At long last: Makai Golf Club at St. Regis Princeville Resort on Kauai lands Top 100 spot
I guess Makai Golf Club at the St. Regis Princeville Resort isn’t the most under-respected golf course in Hawaii anymore.
Three years after an extensive redesign and upgrade of the golf course, Golf Digest has finally named Makai to its 2013-2014 Top 100 Public rankings. I’ll have to find a new course to add to my “Biggest snubs in the Top 100” list.
Having had the chance to see the Makai Course just prior to its 2008 closure for renovations and then again shortly after (and then again a year later), I thought a spot in a Top 100 list would be a slam dunk. Truth is, it probably could have been a Top 100 course years earlier. But back then, the facility operated its 27 holes as a three-nine combination that included a less spectacular Woods nine in the mix. During renovations, officials made the decision to make a signature 18-hole routing with oceanfront stretches on each side, while making the Woods Course a standalone, casual nine-hole play catering to walkers and families.
Apparently, owners of the next door Prince Course at Princeville were impressed with the revamp at Makai, because soon after it opened to rave reviews, Prince owners shut down their course to perform their own extensive renovations, which included brand new greens, widened playing corridors and rebuilt bunkers – not to mention a renovated clubhouse. The Prince can rejoice in its supremacy over Makai in Golf Digest with a No. 22 ranking.
Having said that, the Makai still has the Prince beat on GolfNow.com’s user ratings. Makai has a strong 4.7/5 while the Prince is a 4.5/5. It makes perfect sense to me why panelists favor Prince while regular Joes favor Makai by a nose. The Makai is a more mellow golf course, easily walkable and peaceful. It’s got championship-caliber difficultly but for average golfers its more of a hard par/easy bogey type of round. The Prince, while it has a one-of-a-kind setting and some remarkable hold designs, may be a little too penal for higher handicaps who may be intimidated by forced carries and lots of jungle.
But there aren’t many places in the U.S. where you can find side-by-side Top 100 golf courses that partner with a resort the caliber of the St. Regis Princeville Resort. It’s one of the finest island splurge properties anywhere. So it makes sense to stay awhile and play both North Shore courses a few times each.
|Coincidence? National Geographic's top two 'Literary Cities' are big-time golf destinations »|