If you’re a golfer, then you already know that the Princeville Makai Golf Club is one of the most scenic golf courses in the world. “National Geographic Traveler” ranked it in the top five. As a golfer, I don’t know what more to say. You need to play this course. Period.
If you’re not a golfer, you can still experience the course’s beauty. Tool around in a golf cart with a glass of wine in hand, viewing local landmarks such as Hanalei Bay, Queen’s Bath, Kīlauea Lighthouse, ‘Anini Reef and North Shore beaches.
Hosted by knowledgeable guides, the Sunset Golf Cart Tour takes you through six signature stops. “Our number one goal is to help visitors learn about the area,” says Makai General Manager Doug Sutter.
The tour hits five stops along the coastline before pulling in at the tee box of the course’s signature hole, the par-3 seventh, where visitors are treated to a dramatic view of the sun disappearing over the horizon. It dips behind the edge of a pyramid-shaped mountain called Mt. Makana, which served as the fabled Bali Hai in the classic film, “South Pacific.”
In addition to the golf and sunset tour options, Princeville Makai Golf Club offers weekly yoga classes and group golf lessons.
There are only eight golf courses on the island. The best-kept secret (if there is one) is Puakea Golf Course in Līhu‘e.
“Imagine yourself walking up to the first tee with a Pacific Ocean view in front of you and Mount Hā‘upu towering over you,” says Fran Roach, PGA professional and president of Aloha Golf Group, the resident management company for Puakea. “Locals recognize us as being the best value on the island.”
With the inspirational terrain and calming mountain range backdrop, Puakea Golf Course appeals to all skill levels. “We have four sets of tees here,” says Roach, “so everyone can enjoy the course. And rates for visitors are reasonable, especially considering the quality of the course. Green fees with cart are only $64-$104 depending on time of day.”
In addition to the golf and all grass, two green plus bunker practice facility, Puakea also hosts Disc Golf every Monday, Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday.
No matter your choice of recreation, you’ll want to take a break at the Puakea Grill, a local hideaway extremely popular with residents. “We have three great chefs, who serve creative, local fresh food. We have a lot of non-golfers who come to enjoy the great food and atmosphere.”
[A version of this article appeared in print in the pages of This Week Kaua‘i]
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