The American Express

La Quinta, Calif.


Course Rankings

Kiawah Island Club (Cassique)

May 03, 2021

Courtesy of Evan Schiller

150. Kiawah Island Club (Cassique)

Tom Watson & Bob Gibbons (2000)

Kiawah Island Club’s Cassique Course (pronounced Kah-seek) was created by Hall-of-Famer Tom Watson and his crew from old farm fields along the tidal marshes of the Kiawah River. As a five-time Champion Golfer of Year, Watson wanted his design to demand the “touch, feel and imagination” of links-style golf, so he framed most holes with choppy faux dunes, rumpled the fairways and installed some of his favorite links features: a burn a la Turnberry, Carnoustie-inspired Spectacles and a Hell Bunker from St. Andrews. With the front nine in open land and the back nine among trees, Cassique poses bump-and-run opportunities everywhere, and even has a couple of blind shots.

100 Greatest/Second 100 Greatest history: Ranked on America's 100 Greatest, 2007 through 2010. Ranked on America's Second 100 Greatest: 2013 to current. Highest ranking: No. 85, 2009-2010. Previous ranking: No. 148.

Watch Golf Digest’s latest “Every Hole At” course videos below:

Panelist comments, Kiawah Island Club (Cassique):

"Simply said: Cassique is an outstanding golf course. The front and back nines are a study in contrast: The front nine is much like a British Isles links course and back nine more lowcountry feel. Wonderful shot options, strong green complexes—and no weak holes."

"One of Tom Watson's best efforts. A very playable course, highlighted by a unique combo par 4/par 3 that on alternative days play to different greens."

"Mounds look fairly natural. Tribute to Carnoustie "Spectacles" and Ballybunion are nicely woven in. Tremendous green complexes with plethora of interesting and shot-changing pin positions available. Massive false fronts (#9). Great teeing options (#7) completely changes things."

"The course blends seamlessly with the low country marsh and provides some spectacular views on the finishing holes. Multiple blind tee shots and approach shots early in the round seemed excessive. Would have liked to seen these spread out a bit more on the golf course."

"The design variety and shot values of Cassique are pretty good/high in that you could play the golf course a 100 times and play it differently each time. It doesn't emphasize power, finesse, or accuracy more than the other however a good combination of all three would allow for a pretty low score."