By Kim-Marie Evans
The battle for the Wanamaker Trophy will take place at the 94th PGA Championship this month on Kiawah Island, S.C.
The world’s best players will duke it out on the Ocean Course, which has been called the “toughest course in America.” Boasting the most seaside holes of any course in the Northern Hemisphere, the view will undoubtedly put up its own competition.
We’ve got the inside scoop for players and hackers alike looking to take part in this epic event. Whether you’ve already bought your tickets or are thinking about booking a trip after the tournament, this guide is for you.
Getting there: It’s a quick two-hour flight from New York City to Charleston. Kiawah is just 30 to 45 minutes from the airport.
Seeing the tournament: There are still very limited single-day tickets and grounds passes available through the PGA. Of course, StubHub can practically get you into the locker room, for a price.
Where to stay: The PGA booked the entire five-star Sanctuary Hotel more than a year ago. Thinking of flying down after the tournament to try your luck on the “Sea Monster” Ocean Course? A standard room will average $400 a night. You can also book anything from an oceanfront mansion to a budget-conscious condo through Kiawah Resort, (800) 576-1570. If you’re coming for the tournament, you can still find accommodations by visiting explorecharleston.com.
Getting in a round: Watching the pros play is great, but it’s no fun if you don’t get a chance to work on your own game. In addition to the Ocean Course, there are four other award-winning courses on the island: Cougar Point, designed by Gary Player; Oak Point, designed by Clyde Johnston; Osprey Point, designed by Tom Fazio; and Turtle Point, designed by Jack Nicklaus.
All have limited tee times available during the PGA Championship. If you don’t find the time you’re looking for, visit charlestongolfguide.com for plenty of courses nearby.
Where to eat: The restaurants at the Ocean Course are for players only, but rumor has it the pros will be all over the island, so you’ll get your chance to have your hat signed. Keep your Sharpie handy and check out these spots:
• Mingo Point Oyster Roast – This traditional Low Country oyster roast is usually a once-a-week affair, however, during the tourney, it’s on for several additional nights. Bring your appetite to this oceanside event because the sheer amount of real barbecue and sweet tea could put even the hungriest man in a food coma. The oysters are roasted over an open fire and delivered to your table by the shovelful. Enjoy live bluegrass music and a cigar while relaxing around the open campfire.
• Ocean Room Lounge –The Ocean Room is an elegant jacket-and-tie, reservations-required restaurant. For those who prefer a less formal setting, you can enjoy the same menu, without reservations or jacket, in the lounge. Sushi is the newest menu offering.
• Lobby Bar –This is the most likely spot to spy a pro during the tournament. Grab a cocktail, buy a cigar. Enjoy them both on the outdoor patio, which features rocking chairs and magnificent views of the Atlantic.
• Cherrywood BBQ & Ale House –The newest addition to the Osprey Point clubhouse is a huge hit with golfers. Low Country barbecue and an extensive selection of local ales make this casual spot a great place to stop either on the way to or from the Ocean Course. Oh, and you can enjoy your cigar outside on the patio.
• Red’s Ice House – Move off property and get your hands around a fried oyster po’ boy. Red’s is just minutes from the Kiawah gate at Bohicket Marina. You’ll find tourists and locals all at the water’s edge every night for the spectacular sunsets.
Stuff to Do – The beach at Kiawah Island is a 10-mile stretch of hard-packed sand. It’s the perfect spot for a long bike ride or a morning run. Surprisingly, the waves are big enough to surf or just paddle-board for the non-Laird Hamilton types. Lessons are available. The waters are famous for sharks, but most people don’t know that you can spy pods of dolphins just offshore. Take a sea kayak out and get closer than you would at Sea World.
Make your own legend and book a round at the Ocean Course, featured in “The Legend of Bagger Vance.” Reservations for tee times start Aug. 15. The 18th hole can tell tales of the legendary battle for the Ryder Cup in 1991, the Wanamaker in 2012 and (apologies, Mark Twain) your own good walk spoiled.
For more, visit kiawahresort.com.