The Best Golf Vacations on Kauai

Kauai is the least developed major island in Hawaii. The luxury golf vacations on this island are among the best in the world, with challenging courses and great views.

Each of the five major islands in Hawaii can be considered the “best” one, depending on tourists’ travel needs. This Luxury Resort Travel section has happily documented the many joys of Maui, as pertains to luxury and family travel activities. Now, let’s consider its neighbour at the west end of the Hawaiian island chain. Kauai isn’t as popular a vacation island as are Maui and Oahu, but it is a nature lover’s paradise (only 4% of the island has been developed) and, increasingly, a golfer’s paradise as well. Golf destination vacations in Hawaii are almost by definition scenic and luxurious.

Kauai is such a special, relatively rugged and untouched island, however, that it only makes sense that its few luxury resorts and golf courses are among the best in Hawaii.

The four best golf course destinations on Kauai:

Puakea Golf Course – Golf course architect Robin Nelson designed this course to be in accordance with the natural state of the island (if it looks familiar, that may be because Jurassic Park was filmed very near here). Nelson said that Puakea may be the most fun course to play in Hawaii. Each hole is different, wandering up and down natural ravines, with some of the best ocean views on the back nine. This golf course is Kauai’s newest championship 18-hole, par 72 golf course. The course is challenging to play; it’s been noted that a birdie can quickly change to a bogey if attention isn’t paid to the details of the fairway and greens. Kauai Lagoons Golf Club – With 36 holes designed by Jack Nicklaus, it’s not surprising that Kauai Lagoons ranks among Golf Digest’s “America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses.” Kauai Lagoons is part of the Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club, and the 36 holes are split into two full 18-hole courses, Kiele and Mokihana. Kiele is a par 72, challenging golf course, named a Gold Medal Course by Golf Magazine. The finishing hole is the best for golfers who relish a challenge: It is on an island green. The Mokihana course, also par 72, is slightly smaller and less expensive, with more open fairways and a pro shop on the premises. Both are walking distance from the Kauai Marriott Resort. However, there is a free shuttle service; no need to worry about the game tiring out anyone, even the most experienced golfer!

Poipu Bay Golf Course – This course is affiliated with the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa: Guests of the resort pay a reduced rate to play at this public course. Golf Digest ranked Poipu Bay as one of America’s 75 Greatest Golf Courses, and it’s easy to see why: The sheer beauty and challenging elevations of the Poipu Bay Golf Course was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. to be a championship course worthy of hosting the exclusive PGA Grand Slam professional golf tournament (1994-2006). Past players here include Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, Ben Crenshaw, Ernie Els and more. The luxury and excitement of playing a round of golf where these luminaries once played cannot be overstated. For a golfer, it really makes a vacation in Hawaii feel special.

Princeville Golf Courses – Rated number one in Hawaii, the Robert Trent Jr.- designed Prince Course at Princeville is the most challenging golf course many will ever experience. The 18-hole course traverses through jungles, waterfalls, ravines and ocean bluff plateaus (remember, Kauai is a mostly pristine, undeveloped island), equalling 400 acres in all. The Makai Course, also designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., is part of the Princeville golf resort complex as well. This is a 27-hole course, made of three topographically distinct 9-hole tracks; the Lakes, Woods, and Ocean. It’s best for golfers who want a long, scenic game that can easily be split into three shorter rounds of golf.

A golfer taking a luxury vacation in Hawaii is faced with many decisions. After all, both Maui and Kauai lend themselves to great golf amid natural beauty. Travel to Kauai, however, and the decision can be made to sample each of its best golf courses: The Kauai Golf Challenge and Kauai Ultimate Golf Challenge are cooperative programs among these award-winning golf courses, wherein guests can play one round of golf at each course, with use of a golf cart and other course amenities. Mahalo, and have a great vacation.