PGA Championship: Kiawah Island to be 7,876 yards and the longest golf course in major history

Distance will once again be a talking point this week at the PGA Championship, where those in the field will have to tackle the longest golf course in major championship history.

The Pete and Alice Dye-designed Ocean Course at Kiawah Island will measure a staggering 7,876 yards for the second men’s major of the year, some 200 yards longer than when the South Carolina venue last held the PGA Championship in 2012.

This week’s par-72 layout is some 135 yards longer than the previous record, held by Erin Hills during the 2017 US Open, with six of the holes – including two par-fours – measuring over 500 yards and three of the four par-threes being over 200 yards.

Golf’s governing bodies have frequently lengthened golf courses as players continue to increase their average hitting distances, although Sky Sports’ Mark Roe believes their is an element of risk involved when adding to a course’s yardage.

“The PGA of America will have to be very careful about how they set it up because at that sort of length and it being right alongside the Atlantic Ocean, if the wind picks up then it could be absolutely unplayable,” Roe told the Sky Sports Golf podcast.

“Pete Dye designed the golf course but his wife, Alice, had a lot to do with the suggestion that they lift both the fairways and the greens so you can always see the ocean. That’s why you have the greens set-up high and, when the wind blows, you can be going up one side and then find yourself down the other.

“We’ve had the Bryson DeChambeau story where he bulked up is now hitting the ball miles, but now a lot of younger players will look at this and wonder whether we’re going into an even bigger power-age than we were in before.

“They’re going to have to be careful because if the tide turns, or the wind gets up, then it’s going to be very tricky. I’ve never been a massive fan of golf courses stretching in length. It’s 7,876 yards, so some 200 yards longer than it was in 2012. You’d think, looking at the yardage now, it’s got to favour a massive hitter.”

How does Kiawah Island compare to some of the previous record-breaking courses? We take a closer look at some of the longest layouts in major history…

7,741 yards – Erin Hills Golf Course, Erin, Wisconsin – 2017 US Open

The monster that is Erin Hills bagged the record for the longest course in major championship history for the 2017 US Open which was won by Brooks Koepka.

Billed as a 7,741-yard par-72 – it was the first par-72 for a US Open since 1992 – the layout was extended to 7,845 yards for the opening round before being gradually reduced to 7,839, 7,818 and then 7,721 for the final round.

The four par-fives all extended over 600 yards on 11 of the 16 times they were played and were just under that distance on the other five occasions, with the 18th extended to 681 yards for the final round.

PGA Championship Preview Show

May 19, 2021, 8:00pm

Live on

Scoring still proved to be low, though, with Koepka winning with a score of 16 under, while Justin Thomas set the US Open record for the lowest score in relation to par with a nine-under 63 in the third round.

Despite its distance, the statistics showed the 18th to be the easiest hole of the week with a scoring average of 4.843, with the par-four third the hardest hole and the short par-three ninth the sixth hardest hole.

7,695 yards – Chambers Bay, University Place, Washington, 2015 US Open

Erin Hills took the record from Chambers Bay, which had staged the US Open two years earlier. Chambers Bay had only opened in June 2007 and its design was criticised as being unfair, while the bumpy greens also drew complaints.

The course, which was still only a par-70, was laid out differently for each round and played at its longest distance of 7,695 yards for the second round on the Friday, with the first hole extended to a 593-yard par-five from 501 yards the previous day and the 18th reduced to a 514-yard par-four from 617 yards on the Thursday – the only time those two holes were played that way.

Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson set the early pace with five-under 65s in the first round and there were still two 66s on the second day when the course played at its longest with the highest scoring average of the week – 73.48. The average reduced slightly to 73.13 but the conditions were tough for the third round with only six players under par and the field were tightly packed going into the final round.

After a dramatic finale it was Jordan Spieth who emerged as a one-shot winner from Johnson, who three-putted the last from 12 feet, and Louis Oosthuizen, who finished with rounds of 66, 66 and 67 after opening with a 77.

7,676 yards – Kiawah Island (Ocean Course), Kiawah Island, South Carolina – 2012 PGA Championship

Kiawah Island is this year reclaiming the record it held from 2012 to 2015 after a yardage of 7,676 yards for the 2012 PGA Championship.

PGA Champs Official Film 2012

May 22, 2021, 3:00am

Live on

The front nine on the par-72 Ocean Course measured 3,740 yards and the back nine 3,936 yards nine years ago, with the seventh (579), 11th (593) and 16th (581) all pushing 600 yards.

Conditions were good for the first round with Carl Pettersen’s six-under 66 leading the field on a day of low scoring, but strong winds made it much tougher for the second round when only Vijay Singh (69) broke 70.

A thunderstorm forced play to be suspended on the Saturday but one man was clearly not bothered by the conditions over the weekend and that was Rory McIlroy as he stormed to his second major victory with an eight-shot winning margin.

7,674 yards – Hazeltine National, Chaska, Minnesota – 2009 PGA Championship

Hazeltine National Golf Club measured 7,360 yards for the 2002 PGA Championship but it had been lengthened by 314 yards for the 2009 edition.

Tiger Woods blazed a trail for the first two rounds with scores of 67 and 70 putting him four clear at the halfway stage. Strong winds and uneven greens meant conditions were tough for the second round, with the cut coming at four over.

Woods’ lead was halved in the third round as defending champion Padraig Harrington and South Korea’s YE Yang closed in, but the American was still a strong favourite going into the final round.

However, Woods failed to win a major for the first time in his career after leading after 54 holes as he struggled to a 75 on the Sunday as Yang eased to a three-shot win.

7,603 yards – Torrey Pines GC (South Course), La Jolla, California – 2008 US Open

The length of the South Course at Torrey Pines, which is also set to stage this year’s US Open next month, makes the victory of Woods even more remarkable. Two of the par-fives measured over 600 yards, with the ninth coming in at 612 yards and the 13th at 614 yards.

Woods went into the tournament short of match practice after not playing since undergoing knee surgery following The Masters in April. He limped and winced his way around the lengthy course but still managed to force a play-off with fellow American Rocco Mediate.

That play-off took place over a further 18 holes on the Monday as Woods hobbled on for another 7,603 yards, but both players carded 71s, resulting in another sudden-death hole with Woods finally triumphing thanks to a par.

Two days later Woods was diagnosed with a double stress fracture to his left tibia, and also had surgery on an anterior cruciate ligament injury, taking the rest of the year off.

Watch the PGA Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports Golf! Live coverage begins with the opening round on Thursday May 20 from 1pm on Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event.

Source: Read Full Article