Monday, April 30, 2012

Review of Cougar Point on Kiawah Island

Last year I finally seized the opportunity to play Kiawah Island’s Cougar Point after several visits to the island in the past eleven years. The resort courses I had played up this point were Osprey Point, Turtle Point and Oak Point. One of these days I will bite the financial bullet and play the famous Pete Dye Ocean course.
This Gary Player designed course was initially known as Marsh Point built back in 1976 during an era of Kiawah’s golf course development infancy. Criticism and drawbacks led Player to comeback in 1996 to change the course by adding yardage to a total of 6,875 yards (distance from gold markers or back tees). This par 72 bermuda grass course has a slope rating of 134 and course rating of 73 (from the golds). Water plays in on every hole with the exception of #4,# 6,# 11 and #16. The crown jewel of playing Cougar are holes #4, #5, and #6 that run alongside the Kiawah River and tidal marshes. Regardless of skill level, it is hard not to enjoy the awesome scenery of the Kiawah wildlife just off the fairways and greens. The holes are as pretty if not prettier than the ocean view holes of #15, #16, and #17 at Turtle Point. The most entertaining hole at Cougar Point is number 17 that is a shorter par 4, but offers up a healthy dose of water along the right side (tee box to pin) along with fairway bunkers that can be avoided with a healthy straight drive off the box. I don’t really see any downside to this course other than the few holes that run along Kiawah Island Parkway. The accompanying road noise is easily forgotten once you get away from this hole. The clubhouse staff, ranger, and beverage cart service were all friendly and accommodating. The clubhouse seemed modest in comparison to Turtle Point, Osprey and the other resort courses.

Like all other resort courses on Kiawah, you will pay through the nose on greens fees, so consider purchasing the Charleston Golf directory book for a discount, or just bite the bullet and play this one just once. I played Cougar last spring and fell in love with this course ever since.

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