Golfing Hawaii: The Best Courses on Kauai
Don’t let the sand and surf overshadow golf on this Hawaiian island. There are four courses worth making a beach detour for.
Kauai, the northernmost of the major Hawaiian Islands, has a chilled-out, almost rural pace of life. During the past 30 years, development on the Garden Isle has moved more slowly compared with its neighbors, in part because of the devastation of 1992’s Hurricane Iniki and the bursting of speculative bubbles in both Japan and the United States, but also because of the efforts of residents. Given what the island has to offer—beaches, awe-inspiring mountain hikes, and sunsets—it’s hard to argue the locals’ point.
Golf is part of the appeal too, but because it’s commonly understood that visitors are likely to simply mix a round or two into a romantic getaway or an all-around family vacation, the game is presented in a gauzy, soft-focus light. There’s lots of eye candy—one would expect nothing less from a tropical paradise—and not much that’s too quirky or shamelessly punishing. Courses have gotten creative to attract golfers away from the ocean, whether it’s by providing motorized GolfBoards to “surf the earth” (Kukui’ula) or “breakaway specials” (as at Poipu Bay) that sell rounds of fewer than 18 holes as a way to highlight oceanfront sections. Indeed, if there is a unifying thread to Kauai’s courses, it’s an eagerness to please. Here within, some of our favorites.