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Bryan Izatt

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Oddities and Photo Tour at the Ocean Course - Kiawah
« on: February 09, 2012, 08:27:46 PM »
I played the Ocean Course a few days ago in glorious winter conditions, although low 70's and little wind didn't feel like winter at all.  It been at least ten years since I was there and there have been some obvious changes, like the 18th.  Apparently there have been more recent changes in preparation for the PGA.  

At any rate there were a few things that struck me as odd this time around.

The course looks more finished than it used to.  The transitions certainly look less rugged.  In fact, they have fashioned straight edged upholstered (in Bermuda? Or, is it paspalum) ridges down into waste areas like those on 5, 7 and 16.  The one on 16 almost reminded me of PGA West Stadium Course.  Apart from the aesthetics, I'm not sure what the point was, except that there will presumably be fewer funky lies in the transitions.






Then, most notably on the 11th hole, they have grown enormous eyelashes on some fairway bunkers .  I'm guessing the long bombers are going to avoid these like the plague.  They look very penal.  Aesthetically they also seem at odds with the straightening and upholstering of many of the waste areas.






The caddie we had said that they intend to play all the bunkers as waste areas.  There will be no rakes (and, indeed, there aren't any now).  Some of the bunkers are full of pebbles and shells.  I would imagine the the pros are not going to like that.  The large waste areas (see pictures above) are hard packed sand.  Those should provide no problem to the pros.

What a fabulous place to play.  And, not to shill for the resort, but they have a good deal on now.  Normally the green fee is $250 at this time of year.  The special was $150 p.p. double for a one bedroom villa and a round on the Ocean Course for each.  Traveling single wasn't such a good deal.  You pay full double price and either got to play twice or play once and get a dinner included, up to $100.  


« Last Edit: February 12, 2012, 02:47:30 PM by Bryan Izatt »

Bart Bradley

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Re: Oddities at the Ocean Course - Kiawah
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2012, 08:40:15 PM »
Apparently at the Senior major tournament held at the course, a ball plugged in the "face" of one of the large sandy waste areas and was never found.  The resultant lost ball penalty apparently affected the outcome of the tournament and I believe they made the decision to grass the faces of the bunkers so that all the balls funnel down into the sand.  Perhaps someone with a more encyclopedic knowledge of the Champions Tour can remind us of the exact events leading to this decision.

I really like the Ocean course at Kiawah.  It is my favorite Dye course and I believe better and less overwrought than the generally higher rated Whistling Straits.  Really my only significant complaint is the transition from 9 to 10...I wonder why these holes had to be so far apart.

I look forward to my next trip to Kiawah and if you haven't been there, make plans to go.  Doak 8 for me.

Bart
« Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 09:25:13 AM by Bart Bradley »

Matt Kardash

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Re: Oddities at the Ocean Course - Kiawah
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2012, 10:42:49 PM »
I heard Dye created a deep swale with short grass left of the 11th green. Got any pics of that?
the interviewer asked beck how he felt "being the bob dylan of the 90's" and beck quitely responded "i actually feel more like the bon jovi of the 60's"

Sean_A

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Re: Oddities at the Ocean Course - Kiawah
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2012, 02:01:43 AM »
I like the hairy look of #11 because the hole is generally a hairy looking.  I also don't mind the Raynor look on the waste areas.  I do, however, despise the walks to #s 1 & 10.  Below is the explanation I was given for this cock-up.

"OK, here's the dope on why there's the expansive area between the front and back nines.
When Dye was building the course, construction had to fall within what is termed the "critical line." Dye said the critical line came right along the ocean, near the original 18th green, doglegged back to the area of the old clubhouse location and then jutted back out to the dunes.

Dye said that the reason for the dogleg was that when the area was being surveyed for the critical line that the surveyor had followed the dunes, but when he walked over to his truck for his lunch break, he dropped a stake. So, on the maps, the critical line jogged inward.

"I explained to the owners at the time, Joe Walser and Ernie Vossler, that you can't tie the two nines together," Dye said. "Joe said, 'Pete, we've got to have the Ryder Cup so hurry and do what you can.'"

Dye continued working, but he also lobbied then Gov. Carroll Campbell to help  in gettign the critical line moved out.

