Golfweek Architecture Summit

Photo by Tracy Wilcox

By Bradley S. Klein

Architecture Editor

Golfweek Magazine

Pete Dye has made a life out of playing in the dirt. The 88-year old golf-course architect and his partner in life and design Alice Dye, 87, charmed an audience of Golfweek course raters, friends, colleagues and former field staff at a three-day architecture summit that ended Nov. 11 at Kiawah Island Golf Resort.

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Ryder Cup Bar

Ryder Cup Bar Bagger Burger

The famed Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort is renowned worldwide for both its beauty and its challenge.  It hosted the 1991 “War by the Shore” Ryder Cup where the U.S. team pulled out a one-point victory on the final hole of the final match, essentially elevating this biennial event to one of golf’s most watched television events.  In 2012, it hosted the PGA Championship where Rory McIlroy virtually lapped the field with a run-away eight-stroke victory.  But, for all its beauty and bravado, for many it is the clubhouse’s 19th hole, The Ryder Cup Bar, which is their favorite.

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The joy of a Kiawah golf vacation can sometimes be diminished by the annoying mission of transporting your clubs from your home to Kiawah. We’ve always found carrying clubs on a flight is a risky ordeal, but not nearly as dangerous and nerve-racking as shipping them through the mail can be.  To help you out, the resort has partnered with Ship Sticks.

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Osprey Point Clubhouse

Osprey Point Clubhouse

After nearly five months or renovations, Osprey Point reopens for play today, Wednesday, October 1st. Governor’s Club Members, Property Owners and Resort Guests alike have all been anxiously awaiting this day and it is nearly upon us.

We want to thank each of you for your patience and understanding as we labored through this exciting project. The maintenance and construction crews have worked relentlessly throughout the hot and humid summer, laboring over every detail to get each hole just right. Here is a recap of their tremendous accomplishments:

  • Re-grassed all tees, fairways and greens with Paspalum Platinum, the same grass used on the Ocean Course

  • Returned all greens to their original size and contours

  • Built an entirely new practice putting green, nearly three times the size of the old practice green

  • Laser leveled all tee boxes, including the driving range tee

  • Improved drainage and re-contoured fairways on holes 2 & 18, as well as other areas throughout the course

  • Rebuilt all bunkers, adding a new type of sand

  • Built ten new forward tee boxes

  • Re-decked two bridges

As players arrive to Osprey Point, they will be greeted by refreshed landscape around the Club House, new Fall merchandise in the Pro Shop and new Club Car golf cars in the staging area. On the course, although there were not wholesale changes to the lay-out, we did make subtle changes that should improve Osprey Point aesthetically as well as strategically.  With a bunker added here, removed there, and improved contours to a fairway or two, we anticipate players experiencing a much more enjoyable round of golf than they did before.

Once again, we thank you, and encourage you to come play and experience for yourself the new and improved Osprey Point Golf Club. We look forward to hearing your thoughts and impressions of the renovation.

 Here are a few of the changes you notice in addition to the improved playing conditions:

 

Redesigned practice green

Redesigned practice green without uncharacteristic big drop.

 

Bunkering changes on No. 7 with lower lip on big fairway bunker, additional bunker added to left and island and tree removed from greenside bunker.

Bunkering changes on No. 7 with lower lip on big fairway bunker, additional bunker added to left and island and tree removed from greenside bunker.

 

The bunker surrounding the greenside tree has been removed on the Par 5 No. 8

The bunker surrounding the greenside tree has been removed on the Par 5 No. 8

The crossbunker has been removed from No. 14 and bunkers on either side of the fairway have been added.

The crossbunker has been removed from No. 14 and bunkers on either side of the fairway have been added.

 

The elephants that were buried in the last 100 yards of the 18th fairway have been removed, giving players a better opportunity to go for this par 5 in two.

The elephants that were buried in the last 100 yards of the 18th fairway have been removed, giving players a better opportunity to go for this par 5 in two.

 

With all the changes to Osprey Point, many of the clubhouse residents seem unfazed.

With all the changes to Osprey Point, many of the clubhouse residents seem unfazed.

Osprey Point No. 3

Osprey Point is set to reopen!  After nearly five months of long days and hard work, the highly anticipated re-opening of Osprey Point Golf Club on Wednesday, October 1st is nearly upon us. Governor’s Club Members, Property Owners and Resort Guests alike have all been anxiously awaiting this day, but none more so than us.

