Island Greens

Clients can tee off in Kauai’s unspoiled beauty

By: Marty Wentzel

Dan Shepherd has golfed the greens of Kauai many times and each experience gives him a rush.

“Every time I tee up at one of the courses, I’m blown away by the natural beauty of the sites,” said Shepherd, a Kauai golf spokesman. “I love the combination of great designs on the island’s courses, very different yet complementary, because the diversity creates a broader golf experience.”

Eager to provide more visitors with similar moments of golfing glee, the Kauai Visitors Bureau came up with Kauai: Discover Golf’s Ultimate Island Green. Now in its third year, the golf marketing cooperative promotes four island clubs with 117 combined holes Puakea Golf Course, Princeville Golf Club, Poipu Bay Golf Course and Kauai Lagoons Golf Club and three affiliated resorts Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa, Princeville at Hanalei and Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club.

“The Kauai golf product is relatively new to mainlanders compared to the other Hawaiian Islands,” said Shepherd. “As such, the destination is gaining increasing brand awareness and media/consumer interest.”

Nature plays a role in making Kauai a perfect place for a golfing vacation, said Shepherd.

“Kauai has the least development of any of the major Hawaiian Islands just 3 percent so the result is a plethora of unspoiled beauty,” he said.

Given that Kauai offers some of the world’s most breathtaking terrain, the golf course architects including Robert Trent Jones Jr., Jack Nicklaus and Robin Nelson clearly were inspired as they created memorable fairways and holes.

Thanks to the marketing cooperative, island courses have started promoting golf together, resulting in easier access to the greens and more appealing rates for clients. For instance, Poipu Bay, Princeville and Kauai Lagoons are teaming up on the Kauai Golf Challenge, which provides one round of golf at each of the courses, shared cart, use of the driving range and other course amenities for $390 per person. For golfers craving more playing time, add a fourth round at Puakea or Kiahuna by booking the Kauai Ultimate Golf Challenge for $470.

“Kauai’s number and quality of amenities means there’s something for everyone, depending on the chosen facility,” said Shepherd. “The island is quaint enough that getting from one course to another isn’t laborious.”

Recent national accolades earned by Kauai courses have helped the marketing cooperative gain steam. Several courses made the 2006 Conde Nast Traveler Reader Survey’s “Top 100 Golf Resorts.” The North Shore’s Prince Course was recently rated the number one course in Hawaii by Golf Digest magazine, with the Kiele Course at Kauai Lagoons ranked ninth and Poipu Bay Golf Course ranked 10th.

Of all the venues on Kauai, clients may recognize Poipu Bay first and foremost because it hosted the prestigious PGA Grand Slam of Golf from 1994-2006, providing the course and the island with invaluable international media coverage. The high-profile event has moved to Bermuda this year.

“The longstanding tenure of the event on Kauai is perhaps as great a testimony of the golf destination’s high quality as possible,” said Shepherd. “The move wasn’t a sign that Kauai no longer holds the allure necessary to keep this lustrous event. Instead, it’s indicative of the radical changes occurring with tour pros, who are dealing with a whole new schedule and set of venues and dates. In other words, professional golf is reinventing itself.”

After winning last year’s PGA Grand Slam of Golf, Tiger Woods told the press he loves Kauai and wishes the tournament wouldn’t leave the island. Coming from the best player in the world, that’s high praise indeed.

To book the Kauai Golf Challenge or Kauai Ultimate Golf Challenge, contact any of these golf courses directly:


Kauai Lagoons
(Kiele and Mokihana Courses)

Kiahuna Golf Club

Poipu Bay Golf Course

Princeville at Hanalei
(18-hole Prince Course, 27-hole Makai Course)

Puakea Golf Course


Poipu Bay Golf Course is offering several 2007 values. The Grand Slam package provides three rounds of golf for a discounted price, as long as all rounds are completed within 10 days of purchase. Rates include green fees, shared cart, use of the GPS and access to the driving range for $380 per person ($320 for guests of the adjacent Grand Hyatt Kauai). Poipu Bay offers a rate of $125 for play from noon on ($110 for Hyatt guests) and a twilight special of $75 after 2:30 p.m.

Clients staying at the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club can book a package providing unlimited golf at Kauai Lagoons’ Mokihana and Kiele courses for $419 per night