Par-4 no. 6 at Princeville's Prince Course
Kauai is a magical place. Lush in the extreme, less than 4 percent of the Garden Isle is developed. Sandy beaches tucked around the shimmering, turquoise Pacific Ocean, a vast array of after-golf activities and courses designed by some of the sports finest architects combine to make this a true golfers paradise.
At the heart of Kauai is three renowned resorts and six outstanding golf courses 'Princeville, Poipu Bay, Kaua'i Lagoons, Kiahuna and Puakea.
The destination has long been known to avid travelers and island aficionados for its beach ambiance and romantic setting ' site of many Hollywood films ' idyllic weather, and largely untouched natural beauty.
Many avid golf travelers are well aware that Kauai is home to some of the worlds greatest golf courses designed by marquee-name architects such as Jack Nicklaus and Robert Trent Jones Jr., and that its courses regularly garner best-of rankings from national media.
Take Poipu Bay Golf Course (www.poipubaygolf.com, 800.858.6300) for example.
Located at Kauais southern tip, Poipu Bay was recently rated by Golfworld magazines discerning readers as the No. 2 course in Hawaii ' perhaps Americas most acclaimed state for golf. It was also home to Tiger Woods and other major champions via the PGA Grand Slam of Golf from 1994-2006.
Poipu Bays signature hole is the 501-yard, par-4 16th, which poses a variety of challenges. A small lake and two fairway bunkers are positioned on the right; a sheer, red sea cliff drops to the ocean on the left; and a dogleg left is created by an ancient rock wall and heiau (ancient place of worship).
Along with the adjacent Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa ' a luxurious, amenity-rich resting place following golf ' Poipu Bay and the resort were rated No. 32 in Golf Digests 75 Best Golf Resorts in North America 2007-08.
Elite-level rankings are the norm for Princeville at Hanalei (www.princeville.com, 800-826-1105), which is esteemed by national ranking panelists. The Prince Course headlines the resorts 45 Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed golf holes and is Golf Digests No. 39 rated course in Americas 100 Greatest Golf Courses and the No. 1 rated course in the state.
Princeville Hotel is currently undergoing a multi-million-dollar renovation and will re-open under the St. Regis brand in 2009. Likewise, 18 of the 27 Makai Course holes at Princeville are being enhanced and also are scheduled to be unveiled in the upcoming golf season.
Kiahuna Golf Club (www.kiahunagolf.com, 808.742.9595) is another stellar design by Trent Jones Jr. It features outstanding Seashore Paspalum greens, and the course weaves around many ancient remnants of authentic Hawaiian culture.
Voted Kauais Best by the readers of The Garden Isle newspaper, Kiahuna is a 6,925-yard, par 70 with a rating of 73.5 and slope of 134. Its charming course-side restaurant and bar are the perfect setting to relax post-round, or enjoy lunch or dinner.
Puakea Golf Course (www.puakeagolf.com, 866.773.5554) plays around deep ravines and streams fed by fresh mountain rainwater. Located in Lihue conveniently near the islands primary airport, Puakea sits at the foot of Mount Haupu and is Kauais newest 18-hole course, enjoying its first full season in 2004.
Owned by AOL co-founder Steve Case, Puakea is adjacent to the lush site where Steven Spielberg filmed Jurassic Park. It is a standalone daily fee course which has been honored as one of the states best courses by both Golfweek Magazine in its Americas Best Courses You Can Play list and Golfworld in its 2009 Readers Choice awards.
Less than five minutes away from Puakea in Lihue is the soul-stirring Kauai Lagoons Golf Club (www.kauailagoonsgolf.com, 800.634.6400) and Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club. Rated by Travel + Leisure Golf Magazine this year as Hawaiis most underrated golf resort, currently 18 of 36 holes designed by Jack Nicklaus are in play consisting of the Maile nine (former Mokihana holes) and the Kiele nine (former Kiele front nine).
The back nine ocean holes of the Kiele Course are currently closed and in the process of receiving extensive upgrades, including the addition of one new ocean hole which will create a mile-long stretch of oceanfront golf. The planned ocean nine reopening is mid-2009, and Kiele Course, already judged by Golf Digest raters as one of Americas 100 Greatest Golf Courses, is poised to garner additional accolades as a result.
To complement its world-class golf and beaches, Kauai offers an abundant collection of after-golf activities for families, adventure-seekers, romantics, shoppers, naturalists, and those wishing to better experience Kauais authentic culture and island-made products.
For more information visit www.kauaidiscovery.com/activities/golfing/ or call 800-262-1400.