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Could a hurricane eliminate Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course hosting the PGA Championship? Absolutely.


As Golfweek’s Adam Schupak wrote after the first 36 holes of the 103rd PGA Championship, “the winner so far has been the wind at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Resort.”

The parts, clearly, have an effect on the method the beautiful Pete and Alice Dye design performs. As you possibly can think about, geography performs a hand on this. Kiawah, which sits lower than an hour from close by Charleston, is on an uncovered piece of property surrounded by the winding Kiawah River, a portion of the Stono River and the Atlantic Ocean.

Before the Civil War, it was primarily generally known as a cattle farming area, though Kiawah later grew to become a logging hotspot. The first group of summer time properties wasn’t constructed till the mid-Nineteen Fifties and the island didn’t see its first golf course till 1976 when March Point Golf Course (since renamed Cougar Point) made its debut.

And whereas the land worth has skyrocketed in subsequent a long time — those that have bought properties in the space embody former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino, former governor Nikki Haley, skater Tara Lipinski and NBA star Ray Allen — the flat, sandy space is susceptible to reshaping and, in a worst-case situation, may very well be inclined to disaster.

A story in the Washington Post upfront of the PGA Championship highlighted simply how weak Kiawah is. Prior to his demise final 12 months, Dye stated he doubted the course will make it one other half-century. Others have insisted that timeline may very well be too beneficiant.

“If a Category 3 or 4 came in just south of here, there probably wouldn’t be much left,” George Frye, the former superintendent of The Ocean Course informed the Post. “It would be devastating.”

According to the state’s emergency management division, South Carolina is certainly one of the most weak states in the nation to be impacted by hurricanes and tropical storms. The best menace to life — and the golf programs — related to a hurricane and tropical storm is storm surge. Other results embody excessive winds, tornadoes, and inland flooding related to heavy rainfall that often accompanies these storms.

Is speak of a hurricane ripping by Kiawah merely a case of climatologists being overcautious?

Consider this: A complete of 82 hurricanes have been recorded in the Kiawah Island space since 1930, with the most up-to-date in 2014 when Arthur pounded the area with heavy rains. In reality, hurricanes have been a a part of The Ocean Course since its inception — Hurricane Hugo ravaged the area in 1989 and compelled a large reconstruction that made ending the monitor in time for the 1991 Ryder Cup a problem.

And though the historical probability of a hurricane making landfall in South Carolina is about 18 percent — in response to Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science, which has issued seasonal hurricane forecasts yearly since 1984 — the odds in 2020 have been bumped to 27 % resulting from rising ocean temperatures. The state was lucky that final 12 months fell on the proper aspect of the odds, however that gained’t all the time be the case. But ocean temperatures proceed to rise.

And hurricanes aren’t the solely concern that would probably form Kiawah’s future. Data gathered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, suggests sea levels here have risen as much as 0.8 feet since 1992. The rising seas, in response to scientists, are a results of melting polar ice and hotter oceans that take extra space.

Based on present local weather developments, NOAA estimates seas might rise as a lot as 1.85 ft by 2040 in comparison with 1992.

The finish consequence?

The unbelievable views from Kiawah’s wind-swept Ocean Course must be savored this week — knowledge signifies the course probably gained’t keep in its present type for too lengthy.

Related

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