Been there, done that Playing at famous golf courses is nothing new

  • Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tiger Woods has competed on some of the world’s greatest golf courses, just like our Eye of the Tyler columnist.

"I unsheathed my 3-wood, struck the cart
path that intersects the fairway and
bounced my dimpled friend onto the
green. Another majestic hole,
another eagle."

I've played golf at some of the world's best courses. I've hit safely onto the famed 17th green at The Players Championship (TPC) at Sawgrass. I used a driver to ride strong gusts of wind to greens in one shot at Saint Andrew's Golf Club. And, I've even ignored the crashing surf of the Pacific Ocean while hitting off elevated tee boxes at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island is unfamiliar territory, though, and I look forward to covering the PGA Championship there next week. Like the famous courses I've played at over the years, each hole has its own personality.
The par-4 No. 4, for example, features a sprawling fairway, similar to the expanses across the pond at Saint Andrew's. The yardage and straight-away layout also offer reminders of the No. 5 hole on the Ailsa Course in Scotland, frequent host of The Open Championship. That hole isn't too tough, though; I've never shot anything worse than a birdie there.
The par-3 No. 8 presents similar challenges like the island green at TPC at Sawgrass, except this green is surrounded by sand and wild grass instead of water. But, the size of the green is similar. Once, I stuck a shot with my 9-iron within a few feet of that hole in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
The par-5 No. 11 brings back memories of the ninth hole at the Coeur d'Alene course in northern Idaho, recently ranked the second-best resort golf course in the country behind Pebble Beach. From the back tees on No. 9 at Coeur d'Alene, it's just over 600 yards to the pin and No. 11 at Kiawah plays to 593 yards, although with the wind, it could play much longer.
Still, I placed my tee shot about 330 yards down the right side of the fairway and hit a 3-wood that dribbled up to the green, before sinking about a 20-foot eagle putt. Idaho offered a nifty "3" on my scorecard, proving the state does offer more than just potatoes.
Kiawah's No. 13, a par 4 measuring 497 yards, offers challenges reminiscent of the fourth hole at Pebble Beach. The canal stretches all the way down the right side, warning golfers to keep tee shots to the left, just as the Pacific Ocean crashes below the rocks on the right side of the hole in California.
Pebble Beach's version is significantly shorter, though, as I was able to drive the green from 326 yards away and sink an eagle putt from about a dozen feet away.
Kiawah's finishing hole is like the 18th hole at Saint Andrew's.
Both face their respective clubhouses and are manageable par 4s. I unsheathed my 3-wood, struck the cart path that intersects the fairway and bounced my dimpled friend onto the green. Another majestic hole, another eagle.
Around that time, my thumbs got tired and my eyes dried from staring in the same direction for a while. I put down the controller and crawled into my bed in Charleston.
Have a suggestion for a future Eye of the Tyler column? Email theffernan@moultrienews.com.

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