Paradise Unveiled: Unforgettable Golf Escapes On Kauai, The Garden Island
Lush with white sands, tropical flora and fauna, rainforests, and rough mountainous terrain, Kauai offers a wide variety of accommodations and world-class golf in an idyllic Hawaiian island setting, as good as nature can offer.
From the abundantly lush Makai course up north in Princeville to the affordable and the very popular municipal course heading southeast at Wailua as well layouts like Poipu Bay and Hokuala in the south, what these magnificent resort courses as well as affordable independent courses both offer are picturesque challenges where the rough is often lined with lava rocks while mountain ranges loom and ocean views frame the greens.
Opened in 1971 as the first solo effort on Kauai by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. and completely renovated in 2009 (adding Seashore Paspalum turf grass on all fairways and greens), Makai winds its way around serene lakes, native woodlands and the spectacular coastline with views of Bali Hai and Hanalei Bay. The course plays to a par-72 with four different sets of tees that can be stretched to more than 7,200 yards from the tips. and includes six stunning oceanfront holes. The signature 7th hole plays to 213 yards from the back tees. It consists of a challenging tee shot over scenic cliffs, onto to a green which is surrounded by brilliant white bunkers and surreal views of the mountains and Pacific Ocean. Build up some space ahead of the next foursome because you’ll want a few photos of this beautiful setting.
Speaking of beautiful settings, just down the street offering expansive panoramic views of Hanalei Bay is the magnificent 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay. With its open-air structure, the design seamlessly blends and embraces the local foliage, brilliant daylight, and layered material textures. The thoughtful inclusion of meandering water features transports each guest to a place of solace and serenity upon arrival, evoking a calming pace and focus on the picturesque surroundings. At the same time, the resort offers a wide range of activities including an extensive fitness center, wellness spa and can set you up for just about any water activity you can conjure up. And to fuel those experiences, under the watchful eye of executive chef Mel Fogata, there are several dining establishments that feature both local entrees as well as a special Japanese restaurant.
Then as you leave the Hanalei/Princeville area and head south along the east coast, make sure to take a break and enjoy the unique views offered by a leisurely bike ride along the coast in the town of Kapa’a called Ke Ala Hele Makalae” (the path that goes by the coast) then relax on the beach taking in the waves and cool off by enjoying a blue raspberry, lemon and mango shaved ice.
The south end of Kauai is where most of the golf and resort options abound.
While Kauai has the most miles (111) of beach per mile of coastline of any island, some of the most pristine are located on the property of the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa which is appropriately named as this resort is massive. Located on Poipu Beach, this is an oasis with lush gardens and many pools and its 50 acres are designed to maximize ocean views, both for dining and rooms.
It is also well-located for guest visits to popular attractions.
“Being on the south shore makes us centrally located on the island for day trips to the Westside – Waimea Canyon, Kokee State Park or to head up to the North Shore. The National Tropical Botanical Gardens is just down the road and an amazing place to visit, across the road from there is Spouting Horn, a seawater geyser,” said Diann Hartman, Director of Marketing Communications at Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa. “There’s lots of golf to be found, including our own Poipu Bay Golf Course.”
Backed by lush emerald mountains and sculpted from a rolling plateau eight stories above the Pacific Ocean, Poipu Bay Golf Course boasts 18 championship holes with seashore paspalum greens that are as visually stunning as they are challenging. Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., Poipu Bay meanders along a rugged coastline and features 85 bunkers, five water hazards and wildly varying trade winds, all of which combine to make the course one of the most intriguing and spectacular golf experiences in America.
Just a few minutes drive away is the par-70, 6885-yard Kiahuna Golf Club which features ancient remnants of a Polynesian village that was carefully integrated into Robert Trent Jones Jr’s design. Thus, players will encounter unusual obstacles such as lava walls and stone structures.
Set at the base of Mount Ha’upu, the Puakea golf course at just under 7,000 yards, offers splendid views of the Pacific and is built amid volcanic cliffs, gargantuan sinkholes and ravines all within a very lush setting.