There’s no secret to Kauai’s spectacular golf offerings. Take the island’s lush beauty—it isn’t called the Garden Isle for nothing—and add challenging courses designed by some of the sport’s finest architects. It’s a winning combination that adds up to a true golfer’s paradise.
Poipu Resort, located at Kauai’s southern tip, is home to the Poipu Bay Golf Course, rated by Golf Magazine as one of the top 18 courses in America. The championship course is nestled along the contours of scenic Poipu Bay. The signature hole here 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 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).
Poipu Bay Golf Course has been the home of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf since 1994. This prestigious event brings together the winners of the year’s four major PGA tournaments—the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship—for two days of thrilling golf competition.
Kiahuna Golf Club
In nearby Koloa is the Kiahuna Golf Club, a 6,400-yard, par-70 course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. Kiahuna is suitable for golfers of all skill levels, with an abundance of water hazards and the ever-present trade winds making for challenging play.
The Puakea Golf Course plays around deep ravines and streams fed by fresh mountain rainwater. Set at the foot of Mount Haupu in Lihue, Puakea is one of Hawaii’s newest courses. Designed as an 18-hole course, it actually opened over a decade ago as a 9-hole course after a snag in its development. But architect Robin Nelson finally got the green light to complete the project, and the full 18-hole course made its official debut in 2004.
Kauai Lagoons Golf Club in Lihue features two 18-hole courses. The Kiele course weaves along imposing ocean cliffs, lush valleys and 40 acres of freshwater lagoons. The course is demanding and requires several shots over ravines. The Mokihana Course is a Scottish-style links course that offers open fairways and well-guarded greens.
On Kauai’s North Shore, the luxurious Princeville Resort also offers a pair of courses. Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., the Prince Course has been rated as the top course in Hawaii by Golf Digest. The Makai Course is considered three courses in one, with the Ocean Nine being closest to the ocean; the Lakes Nine winding around serene lakes; and the Woods Nine cutting through native woodlands.