PGA Championship 2021: Take a hole-by-hole tour of Kiawah Island’s brilliant Ocean Course

The clubhouse at the famed Ocean Course at Kiawah Island.

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The PGA Championship returns to the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island this week, the site of one of golf’s most fearsome tests.

A 155 slope rating — the maximum difficulty allowed by the USGA’s rating system — greets players prepared to tackle this near-8,000-yard beast. When the PGA last made its way to the Ocean Course in 2012, it welcomed the hardest single round of tournament play in PGA Championship history. Heavy winds blew in off the coast, sending shots swirling and scores skyrocketing. The eventual scoring average for the day was 78.1, the highest for a single round since the PGA adopted the stroke play format in the 1950s.

The Ocean Course, designed by Pete Dye, features a series of remarkable ocean vistas down the final nine holes. It was the ocean that inspired Dye’s wife Alice to recommend raising the green complexes to provide players with better views of the water.

Ultimately, the Ocean Course presents one of the game’s great challenges in one of its most awe-striking venues, a 7,876-yard, par-72 test of both mettle and might. Take a walk through the Ocean Course through the photos below, provided by Gary Kellner and Getty Images.

The Front: Par 36; 3,815 yards

Hole No. 1 — Par 4, 396 yards

Kiawah Island 1st
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No. 2 — Par 5, 557 yards

Kiawah island 2nd
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No. 3 — Par 4, 390 yards

kiawah island 3rd
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No. 4 — Par 4, 484 yards

kiawah island 4th
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No. 5 — Par 3, 207 yards

kiawah island 5th
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No. 6 — Par 4, 490 yards

kiawah Island 6th
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No. 7 — Par 5, 579 yards

Kiawah Island 7th
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No. 8 — Par 3, 198 yards

kiawah Island 8th
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No. 9 — Par 4, 514 yards

Kiawah Island 9th
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The Back: Par 36; 4,061 yards

No. 10 — Par 4, 447 yards

Kiawah Island 10th
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No. 11 — Par 5, 593 yards

Kiawah Island 11th
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No. 12 — Par 4, 484 yards

Kiawah Island 12th
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No. 13 — Par 4, 497 yards

Kiawah Island 13th
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No. 14 — Par 3, 238 yards

Kiawah Island 14th
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No. 15 — Par 4, 466 yards

Kiawah Island 15th
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No. 16 — Par 5, 608 yards

kiawah island 16th
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No. 17 — Par 3, 223 yards

kiawah island 17th
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No. 18 — Par 4, 505 yards

kiawah island 18th hole
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James Colgan Editor

James Colgan is a news and features editor at GOLF, writing stories for the website and magazine. He manages the Hot Mic, GOLF’s media vertical, and utilizes his on-camera experience across the brand’s platforms. Prior to joining GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse University, during which time he was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at