Grand scenery helps make Kauai a golf paradise

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Like everyone else who visits Kauai, golfers marvel at the grand-scale beauty of this westernmost island of the main Hawaiian Islands. Kauai's eight courses present golfers with challenging and memorable play in a setting between mountains and sea.  

Each of Kauai's three resort areas -- the south coast, at Poipu; the east coast, centered on Kapaa and Lihue; and the North Shore, around Princeville -- is home to courses that participate in packages for visitors who want to play more than one course. 

Multicourse packages offer significant savings on greens fees that typically run $175 or more. Resort courses usually knock about 20% to 30% off greens fees for their own hotel guests. Also, afternoon play presents an opportunity for serious discounts.

Here's a look at some of the options golfers have on Kauai. 

Princeville Resort 

It's tough to top the Princeville Resort when it comes to a magnificent setting. The resort is located on an oceanside rise overlooking the Pacific and lushly green, sawtooth mountains. Princeville's Makai Course has three nine-hole courses: Ocean, Lakes and Woods. The 18-hole Prince Course, considered Princeville's best, is also its priciest at $200 per round.

All of the courses were designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., with bunkers strategically placed on the courses' rolling hills. The Makai Course offers long fairways interspersed with trees and challenging landscapes plus a sometimes-strong wind.

Eighteen holes on the Makai Course runs $175, or $95 after 1:30 p.m.; the fee is $140 for Princeville Resort guests during prime time.

The Prince Course was named Hawaii's best golf course for 2007-2008 by Golf Digest magazine. The greens fee is $195, $135 for resort guests and $120 for all players after noon.

Poipu area

Strong winds and long, narrow fairways provide the challenge at the Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed Poipu Bay Resort Golf Course, which hosted the PGA Grand Slam of Golf from 1994 to 2006. Overlooking the Grand Hyatt Kauai and the colorful waters off the island's sunny south coast, the course has memorable views. The four closing holes play atop a 150-foot sea cliff.

The greens fee is $200 before noon and $125 after, and $135/$110 for guests at select Poipu-area resorts. 

Poipu's second option, the Kiahuna Golf Club, also was designed by Jones. He interrupted flatland play with liberal use of water hazards. The greens fee is $110, $75 after 3 p.m.

Kauai Lagoons  

Two Jack Nicklaus-designed courses, the Kiele and the Mokihana at the Kauai Lagoons Golf Club, are adjacent to the Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club.

The Kiele is the championship course, offering oceanside play. Nicklaus is redesigning the Kiele so that five consecutive holes offer oceanfront play. The Mokihana, a Scottish-style links course, lies alongside the resort's man-made lagoons.

Kiele is priced at $195 in the morning, $130 after noon, $140/$120 for Marriott guests. Mokihana is $120, $79 after 11 a.m.; Marriott guests pay $80 before 11 a.m., and $60 after. 

Private, public courses

Kauai's newest course, owned by AOL founder Steve Case and designed by Robert Nelson, is situated just outside Lihue with the beautiful Hoary Head Mountains as a backdrop. Greens fees are $99 before 11 a.m., $79 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and $59 after 2 p.m.

The Wailua Municipal Course offers oceanside play amid tall palm and flowering plumeria trees. A round costs $32 on a weekday, $44 on weekends. 

Golfer specials   

Guests staying at least three nights at the Outrigger Kiahuna Plantation condominium at Poipu enjoy two free rounds of golf at the Kiahuna Golf Club. The Room and Golf package is available through Oct. 31 at a starting rate of $179 per night.

The Kiahuna course also offers visitors booked for longer stays the chance to sign up for seven days of play (not consecutive). A one-time $700 initiation fee and a $150 annual fee covers seven days of play for two at a cost of about $60 per round. 

Deals abound for late risers, as well. After 3 p.m., Princeville's Prince Course offers three-and-a-half hours of play at a twilight rate of $65. A nine-hole rate at the Makai Course is available starting at 4 p.m. and is priced at $50. Puakea has a $59 price for play after 2 p.m.

For more information, visit www.kauaidiscovery.com/activities/golfing.  

To contact reporter Allan Seiden, send e-mail to [email protected].

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