On Thursday, May 1, Osprey Point closed for the summer for major renovations. Since 1988, the Tom Fazio-designed Osprey Point has been a guest favorite on Kiawah Island. Using the natural beauty of the maritime forest on the eastern side of the island, it gracefully weaves its way around four natural fresh-water ponds to provide players of all levels challenging yet enjoyable rounds of golf. It has hosted numerous championships including the 2000 Eastern Regional PGA Club Professional Championship, and the Golf Digest magazine’s “Best Places to Play” give it a near perfect 4 ½ star rating.
However, in the over 25 years since the course opened, the natural environment has altered the course from its original design – through the years greens have reduced in sized limiting pin placements, winds have shifted bunkers, and the tees are no longer as level as what would be considered ideal. So, on May 1, under the directions of course architect Tom Fazio, the resort initiated major renovations to the Osprey Point Golf Course to return it to its original grandeur.
According to Fazio, while he won’t be making any major architectural changes to the course, guests will see vast improvements. “What we’re aiming for here is what Kiawah is known for – outstanding course conditions,” said Fazio. “The owners and management of the resort have a tradition of maintaining top-conditioned golf courses. Our efforts to increase tee space, detailing greens and renovating the bunkering will return the course to its original pristine condition.”
Using what was learned at The Ocean Course, all of Osprey Point’s greens, tees and fairways will be converted to Paspalum, the salt-tolerant strain of grass that is currently on The Ocean Course. The playing surface provided by Paspalum received high praise from both players and announcers during the PGA Championship.
According to Director of Golf, Brian Gerard, the teeing areas will be enlarged and laser-leveled giving more teeing options on each hole. Plus, all of the bunkering on the course will be reworked as part of the renovation. “Over the years, the winds common to Kiawah Island have reshaped many of the bunkers on the course, altering edges and mounding around the greens. That will be addressed. Additionally, the mounding on the last 100 yards or so of No. 18 will be softened.” said Gerard.
Head PGA Professional, Ric Ferguson, believes the work around the greens will be one of the most noticeable of the improvements. “Over the years the greens have lost between 25 and 30 percent in area. Restoring them to their original size will give us more pin position options.”
According to Ferguson, another task that will be accomplished is working on drainage on No. 2, No. 9 and No. 18. “In addition to some recontouring, sand will be added to the soil on those holes to allow for better drainage,” Ferguson explained. “Those holes will no longer have prolonged wet conditions after a rain.”
The newly renovated Osprey Point is scheduled to reopen in October, 2014. “Osprey Point has always been one of the favorite courses on the resort, offering both great scenery as well as an enjoyable round of golf,” said Gerard. “The improvements will greatly enhance both the aesthetics as well as the playing conditions of the course.”