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Film legends take on Kiawah Island

Film legends take on Kiawah Island "The Legend of Bagger Vance", a new film just released in the United States which is directed by Robert Redford and stars Will Smith and Matt Damon, looks destined to provide a new lease of life to the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island in South Carolina - infamous venue of the 'war on the shore' Ryder Cup in 1991.

From the moment Redford clapped eyes on the morning fog off the Atlantic Ocean which clings eerily to the greens, the vicious gusts that blow drives into swamps and putts off line, and the alligators skimming the marshes seeking egrets and Titleists, he knew that Kiawah Island was the setting he was looking for.

The story, based on the Steven Pressfield bestseller, is of black caddie Bagger Vance who professes to have the secret of the perfect swing. He advises Rannulph Junah, a white war hero who finds himself matched against golfing greats Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen in a two-round exhibition. Vance is played by Smith and Junah by Damon.

Since the Ryder Cup, the Pete Dye-designed course, where green fees are currently $225 (almost 160) and around 37,000 rounds are played each year, has staged a Shell's Wonderful World of Golf match between LPGA stars Annika Sorenstam and Dottie Pepper in 1996 and, a year later, the World Cup of Golf which was won by Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley, representing Ireland.

For the film, though, Kiawah Island needed a little cosmetic surgery with Tom Simpson, who shaped the greens for the original course, helping to design a temporary $200,000 closing hole.

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