That didn't help in tying th etwo nines together, but it did all the owners to build the practice range and the old (which has since been removed) and new clubhouses in their present locations."

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Adam Clayman

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Re: Oddities at the Ocean Course - Kiawah
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2012, 08:55:32 AM »
  Really my only significant complaint is the transition from 9 to 10...I wonder why these holes had to be so far apart.

On my one and only visit, I was told a story about how this happened.

It involved two EPA guys who were marking the course for sensitive areas. When one went to lunch (or got off work?), the other, was confused, or just bungled where the other had stopped marking the sensitive areas. It created this giant area that had to be left alone, even though it's no more sensitive than the parking lot.

The story is so ridiculous, it's believable because it involves the EPA.
"It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing your whole life." - Mickey Mantle

PCCraig

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Re: Oddities at the Ocean Course - Kiawah
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2012, 10:05:54 AM »
Bryan,

The changes to the Ocean Course are certainly noticeable. As you noted, quite a few of the bunkers have a cleaner more manufactured look to them than they did before.

The hole that I notice it the most is on the par-3 #14 with the left greenside bunker, which used to have a more natural "flashed" face that did a great job of blending in with the dunes and beach behind it. One of the Senior PGA guys plugged a ball in the face and knocked him out of the competition. Of course they also added a really neat tee back and up behind the current set of tees which makes for an awesome view out and over most of the golf course.

I am a fan of the changes to the 18th hole. I really like the new tee box closer to the dunes/beach and how it creates a much more interesting angle off the tee.

I played the Ocean Course around this past Thanksgiving on an 75* day with no wind or any clouds in the sky and in less than 4 hours. It was a perfect day on a great course!
H.P.S.

Bryan Izatt

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Re: Oddities at the Ocean Course - Kiawah
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2012, 03:56:52 PM »
Matt,

Didn't get a picture of the left swale, but the following two pictures will give you an idea.  As best as I recall the dunes used to come to the green resulting in awkward lies very close to the green.  Now there is a closely mown runoff on the front, left and rear. Missed shots are supposed to run away from the green, but not into the junk, although the newly planted marram (?) grass behind might come into play if the shot comes through too hot.

From front left of the green.




From behind the green.





Bryan Izatt

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Re: Oddities at the Ocean Course - Kiawah
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2012, 04:12:55 PM »
Re the separation of the 9's, those are interesting stories.  As I recall Dye was required to create the ponds on the landward side of the course to protect the tidal flats.  Given the narrow strip of land available and the need/desire for a clubhouse and driving range, there was no other logical place to put them other than in the middle.  Used to be that the range and clubhouse were flipped, but even then the range, clubhouse and parking lot were basically the width of the dunes on which the course was laid out.

1989 Aerial




1995 Aerial




2010 Aerial





Bryan Izatt

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Re: Oddities at the Ocean Course - Kiawah
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2012, 04:34:04 PM »
I think I'll run a photo tour.  The place is certainly photogenic. 

Starting with the first, a mid length par 4, probably meant to ease you into your round, but looking pretty confining off the tee.  The fairway is 25 to 30 yards wide in the LZ.  (I wonder if they would narrow this fairway down a bit for the PGA; our caddie suggested that they would be going with 4" rough - not sure if it's bermuda or paspalum rough).  The straight edged, upholstered look transition to the waste areas is immediately evident.




A second from the left side has a more open look for a short iron in.  The green is actually smaller (4500 sq ft) than it looks from the fairway.  Some of the runoffs look like green from the fairway.




The look from the right side of the fairway is more intimidating.




From behind the green some of the runoffs and green contouring is evident.





I presume this hole will be viewed as a birdie opportunity for the PGA.



Jon Wiggett

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Re: Oddities at the Ocean Course - Kiawah
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2012, 05:05:39 PM »
.







What is that strange looking thing in right center? I hope it looks better in real life.

Bryan Izatt

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Re: Oddities at the Ocean Course - Kiawah
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2012, 05:31:15 PM »
Jon,

I didn't notice it at the time because I wasn't playing from that angle.  It looks like a pretty ugly way to try to prevent the long bombers from running their second shot up on this shortish par 5.  Looks like somebody dumped a couple of truck loads of sand in the middle of the fairway and and shaped a "pimple" with a sand face (and some eyelashes).  It's another late addition that I think detracts from the original rugged nature/look of the Ocean course.


