Poipu Bay Golf CourseQUICK GUIDE

The perfect island vacation for a golf trip: The courses of Kauai

By Brandon Tucker,
Senior Writer

KAUAI, Hawaii - Though it's only the fourth largest of the Hawaiian Islands, Kauai can make a case as the perfect island for a golf vacation.

It's home to only nine golf courses (a 10th is under construction), and the island is small enough, they're all within reach during one vacation. Each comes with their share of ocean holes with a dramatic, mountainous baackdrop.

Kauai golf at a glance

Prince Golf Course: The Prince Course is widely regarded as one of the best - and most challenging - golf courses in Hawaii. It's a stern, Robert Trent Jones Jr. design set on high land through rugged mountains just off the coastline, with holes six and seven weaving out to sea. Finding flat lies on these rolling fairways can be as difficult as finding par out here.

The Prince Course was rated No. 67 in Golf Digest's "America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses 2009-10" and rated the No. 1 course in Hawaii.

Princeville Makai Course - No. 7Princeville at Hanalei, Makai Course: The Makai is the original course at Princeville, built in 1971. It features more coastal holes than its more famous neighbor The Prince, including the signature par-3 seventh hole that plays over the ocean and "Queen's Bath," one of Kauai's most photographed.

The Makai is has been unergoing undergo renovations later that include adding length, a fourth set of tees, re-sodding and some architectural enhancements. The course is scheduled to open in January 2010.

Kauai Lagoons Golf Club: Kauai Lagoons was voted one of the "Top 50 Resort Courses" in the world by GolfWorld magazine readers. Currently 18 of 36 holes designed by Jack Nicklaus are in play consisting of six holes from the Mokihana Course and 12 holes from the Kiele Course. Included are the original Kiele 16th, 17th and 18th holes. The signature 16th hole - a short par 4 lined on the entire left side by an ocean bluff - requires a precise drive and approach and the 18th is a demanding par 4 playing to an island green.

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Poipu Bay Golf Course: Host to the PGA Grand Slam of Golf from 1994 through 2006, Poipu Bay features a championship Robert Trent Jones Jr. design set on stunning cliffs overlooking the ocean on Kauai's South Shore. Holes weave to and from the coastline before finishing in dramatic fashion along the coastline.

The golf course partners with the beautifully appointed 50-acre Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, within walking distance of the club.

Puakea Golf Course: Puakea has a unique history. It's first 10 holes were built in the early 1990s, but Hurricane Iniki came through in 1992 and destroyed much of the island, and lots of economic development was stalled. The full 18 wasn't completed until over a decade later. The original 10 holes are especially remarkable, set on beautiful, secluded land beneath the Kauai mountains that were the setting for "Jurassic Park." Golfweek Magazine has tabbed Puakea Golf Course the 13th best course in Hawaii.

Kiahuna Golf Club: Kiahuna lies just minutes from Poipu Bay on the South Shore and features a links-style layout with fast, firm fairways and greens playing just off the coast. Ancient stone walls separate several holes on this challenging Robert Trent Jones Jr. design, which has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years thanks to new ownership and improved course conditions.

Wailua Golf Course: Considered among Hawaii's best municipal courses, Wailua is a widely popular classic golf course right on the ocean. Its first nine holes were built in the 1930s. A second nine was added in 1961, and the course has played host to three USGA Amateur Public Links Championships. It's widely popular (and dirt cheap to play) with locals.

Kukuiolono Golf Course: Located about 15 minutes from Poipu Bay, Kukuiolono is a historic nine-hole golf course built in 1929 by a local sugar magnate. It's under 3,000 yards with wide fairways, making it a good option for beginners.

June 26, 2008

Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management. The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. All contact information, directions and prices should be confirmed directly with the golf course or resort before making reservations and/or travel plans.

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