7 things to know about Kiawah Island Golf Resort, site of the 2021 PGA Championship

The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort.

The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort.

Courtesy Photo

The best golfers in the world will be under a lot of stress this week at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. But otherwise, the place is built for rest and recreation. Here are seven things to know if you’re considering your own island stay-and-play at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, one of GOLF’s Top 100 Resorts.

1. There are 4 other courses at the resort

The Ocean Course is the brightest star in a sparkling five-course constellation composed of Osprey Point (Tom Fazio), Oak Point (Clyde Johnston), Turtle Point (Jack Nicklaus) and Cougar Point (Gary Player). (Read more about those four courses here.)

2. Aquatic activities abound

All that water isn’t good for just swallowing golf balls. Kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding are popular pursuits around the island’s placid waterways. Surfing lessons are available. You can also book a seat on the resort’s eco-tour boat for a guided excursion in search of Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins, which populate the island’s inlets, creeks and marshes.

3. It’s family friendly

Archery tag, flume slides, bike rentals and more. The Ocean Course might be a big-boy challenge but the resort has lots to offer for your entire brood.

The lobby bar at the oceanfront Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort.
The lobby bar at the oceanfront Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. Courtesy Photo

4. It has Ryder Cup roots

Pete Dye built the Ocean Course with the Ryder Cup in mind, and the property was selected to stage the bi-annual event well before the layout was completed. Good choice, as the 1991 competition, also known as “The War by the Shore,” morphed almost instantly into lore.

5. It’s eco-conscious

Kiawah is a barrier island, with a fiercely protected eco-system. Among the environmental safeguards is the requirement that all building be kept behind the second line of dunes inland from the water. The island also has no stoplights, so that sea turtle hatchlings aren’t lured in the wrong direction by artificial light. The resort’s courses are plenty green, too. All five are certified Audubon sanctuaries.

6. You’ll be in famous company

Celebrities, they’re just like us! They just have nicer homes. Richard Gere, George Clooney, Reese Witherspoon and Bruce Willis rank among the People Magazine people who own or have owned places on the island, where the median home price is just under a million bucks and many homes go for much more.

7. Birdies and birders

Kiawah Island is home to a rich array of avian life. The resort offers a Birding for Beginners walking tour. But the island also abounds in gentle walking trails, so don’t hesitate to BYOB (as in, binoculars) and head out for some sightseeing on your own.

Josh Sens

Golf.com Editor

A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.