Saturday, May 31, 2008
Hawaii's "Garden Isle" Is Pure Paradise
A glimpse at the best golf on the island of Kauai
Princeville at Hanalei
Wind or no wind, the Robert Trent Jones, Jr.-designed Prince Course at Princeville is one of the world’s most difficult courses. Carved out of some of the most rugged terrain on Kauai’s north coast, the Prince Course challenges golfers early and often. Players are frequently forced to lay up short of wide ravines on their drives and play long irons or fairway woods into well-guarded greens. It’s a toughie, bring your A-game.
Puakea Golf Course
Ground broke on this course in 1991 but was halted a year later when Hurricane Iniki devastated much of the island. The course (designed by Robin Nelson) finally opened in 1997, but financial troubles limited it to 10 holes. That’s when AOL founder and Hawaii native Steve Case bought the property, asked Nelson to add eight holes and opened it for play in 2003. Although Puakea doesn’t border the ocean, there are great ocean views from the 11th tee. And its signature hole, the par-3 sixth, drops 75 feet from tee to green over a large ravine. Still, Puakea ranks as Kauai’s most player-friendly course.
Movie buffs might recognize the 14th and 15th holes, even if they’ve never been there. Those two fairways were used to film portions of Jurassic Park. Like Kauai Lagoons, Puakea is just minutes from Lihue Airport.
Out Of Bounds
Go shopping in Old Koloa Town, Hawaii’s oldest sugar plantation; snorkel just off shore at Kee Beach and Haena Beach Park or off Nukumoi Point at Poipu Beach Park; explore the sea on any number of SCUBA outings; hover close to one of Kauai’s many waterfalls on a helicopter tour; kayak on the Wailua or Huleia Rivers or the Poipu to Port Allen ocean course; get pampered at any one of Kauai’s spas; mountain bike on cane road between Kealia Beach and Anahola. www.kauaidiscovery.com.
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