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Blog // Travel
August 16, 2005

Kiawah Course Review II: Osprey Point

The first course I played on Kiawah Island was Osprey Point. This is a Tom Fazio designed course replete with water hazards and out of bounds situations. The first thing that strikes you is the narrowness of the rough in relation to the lost ball opportunities. Apparently after hurricane Hugo the course lost some 30% […]

The first course I played on Kiawah Island was Osprey Point. This is a Tom Fazio designed course replete with water hazards and out of bounds situations. The first thing that strikes you is the narrowness of the rough in relation to the lost ball opportunities. Apparently after hurricane Hugo the course lost some 30% of its tall timber, which makes me shudder to think how tight the original layout must have been. The second thing that hits you is the tightness of the greens and pin positions.

But then, something else hits. The dramatic, almost cinematic nature of the layouts. Every teeing ground gives you a dramatic panorama. Over water, over saltmarsh, through narrow opening in woods, up onto elevated and sharply contoured fairways. At times it feels like a course designed as much to be photographed as to be played.

Osprey is not long (6871 yards from the Gold tees and I played it at 6602 from the Blue), but its challenge lies in penalties you risk from the tee and the design of the greens. Every tee shot is risky and I counted 12 tee shots where both water and OOB were in immediate play. The greens are all well elevated and irregularly shaped. Most have signifcant slopes, the 9th for example drops 23 feet from left back to right front. The bunkering around the greens is not too penal, but most greens have signifcant swales and valleys around them, so getting close to the tight pin placements (often only a few feet from the fringe) requires judicious use of the lob wedge.

Given the opportunity I would like to play Osprey again. It is perhaps too manicured for my tastes, but it was a good challenge and certainly is a must play course if one is visting Kiawah Island or Charleston.

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