The ‘Garden Isle’ is home to acclaimed golf and astounding beauty.
Close your eyes and imagine turquoise waves crashing. Waterfalls cascading down lush mountains. Sun-kissed breezes caressing the skin. This is Kauai – where no building can be taller than the tallest coconut tree. Combine the island’s stunning beaches, abundant flora, top resorts, and award-winning golf courses and you’ve got a special place.
Nicknamed the Garden Isle for its natural beauty, Kauai is the least commercially developed of the major Hawaiian Islands, as well as the oldest and northernmost of the archipelago. With temperatures averaging 80 degrees from October through February, Kauai provides year-round opportunities for outdoor activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking the Na Pali Coast and playing world class golf on five outstanding courses. These Golf Digest Best-In-State courses are authored by some of the sport’s greats, like Robert Trent Jones, Jr. and Jack Nicklaus. The unspoiled views that form their backdrops boast a blockbuster resume including Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean, Pacific Rim, Raiders of the Lost Ark and more.
Located on the North Shore of Kauai is Princeville Makai Golf Club. A Trent Jones, Jr. design, Princeville Makai has garnered countless honors for its excellence, including #65 on “America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses” by Golf Digest. Immaculate conditions and astounding views define the playing experience. The par-3 seventh hole plays across an ocean cove with Mount Makana – of mythical “Bali Hai” fame, featured in the classic film “South Pacific” – standing gorgeous sentinel across Hanalei Bay and stretching into the Pacific.
Winding its way through mango and guava groves to dramatic seaside cliffs, the Ocean Course at Hokuala has been called one of the world’s most beautiful courses. It’s little wonder that the list of accolades for this Jack Nicklaus Signature track is long, much like the string of holes that hug the sea. This continuous stretch of oceanfront golf is the longest in golf-rich Hawaii.
Wailea and Puakea golf courses are favorites among travelers and locals alike. These standalone daily fee courses are appreciated for their well-regarded layouts and value. Wailua has hosted three United States Golf Association championships and is recognized as one of the best municipal courses in America. Coconut trees and Pacific Ocean views proliferate at Wailua, which traces its origin back to the “Golden Age of Golf Course Architecture” (1900-1930). Puakea was devised by Robin Nelson, an underrated golf architect who designed or redesigned one-third of Hawaii’s roughly 95 courses. The course is built on more than 200 acres of historic property, which was once a sugar cane plantation.
Along the island’s southern shore lies Poipu Bay. This amenity of the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa recently earned the distinction “America’s Greatest Courses by State, 2017-18” from Golf Digest. Featuring dramatic topography on 210 acres and stunning ocean frontage, Poipu Bay’s finishing holes dramatically perch above the Pacific as they cascade to a rousing finish.
Travelers can choose from many island lodging options. Located on the verdant northern coast adjacent to Princeville Makai, the St Regis Princeville is a luxurious haven offering the perfect departure point for exploring the quaint communities of Kilauea and Hanalei. Uniquely situated on Kalapaki Bay, Kauai Marriott Resort is surrounded by lush, tropical rainforests where visitors can both surf and golf in one convenient location. Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa´s many amenities help guests enjoy their own beachfront retreat on the sands of Poipu.