Jack Nicklaus consults on Turtle Point Renovation

Jack Nicklaus discusses potential changes to Turtle Point to resort president, Roger Warren and reps. of Nicklaus Design and superintendent Steve Agazzi
Jack Nicklaus at Turtle Point

The Jack Nicklaus-designed Turtle Point Golf Course on Kiawah Island Golf Resort closed on January 4, 2016 for a nine-month renovation. The Nicklaus Design team is to consult on Turtle Point renovations. Jack Nicklaus surveyed the course in late October with other members of Nicklaus Design and made recommendations for changes.

According to Brian Gerard, Kiawah’s Director of Golf, in addition to the design changes the tees, fairways and greens will be converted to Paspalum, the salt-tolerant strain of grass that is currently on The Ocean Course, Osprey Point and Oak Point on Kiawah Island Golf Resort. Nicklaus has prepared plans for rebuilding all 18 greens including moving five greens due to shade issues and to expand fairway sizes from 20 acres to 34 acres.

“We’ll be adding new tees on multiple holes and raising a number of the tee boxes,” said Gerard.  “Additionally, we plan to add a pond to the par-3 seventh hole and expand the pond on the par-5 second hole and move the green to the right behind it to change the second and third shot into that green.” he said.

Nicklaus sketches potential changes to No. 2 on Turtle Point
Nicklaus sketches potential changes to No. 2 on Turtle Point

“One of the most exciting changes will be on the oceanfront sixteenth hole.  On this par-3, the tee box will be moved away from the dunes so the player will be hitting his tee shot with the Atlantic Ocean in the background.”  In addition to the course design changes, crews will work around the ponds and wooded areas of the course reclaiming overgrowth, the entire irrigation system on the golf course will be rebuilt and work will be done on the maintenance building and a new pump house will be built.

According to Roger Warren, President of Kiawah Island Golf Resort, “The goal is to both improve the conditioning of the golf course and make the experience more fun. When we get done people will be excited because it will feel like a totally new golf course.”

During the renovation, the golf school, which is located at the Tommy Cuthbert Golf Learning Center adjacent to Turtle Point’s driving range, will be held at other resort courses. Tomasso, Turtle Point’s Italian restaurant, and the pro shop will remain open throughout the renovation.

Turtle Point’s renovation is scheduled to be completed in October in time for the fall golf season. It is part of an on-going effort to provide guests with the finest golf experience of any resort.  Prior to the 2012 PGA, Pete Dye returned to The Ocean Course and made a number of course changes to both facilitate crowd movement during the tournament and to improve playability of the course.  In 2014, under the consultation of course designer Tom Fazio, Osprey Point underwent a top-to-bottom renovation followed by Oak Point in 2015.