2021 PGA Championship Venue: Get to Know Everything About The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island

Published 05/18/2021, 7:30 PM CDT
May 17, 2021; Kiawah Island, South Carolina, USA; Cameron Smith hits from the second fairway during a practice round for the PGA Championship golf tournament at Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Resort. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


The PGA Tour just saw the conclusion of the AT&T Byron Nelson in Texas. The tour will next move to South Carolina for the 2021 PGA Championship. The second major championship of the year begins on May 20 and has got everyone excited. So what do we know about ‘The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island,’ the venue that will host the tournament this year?

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This year’s PGA Championship will be played at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina. This resort is a paradise for golfers as the venue has five championship golf courses all designed with exquisite details. 

As for the 2021 PGA Championship, it will be played at ‘The Ocean Course,’ which is one among the layouts at the Kiawah Island. The Ocean Course will be hosting the PGA Championship for the second time. 

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Rory McIlroy reigned supreme when the Ocean Course hosted the major back in 2012. McIlroy shot a bogey-free 66 in the final round and won the tournament by a record eight strokes. 

May 17, 2021; Kiawah Island, South Carolina, USA; Rory McIlroy stands on the seventh green during a practice round for the PGA Championship golf tournament at Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Resort. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Origin of ‘The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island’ 

The Kiawah Island Golf Resort spreads across thousands of acres and The Ocean Course accumulates an important part of it. The golf course came into existence in 1991 and was designed by the legendary Pete Dye and his wife Alice. 

The couple took just two years between 1989 and 1991 to complete The Ocean Course. The course has an incredible design and the golfers will have a terrific view of the Atlantic Ocean while playing in the course. 

The Ocean Course is located on the Easternmost end of the Island and boasts the most seaside holes in the Northern Hemisphere. It was Alice Dye who suggested raising the layout of the course to offer the players stunning views of the coastline.

Since it is very close to the coastline, The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island is affected by strong winds. Brian Gerard, the Director of Golf at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, has already issued a warning about heavy winds that could come into play at the 2021 PGA Championship. 

Golf Digest ranked ‘The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island’ as American’s toughest course in 2007 and it still holds the same intimidating factor. The Ocean Course has also hosted other notable tournaments in the past such as the 1991 Ryder Cup and the World Cup of Golf in 1997. 

Furthermore, the Ocean Course’s clubhouse spans 24,000 square feet and has an 80-seat restaurant among other lavish facilities. 

Read Also: Sam Burns’ Grandfather: Is the PGA Tour Golfer the Grandson of Arnold Palmer?

2021 PGA Championship: Ocean Course details

The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island is no easy layout to master. Rory McIlroy put on a splendid performance in 2012, and one can expect the same from this year too. However, the unpredictability of the sport is what makes it more exciting. 

The par-72 Ocean Course has been stretched to 7,876 yards for the 2021 PGA Championship. It will create history as the longest course to ever host a major championship by defeating the 2017 U.S. Open venue Erin Hills, which was measured at 7,741 yards.

There will be six holes that will be played at more than 500 yards this year, and The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island has been stretched by more than 200 yards since it last hosted the PGA Championship in 2012. 

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The Ocean Course is completely filled with Platinum Paspalum grass which is meant to be seaside friendly and help the golfers gain good approach shots. The greens are much improved with Paspalum at the Ocean Course compared to when it had Bermuda grass. 

Here’s a tabulated version of the 18-hole yardage at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island:

HOLEPARYARDS
14 396
25557
34390
44484
53207
64490
75579
83198
94514
104447
115593
124484
134497
143238
154466
165608
173223
184505

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Read Also: Nick Faldo Names His Top Two Picks for the 2021 PGA Championship

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Arjun Athreya

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Arjun Athreya is a senior writer at Essentially Sports and has been contributing since early 2020. Having developed an avid interest in sports at an early age, he pursued a Journalism degree and graduated from Madras Christian College. Arjun manages the Golf division and its content, and primarily covers news pertaining to the NBA as well.

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