40 Years Ago: Kiawah Island Golf Resort Opened
Forty years ago today — on May 3, 1976 — the Kiawah Island Resort opened for the first time. The resort featured the Kiawah Island Inn with its two swimming pools, two restaurants and a bar.
The Charleston Gallery was the more formal dining option at the resort, while the Jasmine Porch was a more casual atmosphere. After dinner, guests migrated up to the Topsider Lounge for cocktails.
For $45 a night, guests could stay in an oceanfront room. The first golf course on the island was not finished until August 1976. Gary Player was the design consultant for the Marsh Point Golf Course. He would return in 1996 to totally renovate the course which would reopen as Cougar Point in 1997.
The resort’s tennis complex contained nine courts – seven clay and hard “GrassTex” course, and a clubhouse. Pros Roscoe Tanner and our very own Roy Barth were there to give lessons. The resort was also building a small shopping center on the island called the Straw Market. The stores included a ladies’ boutique, a deli, a beauty shop and a liquor store.