Kiawah Island feels different from most second-home golf destinations. Sure, there are world-class golf courses, and yes, there are fabulous homes and club facilities with every imaginable amenity. Then there’s the ocean, 10 miles of pristine beach, and nearby Charleston, with all its antebellum charm. What makes Kiawah Island stand out, though, is its feel of nature unspoiled.
The Kiawah Island Club may be strictly private, but there’s not a single stuffy feature to keep residents and their guests from fully enjoying their visits. There are about 4,400 single-family homes currently on club property with no multi-unit condos or time shares, which gives it the flavor of an extended upscale suburb.
That’s not to say the Kiawah Island Club is rustic or unsophisticated. Your first dinner at Voysey’s restaurant with a menu inspired by Gramercy Tavern’s Tom Colicchio will disabuse that notion immediately. The same happens when you enjoy a massage at Sasanqua, the club’s Clodagh-designed day spa.
But the outdoor life is the best amenity the Kiawah Island Club offers. The newest addition is the Kiawah Island Sporting Club, where gun enthusiasts can practice skeet, trap, and live-stand shooting. Another great amenity is the optional boat club, which provides members use of four sleek motorboats without the hassles of ownership.
The two golf courses at the Club are certifiably world-class and completely different from each other. The River Course, a Tom Fazio design that opened in 1995, is a water-and-tree-lined parkland challenge. Fazio routed it around Bass Pond and along the surprisingly picturesque Kiawah River, creating a 7,039-yard track with water in play on nearly every hole.
Cassique, a Tom Watson masterpiece, is a classic links reminiscent of the courses where the architect won five British Open championships. A multitude of moguls are molded into and along most fairways; blind shots are plentiful; bunkers are murderous; and the wind always seems to be hurting. At 6,960 yards from the tips, it’s imperative that you choose a tee commensurate with your true game, not your aspirations.
If and when you desire a change of golf venues, the public-play options at Kiawah are excellent. Leading the list is the Ocean Course, host to Ryder Cup and PGA Championships and one of Pete Dye’s finest creations.
Kiawah Island’s 10,000 acres and 45 miles of waterfront offer superbly livable homes and home sites. Cassique Clubhouse Village offers homes ranging from 2,700 to 3,800 sq ft, with prices from $1.8 million to $2.5 million. Another build-to-suit option is Eagle Island, where home sites start at just over $1 million.
A new Golf Learning Center for club members opens this spring along with several new golf cottages overlooking the Cassique course. Completely furnished down to the silverware and linens, the cottages are move-in ready at $1.8 million.