One on one with the toughest course in golf - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

One on one with the toughest course in golf

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KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C.(WCIV) — The Ocean Course Kiawah stands and one of golf's most challenging and grueling tests, tempting worlds elite and amateurs alike.

The oceanside jewel boasts an experience unlike any other; stunning vistas and more oceanside holes than any other on the East Coast.

And with the surge in popularity coming off 2012's PGA Championship, the first major tournament held in South Carolina, more and more golfers are flocking to the tee boxes eager to put their game to the test.

Nestled next to the Atlantic Ocean sits nearly 8,000 yards of sprawling fairways and finely manicured greens. Its long time director of golf, Brain Gerard, could not be more proud.

"The view of the ocean front from every hole is unique and just the playability of the course is also very unique," Gerard said.

Opened in 1991 and designed by the legendary Pete Dye, the ocean course has made champions; most recently PGA Champion Rory McIlroy.

While at the same time bringing many of the games best to their knees – just stand on the 18th tee and feel the gusty winds, which can blow to as strong as 45mph.

The Ocean Course has served as home to the Ryder Cup, the PGA Championship, and the Senior PGA Championship a prestige that easily coverers up a more sinister achievement; the title of hardest golf course in the country.

"We've been ranked one of the most difficult courses in the country," Gerard admits while smiling.  "But that depends on what set of tee markers you are playing from. I think some people come out and bite off a little more than they can handle."

So what is the secret to taming the beast, the pros say the key is where not to hit the ball, something just as important as knowing where to hit it.

"The further back you go and the more the wind kicks up the more difficult it becomes," Gerard said.  

With the success of the 2012 PGA Championship, Gerard and others who are familiar with the Ocean Course at Kiawah say they've started seeing something that golfers aren't quite used to -- higher numbers. 

"I think that refueled Charleston as a golf destination," Gerard said when asked about the sudden surge. "I think it made us more recognizable so it will make people want to come back. We had over 155 hours of live TV coverage viewed in 450 million homes world wide so when you get that kind of coverage, it's going to draw people into the Charleston area."

While The Ocean Course may best some of the most majestic holes in all of golf and one of its hardest pedigrees, what makes the Ocean Course special is that it is open to anyone.

"The beauty of it is that people in Charleston and beyond can come out to Kiawah to the resort and have access to all five courses," Gerard said.

All you need is a tee time, and a little courage.


  • Jon Bruce

    Email: jbruce@abcnews4.com Reporter Profile




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