 

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Ocean Course on golf or gourmet Ocean Room Steak on golf or gourmet

Golf or Gourmet this fall or winter!

Kiawah Island Golf Resort is offering special fall and winter “stay-and-play” or “stay-and-dine” packages from November 9 to February 27.  Kiawah’s “Golf or Gourmet Escape Packages” provides great deals for staying at the resort and either playing golf or dining in its award-winning restaurants with up to a 45% savings over peak season rates.

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The 17th green as of July 22nd

The 17th green as of July 22nd

This Spring, on May 1st, Osprey Point Golf Club closed for major renovations. Now, here we are 12 weeks later and most of the dust has settled from all the stripping, bull dozing, grading, digging, shaping and finally planting.  Now we’re watching grass grow!  (well, it’s a lot more involved than that…) On June 11th we planted the greens and by July 4th we planted the tees and fairways. As of July 25th, I’d estimate the greens to be about 95% covered and the fairways and tees about 50% covered. We have a long way to go, but the golf course is finally turning green again, a sight we all have been greatly anticipating. So at this stage we are quite literally watching the grass grow! Mother Nature has been very cooperative throughout this project. We only had one day lost to weather, and that includes the first hurricane threat of the season. Once the fairways and tees were planted we have received regular, afternoon thunderstorms. Although this created a few wash outs in the fairways, there wasn’t anything too extreme. And ultimately nothing beats natural rain water to help the grass grow.

 

We do have bunker work to finish up, along with numerous other projects to put the course back together and make it playable. Most of this will be finished by the end of August. As the days go by the Osprey Point Maintenance staff gets more and more back into their daily maintenance routine. For the next few months they will be in “Grow-In Mode”. This will consist of continued fertilizing, top-dressing and grooming to slowly get the playing surfaces to the pristine playing conditions we all enjoy so much. This time will also allow us to continue to freshen up the Club House and surrounding landscape.

 

Sprigging the Fairways

Sprigging the Fairways

 As of July Fourth, the Osprey Point renovation is right on schedule. For the past eight weeks, our crew has been working tirelessly stripping the old grass, grading fairways, shaping tees and fine tuning the irrigation system in preparation for the new Paspalum Platinum grass. This task has been coordinated with great precision to minimize the time between when the grass is harvested in Furman, SC (approx. 2 hrs. SW of Kiawah) until the moment it is planted on Osprey’s fairways. The sod farm harvests the sod before dawn in order to have the day’s first shipment at Osprey Point by 6:00AM. The crew immediately unloads the 18 rolls of sod from each semi-truck, finding a cool shady area for storage until they are needed by the sprigging crew. In total, we will have received well over 20 semi-truck loads of sod rolls to complete the fairways. From this point we feed the sod rolls to the sprigging machines almost non-stop. The rolls are placed in the machines, which feeds the sod into a shredder as it unrolls it. The shredded sod now becomes sprigs that are thrown onto the ground in front of the discs that cut them into the ground. Two sprigging crews work each fairway, up and down until every square foot is covered with fresh sprigs. Another crew follows behind them, cutting-in the fresh sprigs one more time before finally rolling them with a huge, water filled drum to smooth out the fairways.

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Fairway planted on No.  14

Fairway planted on the redesigned No. 14

 

Well, we have reached a very important milestone in the Osprey Point renovation. After a month and a half of stripping, grading, shaping and all manner of prepping, we finally have new grass planted! As of Wednesday, June 11th, all 19 of Osprey Point’s greens have been planted with Paspalum Platinum. As interesting as was to see how the greens were prepped for this process, it was even more interesting and exciting to see the process of planting the sprigs. In reality, a very low tech method is used. Much like spreading pine straw, workers take buckets full of sprigs and methodically drop them on the ground until the entire putting green is covered in an even layer of sprigs. Behind them comes a tractor with discs that cut the sprigs into the greens mix, ensuring good contact and coverage with sand.

Osprey-18 second shot 2

Well it’s been a few weeks since our last update.  Here’s our early june Osprey Point update: 

Rest assured the construction crew has been very busy since our last update. At this point the crew is putting the final touches on the greens before receiving sprigs late next week. All 18 greens have been floated-out, the final shaping of contours. This process ensures the greens mix is distributed consistently and ensures proper surface drainage so that water is not left standing on any part of the green. In simple terms, this returns the greens back to their original contours and shapes.

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