Kiawah Island Golf Courses: What You Need to Know

Kiawah Island golfing, is there any more we need to say? Here you can experience what many consider to be the finest collection of golf courses in the world. Each has unique features, and all of them are beautiful to admire from close or afar! All 5 world-class Kiawah Island golf courses are public, including The Ocean Course, Osprey Point, Turtle Point, Cougar Point, and Oak Point. We’ve highlighted distinctive qualities about each of the courses below.

The Ocean Course

Home of the 2021 PGA Championship (May 17-23)
Holes: 18 | Par: 72 | Designed by Pete and Alice Dye

Located on the eastern-most end of the island within Vanderhorst Plantation, The Ocean Course is revered by both PGA professionals and amateur golf enthusiasts alike. It was first widely recognized after hosting the 1991 Ryder Cup and, since then, has been host to many of the world’s major golf tournaments — including multiple PGA Tour events and (now) two PGA Championships. It has undoubtedly engraved its reputation as one of the most excellent courses in the world and has the accolades to show for it. Notably, it’s ranked number 3 on Golf Digest’s “America’s Top 100 Public Courses” and has attained the 4th spot in Forbes’ list of best golf courses to play!

What makes the iconic course such a golfer’s paradise? To start with, The Ocean Course has more seaside holes than any other course in the Northern Hemisphere, and the views are absolutely awe-inspiring! Meticulously designed by Pete and Alice Dye, ten of the course’s holes face the Atlantic coastline, while the other 8 run parallel with picturesque landscapes of natural lagoons and marshes as the backdrop. During the planning phase, Alice suggested raising the entire course to allow for the famous panoramic views it’s known for. Granted, the elevated position has made playing considerably more challenging with the unpredictable winds coming off of the Atlantic coast. Pete considered this when planning the design — it’s essentially two courses in one, one that accounts for westerly winds and the other for easterly winds.

If you’re looking for a challenging course to test your skills, this is certainly a course for your bucket list. In fact, it’s also been dubbed as “America’s Toughest Course” by Golf Digest. Ready to schedule your tee time or to spectate at the PGA Championship this year? Browse through our luxury vacation homes to find your perfect place to stay near The Ocean Course, or give us a call for more information!


Osprey Point Golf Course

Holes: 18 | Par: 72 | Designed by Tom Fazio

Down the road from The Ocean Course, you’ll find another popular and well-known Kiawah Island golf course — Osprey Point. This course was designed by Tom Fazio and takes complete advantage of the island’s maritime woodlands, lagoons, and saltwater marshes. Fully renovated in 2014 under Fazio’s direction, Osprey delivers on playability for various skill levels across all 18 holes with exceptional conditions. As a fun fact, it holds the title as one of America’s “Top 50 Courses for Women.”

Plus, the beautiful clubhouse is a favorite spot to take a break and relax after playing a challenging round. The clubhouse is home to Cherrywood BBQ, which offers a wide range of craft beers and plenty of menu items to satisfy everyone in your group. If you haven’t had their award-winning four-cheese macaroni and cheese, this is a must-do to add to your list while you’re on the island! Aside from after-round festivities, this is also a fantastic place for wedding receptions and special events.


Turtle Point Golf Course

Holes: 18 | Par: 72 | Designed by Jack Nicklaus

Designed by Jack Nicklaus himself, one of the most outstanding golfers of all time, you know this course will put your skills to the test! Turtle Point welcomes experienced players to navigate narrow fairways, strategically placed water hazards, and small greens. Those who have not played on this Kiawah Island golf course since 2016 will find many enhancements and improvements that were led by Nicklaus and members of his architectural team. As for difficulty level, it is on par with what you would expect at The Ocean Course. Turtle Point features three oceanfront holes, and the remaining 15-holes wind through vibrant fairways, lush maritime forests, and serene natural lagoons.


Cougar Point Golf Course

Holes: 18 | Par: 72 | Designed by Gary Player

Aerial of Cougar Point - One the of Kiawah Island Golf Courses with Marsh Views

Cougar Point is next up in the line up of Kiawah Island golf courses, featuring wide-open fairways that are nestled throughout the woodlands of West Beach. It’s known for the peaceful scenery and outstanding playability, making it a pleasure to play for those at any skill level! Like many of the other courses, Cougar Point went through a comprehensive renovation within the past few years that rejuvenated its condition. The 10-month process was under the direction of the original architect, Gary Player, and included the installation of new Paspalum grass and laser-leveling the tee boxes.

If you’ve ever driven down Kiawah Beach Drive (the first road on the right after passing through the first security gate) and noticed the beautiful scenery, you’ll know why hole 17 is recognized as one of the most gorgeous and challenging holes on the island.

Additionally, the all-new Cougar Point Clubhouse opened in 2019 — which is home to The Players’ Pub that offers class American casual fare with incredible fairway views.


Oak Point Golf Course

Holes: 18 | Par: 72 | Designed by Clyde Johnston
Last but not least, Oak Point is considered one of the Kiawah Island golf courses not to miss. Situated along the Kiawah River and Haulover Creek, this course is located just a few moments off of the island, before the traffic circle on Hope Plantation Drive. This course has undulating fairways and, after being renovated in 2015, received 4.5 stars from the readers of Golf Digest magazine in their “Best Places to Play” poll. With a mixture of easy and challenging holes, it’s a great learning place for beginners and is often referred to as a great warm-up course before playing the 4 major courses on Kiawah Island. Notably, this Clyde Johnston-designed course was the recipient of the 2019 Charleston Golf Course Owners Association Course of the Year!


The Tommy Cuthbert Golf Learning Center

When you’re ready to take your skills to the next level, the golf learning center on Kiawah offers a wide range of golf instruction options! You can choose between private instruction, semi-private instruction, larger golf clinics during the warmer months, and women’s only instruction classes. If you’re with a corporate group, they even have an option specifically for you. No matter which you decide, you or your group will be paired with a PGA-certified pro to help you refine your skills in state-of-the-art facilities.

Want to go the extra mile? Take a look at The Charleston SC Golf School, recipient of Golf Digest’s Editor’s Choice Award for “Best Golf Academy in Southeast” in 2018 and 2019! The intensive learning program is tailored specifically to you and spans over either 2 or 3 days.


Experience Kiawah Island’s Golf Courses Today!

No matter if you’ll be joining us for the epic 2021 PGA Championship, will be visiting the island with family, or want to plan a guys golf getaway — we have you covered when you’re ready to experience these one-of-a-kind Kiawah Island golf courses! We’re ESPM Vacation Rentals, a property management rental agency specializing in luxury Kiawah Island vacation rentals. We offer properties throughout the entire island, from scenic one-bedroom villas to magnificent 7-bedroom luxury homes to sleep everyone in your family or group.

Browse through all of our Kiawah Island vacation homes, cottages, and villas — or give us a call and we’ll send you a tailormade list of the best accommodations based on your specific needs.