Jon Wiggett

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Re: Oddities at the Ocean Course - Kiawah
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2012, 05:37:39 PM »
yes, me thinks a small mound and prickly plant would fit the bill better ;D

JLahrman

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Re: Oddities at the Ocean Course - Kiawah
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2012, 07:31:14 PM »
yes, me thinks a small mound and prickly plant would fit the bill better ;D

I was just going to note that myself...it looks like one of those runaway strips they put on the sides of highways in the mountains so truckers can stop if their brakes go out.

However, I am really looking forward to watching the pros play this course again (finally) this year.

Tom_Doak

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Re: Oddities at the Ocean Course - Kiawah
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2012, 07:52:21 PM »
  Really my only significant complaint is the transition from 9 to 10...I wonder why these holes had to be so far apart.

On my one and only visit, I was told a story about how this happened.

It involved two EPA guys who were marking the course for sensitive areas. When one went to lunch (or got off work?), the other, was confused, or just bungled where the other had stopped marking the sensitive areas. It created this giant area that had to be left alone, even though it's no more sensitive than the parking lot.

The story is so ridiculous, it's believable because it involves the EPA.


If someone from Kiawah with direct knowledge wants to come on here and state this as fact, I'd love to hear it.  Until then, I would just like to say that it is stories like this that set golf back with people in environmental circles.  If you worked for the EPA [really?  the EPA is marking coastal areas?], would you appreciate such stories being printed?

One of my friends worked on the construction of Kiawah, which was 2-3 years after I quite working for Mr. Dye.  The one thing I remember about the project as it was happening is that right in the middle of construction, Hurricane Hugo barreled through Charleston.  The area north of the city (Wild Dunes) got hit the hardest, but Kiawah was pretty messed up, too, and Mr. Dye used the hurricane damage as license to put things back together more in the way he wanted to, with the government agencies looking over his shoulder, but no exact permit for what was being done.

I had never seen aerial photos of the place before Bryan's post, but perhaps the hurricane helps to explain how the back nine holes were laid out right along the beach, whereas the front nine were required to be inland.

Anthony Gray

Re: Oddities at the Ocean Course - Kiawah
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2012, 09:00:25 PM »
RCD on steroids.


 Anthony

Tom ORourke

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Re: Oddities at the Ocean Course - Kiawah
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2012, 08:17:47 AM »
I was at the Ryder Cup back in 91 and it seems to me that the course has been softened up a bit, probably to keep groups from hacking away into a 6 hour round. I played there a few years ago and some of the changes were obvious, such as more grass, less waste areas. The 11th is a good example. That waste area to the left of 11 was always there and a number of the guys in 91 were able to carry it and get home in 2. But since then they have raised the areas around the green quite a bit. The drop off to the right of the green was very deep, down to sand and that has been erased. I remember Chip Beck holing an eagle blast from there and he could not see it go in. One of the issues in 91 was guys hitting the green in 2, or even 3, but rolling off the back, way, way down and it was difficult to hit the green from there. I saw Paul Broadhurst have a ball roll into one of the little bushes set in the sand. He was unsure how it would come out so Woosnam told him to go to a different bush and take a practice swing to see how it would react. After all, it is not a bunker so there is no penalty shot. As Ian said, "Paul, take out a bush!" The course is still great but more playable for daily play. I have my tickets for the PGA.

Niall C

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Re: Oddities at the Ocean Course - Kiawah
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2012, 09:27:59 AM »
[
If someone from Kiawah with direct knowledge wants to come on here and state this as fact, I'd love to hear it.  Until then, I would just like to say that it is stories like this that set golf back with people in environmental circles.  If you worked for the EPA [really?  the EPA is marking coastal areas?], would you appreciate such stories being printed?


Tom

I think you have a point. And without wishing to hijack Bryans thread, I made the same point about Trumps Aberdeen course but don't recall getting any support for that view on here which was both disappointing and surprising. Golf has to work hard to convince the environmental lobby that it can be good for the environment, Sharps Park being a case in point, and I think propogating an "us and them" mentality does no one any favours.

Bryan,

Nice thread. Agree with both yours and Jon's comments on that bunker, very strange.

