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Officials Seek Permit to Save Golf Course From Beach Erosion

Wed October 26, 2005 - Southeast Edition
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KIAWAH ISLAND, SC (AP) Kiawah Island officials are seeking a permit to pour sand on the beach to help protect a green and fairway at the Ocean Course, the site of the 2012 PGA Championship.

The 18th green on the course was moved closer to the water as part of a $2.5-million course overhaul three years ago.

But town officials said it could be lost to erosion within a year if nothing is done to protect the beach. The stretch of beach off the course’s clubhouse has lost approximately 300 ft. of dunes since 1999, town officials estimate.

The 16th fairway and portions of the course’s driving range also are at risk.

“They are having a bad erosion problem at the Ocean Course,” said Bill Eiser, an oceanographer with South Carolina’s office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management.

The Pete Dye layout was the site of the 1991 Ryder Cup and will host the Senior PGA Championship in 2007.

Kiawah Island officials filed an application with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a permit to excavate 1 million cu. yds. of sand from an area on the east end of the island that has built up with sand during the past 15 years.

The sand would replenish an eroding 2.5-mi. stretch of beach to the west. A channel linking a newly formed lagoon to the sea also would be moved so it stops flushing water toward the golf course.

The cost of the project is estimated at as much as $3 million, most of which would be paid for by the town, said Kiawah Mayor Bill Wert.

Roger Warren, president of Kiawah Island Golf Resort, which owns the Ocean Course, said damage to the beach and dunes has not yet reached the fairways and greens.

“The golf course is as playable as it was a year ago,” said Warren, who also is president of the PGA of America.

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