Guide to Golf Courses on Kauai
Kauai is known as the Garden Island, and it’s easy to see why. The island is home to seven different microclimates, from almost impenetrable tropical rainforest along the north shore to the arid west coast plains. This ecological diversity makes golfing on the Garden Island a spectacular experience. Here’s a guide to the six golf courses on Kauai.
The Ocean Course at Hokuala
The only Jack Nicklaus course on Kauai, The Ocean Course at Hokuala moves through mango and guava forests to the edge of the Pacific, with the finishing green in the middle of a 40-acre freshwater lagoon. Watch for nene (Hawaiian geese), the Hawaiian Moorhen, and night herons around the water features, and keep an eye out on the ocean for whales if you’re golfing during the winter months.
Ranked as Hawaii’s Best Golf Course by World Golf Awards, Hokuala is only a 15-minute drive from the Aston Islander on the Beach and conveniently located next to Lihue, the island’s county seat.
Puakea Golf Course
Located next to the Kukui Grove Shopping Center in Lihue, Puakea Golf Course is the island’s newest golf course, with 18 holes. If views of Mount Haupu and the surrounding landscape looks familiar, that’s because it was used as a location in Jurassic Park. Fortunately, you won’t need to watch for velociraptors, just the occasional nene. The course itself offers beautiful cliffs and ocean views and is only a 30-minute drive from both the Aston at Poipu Kai and the Aston Islander on the Beach.
The Princeville Makai Golf Club is the only golf course on Kauai’s north shore. Ranked as one of the Top 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses in American by Golf Digest, the Princeville Makai has six oceanfront holes and sits on a plateau overlooking the Pacific and Hanalei Bay, Princeville. It takes about an hour’s drive to reach the golf course from the Aston at Poipu Kai, and 40 minutes from the Aston Islander on the Beach.
Poipu Bay Golf Course
Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., the Poipu Bay Golf Course in Koloa is an 18-hole award-winning course whose freeways are dotted with ancient stone walls and the remains of Hawaiian heiau, or places of worship. As you play along the oceanfront fairways you might see whales, green sea turtles, or even the rare Hawaiian Monk Seal, all in the shadow of towering emerald mountains.
If you stay in Poipu, the Poipu Bay Golf Course is at most a 5-minute drive away. Visitors who stay in Kapaa and Wailua can be on the greens after a 40-minute drive (Kauai’s a small island — everything’s close to hand!).
Wailua Golf Course
Originally designed as a 9-hole course in the 1930s, today the Wailua Golf Course is an 18-hole course voted one of Hawaii’s best 15 golf courses by Golf Digest. Located on the island’s east coast just south of Lydgate State Park, the oceanfront holes offer a view of the often choppy, unpredictable east coast waves. This par 4, 456-yard course is only an 8-minute drive from Kapaa, and a 30-minute drive from Poipu, making accessing the greens easy.
Kiahuna Golf Club
Like the Poipu Bay Golf Course, the Kiahuna Golf Club in Poipu was designed by legendary golf architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. Jones incorporated the remains of an ancient Hawaiian village into the course without compromising the village’s historical and cultural importance. With 18 holes, par 70, and 6,925 yards of freeways, the Kiahuna Golf Club is challenging enough for experienced golfers while still providing beginners with an enjoyable experience.