PGA Championship Venue Kiawah Island Has No Bunkers

All of Kiawah Island's 30 acres of sand is classed as waste areas and not bunkers

Kiawah Island Has No Bunkers
(Image credit: Getty Images)

All of Kiawah Island's 30 acres of sand is classed as waste areas and not bunkers

PGA Championship Venue Kiawah Island Has No Bunkers

It's official, this week's PGA Championship venue, Kiawah Island's Ocean Course, has no bunkers.

To the delight of caddies and volunteers, no rakes will be needed as all of Kiawah's sandy areas are just that - 'sandy' or 'waste' areas.

This means that players will be allowed to ground their clubs, remove loose impediments and even make practice swings.

However, that doesn't mean that competitors will be allowed to improve their lies or conditions as per Rule 8, titled 'Course Played As It Is Found'.

There'll be no rulings like we saw in 2010 when Dustin Johnson missed out on the playoff at Whistling Straits after grounding his club on the 72nd hole.

The sandy waste areas at Whistling Straits in 2010 were classed as bunkers, which is why DJ was penalised.

However, at Kiawah they are not classed as bunkers and the official course report shows Kiawah Island's Ocean Course to have zero bunkers.

In total, 30 acres of the property at the Ocean Course is sand so we're sure to see plenty of players hitting out of them this week.

They've been classed as waste areas ever since the course's inception, with it being built for the 1991 Ryder Cup, known as the 'War on the Shore'.

The course is set on 2 1/2 miles of Atlantic coastline, with 10 holes being set on the Ocean.

It is the longest in Major history at a whopping 7,876 yards, although there will be some forward tees to help out players, especially with winds forecast.

The rough has also been left alone for a month and it's not expected to be cut during the week, therefore the players at the top of the PGA Championship leaderboard will likely be the ones who hit the most fairways.

Already this week we've heard Jon Rahm talk about moving tees forward to protect players' "sanity" and we also witnessed Ian Poulter hitting a driver into the par-3 17th hole.

Elliott Heath
Senior Staff Writer

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x