walkable layout through maritime forest and along Kiawah River marshes. Atlantic Ocean weather conditions could call for creative play.
You’ll need to be someone’s guest to play the private club courses, but if you’re living in the Kiawah River area you might make someone’s acquaintance. Duffers unite, right?