Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cassique: Better Than Its Sister Course?

While at Kiawah last week, we finally got the opportunity to play Cassique, the island's newest--but private--golf course. (It was closed for maintenance during our 2007 vacation to the island.) Cassique has managed to eke into the Golf Digest 100 greatest courses in the U.S. for 2007-08, at number 98.
[See our separate post on whether mosquitoes will spoil the party when Kiawah hosts the 2012 PGA tournament at the Ocean Course.]

One question: is Cassique, designed by Tom Watson, really better than the island's other private course, the River Course, designed by Tom Fazio? (The River Course is not ranked.)

We played the River Course last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. We also thoroughly enjoyed Cassique, which takes up pretty much all of its own little island just outside the Kiawah main entrance. Cassique has some spectacular holes, including a grand par five that runs along the marsh, and a par three with tees at the highest elevation in all of Charleston County (that's not saying much, but with enough bulldozer power you can create a decent sized hill).

The consensus in our group, mirrored by some members of the Island Club we talked to (and begrudgingly conceded by our caddies) was that the River Course is tougher than Cassique. But after that, it's all a matter of opinion as to whether you like one more than the other. We're not saying Cassique doesn't belong in the Top 100; instead, we think the River Course should be there too.

We might add that the staff at Cassique was friendly and professional (as at the River Course) and that our caddies were knowledgable and experienced. (You can take a cart at Cassique, but you shouldn't--it's a terrific course to walk.)

Our conclusion: members of the private Kiawah Island Club (which owns both courses) are lucky dudes, with two fantastic courses to play. When we thanked our Washington-bound host for letting us play Cassique, he expressed only jealousy that it would be another 10 days before he could enjoy the similar pleasure!

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