KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- Tom Fazio's million-dollar renovation of the 7,119-yard River Course earlier this year has enhanced the original course at The Kiawah Island Club.
Fazio returned to his 1995 design to rebuild bunkers, add new women's tees on certain holes and replace turf. Perhaps the most important upgrade is the new comfort station, where complimentary treats such as homemade sliders and wraps and drinks are served.
The River Course is as scenic as it is tough -- challenging enough that PGA Tour professionals Ben Martin and Russell Henley call the club home. Six holes skirt the Kiawah River, although water hazards and marsh lurk almost everywhere in true Lowcountry style.
The memorable eighth hole, a 547-yard par 5, tees off over (or around) a big tree along the water's edge, which runs the entire right side of the hole. The landing zone on the second shot narrows considerably. Whether you're going for it in two or using a wedge as your third shot, hitting the green (and avoiding water) is an impressive feat.
The 17th hole -- a 213-yard par 3 called "River" -- brings the round full circle with one last scenic shot with nothing but marsh as a backdrop.
No expense was sparred to keep members and guests from feeling at home before and after rounds. The sprawling clubhouse houses a men's locker room with a TV nearly the size of most movie theaters.