Tom Fazio's design for the River Course at the private Kiawah Island Club transforms a level stretch of wetlands into a superb course that is a true test of golf. The site features abundant native flora and fauna, including the occasional alligator. Water hazards and plentiful bunkering guard the fairways and the tight approaches to the greens. There is some artificiality in places, but the more than half dozen lovely holes on the Kiawah River and Bass Pond make up for it. Don't let the beauty distract you, though, because with slopes ranging from 150 to 144 and ratings from 75.6 to 73.3 depending on the tees, the River has some real challenges. It also rewards repeated play with better scores and increased enjoyment. Maintenance from tee to green is top-notch, as is the service at the clubhouse, where one can enjoy a refreshing beverage with views of the last green.