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Kauai golf courses give travelers a win-win Hawaiian vacation

William K. WolfrumBy William K. Wolfrum,
Puakea Golf Club - Kauai, Hawaii
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Kauai's Puakea Golf Clubs is the newest, and one of the most eclectic golf courses in all of Hawaii. (Courtesy PuakeaGolf.com)

For many around the globe, Hawaii sits as a beacon of golf vacation possibilities. Rich, tropical beaches combine with a visitor-friendly culture and more activities on and off the golf course than you could ever consider cramming into one trip.

But while Hawaii's golf scene is vast, for golf travelers looking to get the most golf out of their Hawaiian vacation, the island of choice is often Kauai.

This is an island that will capture your imagination with its lush setting, tropical beaches, and more importantly, some of the most well-respected golf courses on the planet. So when you decide on going to Kauai, another decision awaits -- which golf courses should you include in a Hawaii golf package?

Let's face it, choosing the right golf course in Kauai is a win-win proposition. This is an island that saw several of its golf courses honored by both Conde Nast Traveler readers as among the top-100 of 2007, and Golf Digest, after all.

"When the people who spent their hard-earned dollars and time to visit our golf courses and resorts respond with such feedback it let's us know we have a great asset," says Sue Kanoho of the Kauai Visitors Bureau.

Here's a look at some award-winning Kauai golf courses.

Kauai's top golf courses

The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa is no stranger to accolades, as this "Hawaiian classic" resort will have you experiencing all this majestic island has to offer. Glorious, white-sand beaches, lagoons, outstanding accommodations, reviving treatment at the spa all encapsulate what the Grand Hyatt has to offer. And the attention to quality and opulence continues at the adjacent golf course.

Poipu Bay Golf Course presents players with a Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed course that has consistently left players satisfied and mesmerized by its beauty. Just how well respected is this unbelievably scenic run? Well, the PGA Tour thought enough of it to have it host the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, open only to the winners of that season's four Major championships, from 1994 to 2006. Located on the south shore of the island, the green fees are expensive, but keep an eye out - deals are always available.

Get more Trent Jones Jr. goodness at Princeville Resort. If you're a fan of golf in Hawaii, and particularly on Kauai, you know all about the Prince golf course. This scenic run if the perfect combination of golf course and nature, as Trent Jones Jr. has put together a masterpiece that still leaves duffers stunned after nearly 20 years by its beauty - and its 145 slope rating.

"It has consistently been named the No. 1 course in Hawaii by Golf Digest - mainly because of its spectacular layout and its location along the rugged coastline of the North shore, which offers views of Hanalei Bay that will absolutely take your breath away," wrote Jennifer Mario about the course.

Kauai Lagoons Golf Club, part of the Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club, showcases two courses that show off what makes golf in Hawaii so special - Jack Nicklaus courses with an abundance of scenic ocean holes. And while the Kiele course will challenge low handicappers, the Mokihana course features a more player-friendly atmosphere.

"The lush, 750-acre resort, secluded on gorgeous Kalapaka Bay, emanates a romantic tropical ambiance that has led to its placement on Golf Magazine's list of Gold Medal golf resorts since 1998," wrote Mario.

Puakea Golf Club is another Kauai course that draws acclaim for its scenery and playability. It's also an experience all its own. Built on a former sugar plantation, this run is owned by AOL co-founder Steve Case and is adjacent to where Steven Spielberg filmed "Jurassic Park." And the golf at this 6900-yard par-72 run has kept it one of Kauai's biggest draws.

In fact, these courses show travelers that Kauai has come a long way in the world of golf. And the accolades that keep pouring prove this is a Hawaiian Island with golf courses ready to dazzle travelers.

William K. Wolfrum keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation. You can follow him on Twitter @Wolfrum.

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