Niall 

Jerry Kluger

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Re: Oddities at the Ocean Course - Kiawah
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2012, 10:31:41 AM »
The OC is one of my favorites.  They did do some changes to the course which did make it even better.  I believe it is #4 where they put in some fairway bunkers which you can see from the tee - before that you could not see where the landing area was beyond the wetlands.  I remember the incident at the Senior PGA where a player hit his ball into the face of the left bunker on #14 and it was plugged so high up that he could not physically get to it - it is my understanding that they took out that bunker.  BTW: That is one of the greatest par 3s I have seen. 

Anthony Gray

Re: Oddities at the Ocean Course - Kiawah
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2012, 10:50:51 AM »


  The distance between 9s is consistent with with other designs. Whistling Straights,Sawgrass ,and Teeth of the Dog.

  Anthony

Matt Kardash

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Re: Oddities at the Ocean Course - Kiawah
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2012, 11:28:35 AM »
Jerry, That bunker on 14 is still there. They just grassed the face of it.
At first I wasn't sure if I was goign to like the grassed-faced look at Kiawah but I got to admit I kind of do. The course didn't really have intricate bunkering to begin with, so grassing the faces honestly doesn't really change all that much. The grass faces give the course a bit of a Fisher's Island type links look....which I am sure Dye appreciates.
I love checking out courses on Google Maps and I will say this is one of the neater aerials of any course I have seen.
the interviewer asked beck how he felt "being the bob dylan of the 90's" and beck quitely responded "i actually feel more like the bon jovi of the 60's"

Tom_Doak

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Re: Oddities at the Ocean Course - Kiawah
« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2012, 12:09:40 PM »
Jerry, That bunker on 14 is still there. They just grassed the face of it.
At first I wasn't sure if I was goign to like the grassed-faced look at Kiawah but I got to admit I kind of do. The course didn't really have intricate bunkering to begin with, so grassing the faces honestly doesn't really change all that much. The grass faces give the course a bit of a Fisher's Island type links look....which I am sure Dye appreciates.
I love checking out courses on Google Maps and I will say this is one of the neater aerials of any course I have seen.

The big bunker on #14 had a grass face when the course first opened ... as I recall, it was mowed tight, so if you didn't get the ball up to the green it came speeding back down into the bunker.

Bryan Izatt

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Re: Oddities at the Ocean Course - Kiawah
« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2012, 01:06:23 PM »
Tom,

Re your environmental comments, following are two page extracts from a book called A Coast for All Seasons: A Naturalist's Guide to the Coast of South Carolina by Miles O. Hayes, Jacqueline Michel.  It seems the set back lines were more oriented to protecting development from erosion than to protect the environment.








Tom_Doak

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Re: Oddities at the Ocean Course - Kiawah
« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2012, 05:42:32 PM »
Tom,

Re your environmental comments, following are two page extracts from a book called A Coast for All Seasons: A Naturalist's Guide to the Coast of South Carolina by Miles O. Hayes, Jacqueline Michel.  It seems the set back lines were more oriented to protecting development from erosion than to protect the environment.

Bryan:

Thanks for posting that, it's very interesting to see their priorities.  And I had no idea that the Kuwaitis owned the property for a long time ... that knowledge adds an interesting layer to the Gulf War-themed Ryder Cup of 1991 !

I can remember Mr. Dye telling stories of working with the government observers following the hurricane.  He said that the chief observer from the Corps told him that he [Pete] was either Saddam Hussein, or God, and the jury was still out as to which.

Mike_Trenham

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Re: Oddities at the Ocean Course - Kiawah
« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2012, 05:52:07 PM »
I played TOC in December after last seeing it during the 1991 Ryder Cup.  What stood out for me is how much the edges of fairway/rough were bowled towards the center lines making it hard for shots to run off in to the waste areas.

Is this a change since 19991 or needed since incarnation to control the runoff of water and chemicals?
Proud member of a Doak 3.

Jerry Kluger

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Re: Oddities at the Ocean Course - Kiawah
« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2012, 11:14:40 PM »
I can still remember seeing the player at the Senior PGA being stymied because he couldn't get to his ball - I know it was a Spanish name - I believe it was Romero.  Anyway, I think it was clear that the situation was unfair and they corrected it.  I have to repeat myself - that view of the horizon from the tee on 14 is incredible.

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