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Kiawah Island's golf courses make for a great three-day getaway

By S. Adam Cardais,
Contributor
Ocean Course at Kiawah Island
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2012 PGA Championship host the Ocean Course is just one of the great tracks awaiting you on Kiawah Island. (Courtesy Kiawah Island Golf Resort)

The Carolinas are full of places for a long-weekend golf trip: Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head, Pinehurst. But if you're looking to get away to a place where it's just you and your game, try the golf courses on Kiawah Island.

About a half-hour drive from beautiful Charleston, S.C., Kiawah Island is one of the least commercial high-end golf destinations in the country. With little else to do, it's easy to lose yourself on great tracks like the Ocean Course, scheduled host of the 2012 PGA Championship.

The Perfect Three-day Kiawah Island Golf Weekend

Friday

The place to stay is the Kiawah Island Golf Resort, which offers a range of lodging options, starting with The Sanctuary, a AAA Five Diamond hotel.

With its impressive building and wide-planked oak floors, The Sanctuary hearkens back "to a simpler time when they took time with their architecture," Tim McDonald observed in a feature story for TravelGolf.com Luxury Golfer.

If you're looking for something more private, the resort rents villas and luxury homes, ranging from about $1,000 to $13,000 a week, depending on the season.

Settled in? Good. Now head to the Ocean Course to start this trip off right.

This Pete Dye design is Kiawah Island golf's crown jewel. Measuring 7,296 yards with a 152 slope rating, the Ocean Course was named one of the country's top 10 public courses - and America's toughest resort track - by Golf Digest.

When you come off the course, dine at The Sanctuary's seafood-centric Ocean Room, a restaurant recently rated "Restaurant of the Year" by Charleston's The Post and Courier.

Saturday

A little worn out after battling the Ocean Course? Take things down a notch today with a round at Osprey Point, a Tom Fazio design known for its playability.

The course features four natural lakes, fingers of saltwater marsh and forests filled with oaks, pines, palmettos and magnolias. Wide landing areas make Osprey Point accessible to a range of skills levels, but with a 137 slope rating it can still bite - especially if you don't watch out for the gators that like to sun themselves on its grass when it's warm.

Spread your wings Saturday night and head to Charleston for dinner at Mustard Seed, an eclectic, reasonably priced restaurant serving seafood, vegetarian and meat dishes in the heart of one of the south's most vibrant cities.

Sunday

A good, challenging round can shove aside gloomy ruminations about your impending return to the routine. That's why we recommend you finish the trip at Kiawah Island Club's Cassique course.

Tom Watson no doubt had the links courses of Scotland in mind when he designed Cassique. The wind that rips through this nearly 7,000-yard track can frustrate even scratch golfers, but pay close attention the layout: Watson designed the course to be played differently depending on which way the gales are blowing.

 
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