'On a steady climb'

All 18 holes of Kiawah Island Golf Resort's Ocean Course have views of the Atlantic Ocean. Mic Smith/File

The Ocean Course continues to shine in the national golf spotlight.

The February 2015 issue of Golf Digest magazine ranks America's 100 Greatest Courses and America's 100 Greatest Public Courses, and the crown jewel of Kiawah Island Golf Resort is prominent on both lists, No. 3 in the public course rankings and No. 20 overall.

"We are certainly excited to have the Ocean Course move into the top 20 and just as pleased to move into the top three in public courses," said Brian Gerard, director of golf for the resort's five courses.

"We have been on a steady climb and our goal is to continue to improve the experience when people play here. It is a challenge, but it also has to be the goal."

The Ocean Course, designed by Pete Dye, opened in 1991 with the playing of the Ryder Cup Matches known as the War by the Shore. All 18 holes have views of the Atlantic with 10 playing adjacent to the ocean.

The Ocean Course has been the site of numerous international competitions. Most recently it hosted the 2012 PGA Championship won by Rory McIlroy and the resort has made it known it would be interested in hosting another PGA Championship. Sites already have been determined for PGA Championships through 2020.

Yeamans Hall Club in Hanahan also made America's Greatest list for the first time. The private Seth Raynor-designed course that opened in 1926 came in a No. 64 overall.

Augusta National was No. 1 in the overall rankings, climbing back ahead of Pine Valley in New Jersey.

The public course rankings were led by Pebble Beach in California, Pacific Dunes in Oregon, the Ocean Course, Whistling Straits in Wisconsin and Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina.

Four other South Carolina courses made the public rankings. Harbour Town on Hilton Head Island, designed by Dye and Jack Nicklaus, slipped one spot to No. 19. May River at Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton is No. 37. The Dunes Club in Myrtle Beach is No. 50. Caledonia at Pawleys Island, designed by the late Mike Strantz of Mount Pleasant, moved up 24 spots to No. 73. Strantz's Tobacco Road in Sanford, N.C., was ranked No. 71.

The magazine also listed its second 100 of America's Greatest, with Harbour Town slipping from No. 96 overall to 106. Sage Valley in Graniteville is No. 107 and Kiawah Island Club's Cassique course is No. 117.