The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island is a prime spot, and if you want to play it you'll pay prime money -- $360 in peak season. But if you're flexible on your schedule, you can score a heavily discounted rate and enjoy a night in the five-star Sanctuary Hotel or one of Kiawah's ultra-private villas.
The Champions Choice package offers a nightly room rate of $400 for the Sanctuary and $300 for a villa and includes either two rounds on the Ocean Course or one round and dinner for two at any of the resort's restaurants. It's available from Nov. 9 to February 27, and is an almost 50 percent discount from the regular rate. If you've been previously beaten up by the big course and decide to take it easy, you can get the same package paired with any of the resort's other four courses for $300/$200.
November and December are lovely in the Charleston-Kiawah Island area, with highs in the upper 60s and nighttime temperatures in the low 50s. Even February is playable, although you'll need a case of Chapstick to deal with the wind burn.
Our advice? Pick the golf and spend your dinner dollars in Charleston, which has the best collection of new and exciting restaurants in the South -- from fine dining to barbecue. Old Charleston is compact and walkable, and you can find a five-star experience every night of the week. The best might be McCrady's, situated in a circa-1778 tavern building that once hosted a 30-course dinner for George Washington. James Beard Award-winning chef Sean Brock produces a four-course fixed-price menu that changes daily and includes selections anchored by locally-sourced meat, fish and vegetables. Go and roll the dice and take a happy risk.