Best Golf Courses in Kauai

Updated February 2024 to update booking information.

Out of all the time I’ve spent in Hawaii, there’s no question that Kauai is my favorite island.  I’ve spent the most time on the big island and don’t get me wrong, it’s a golfer’s paradise and the geographic diversity isn’t something you’ll find anywhere else in the world. 

As much as I love spending time in places like Kona and at Mauna Kea, the whole resort vibe gets a little tiresome after a while.

That’s why last time I went to Hawaii, I thought I’d change it up a bit and go to Kauai.  I’d always heard great things about this small island; that it was more of a local’s vibe, that there wasn’t the commercialization of the Big Island and Oahu, for example.

While my daydreams didn’t exactly match reality when I stepped off the plane, I can honestly say that life is much more laid back on Kauai, and I’ll be back again soon.

As far as the golf goes, you know I played a fair bit.  But I’m definitely not qualified to come up with a list of the best courses on my own.  As usual, our readers chimed in with their thoughts as well.  

Be advised, this is small island and public golf opportunities are limited more by geography than anything else.  Hence, we’ve shrunk the list to the five best public tracks anyone can play on Kauai.

Before the Mai Thai kicks in, let’s get started.

 

 

1

Poipu Bay

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Nestled along the stunning coastline of Kauai, Poipu Bay Golf Course beckons with its immaculate fairways and breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. This renowned course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., offers a golfing experience unlike any other.

The Paspalum grass, which adorns the course, not only adds to its aesthetic appeal but also provides a welcoming surface for players of all abilities. Poipu Bay has a rich history, having hosted the PGA Grand Slam of Golf from 1994 to 2006. Its challenging layout and stunning scenery make a round at Poipu Bay a truly unforgettable experience.

Situated along a dramatic 150-foot sea cliff, the course provides a visually stunning backdrop for every swing. The lush green fairways, palm trees, and ocean views make this course a must-visit for golf enthusiasts. Poipu Bay Golf Course is a gem in the golfing world, offering an unforgettable golfing experience in the beautiful surroundings of Kauai.

 

2

Makai Course at Princeville

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Your golfing journey along the stunning coastline of Kauai continues with the captivating allure of the Makai Course at Princeville, where unforgettable oceanfront views await. Ranked as one of the Top 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses in North America, this course features six oceanfront holes that offer breathtaking vistas.

Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., the course is considered a Top 5 Great Golf Setting by National Geographic Traveler, providing a memorable round worth the price of admission. The Makai Course offers more than just golf, with activities such as disc golf, Sunrise Yoga, tennis, and horseback riding, making it a diverse and engaging destination.

With Paspalum grass providing immaculate playing conditions, players of all abilities can enjoy a welcoming experience. Located in Princeville, Kauai, the course is highly praised for its stunning ocean views, customer service, and overall experience.

Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a novice, the Makai Course at Princeville promises a golfing experience that perfectly captures the beauty and allure of Kauai’s coastline.

 

3

Puakea Golf Course

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Tucked amidst the lush tropical surroundings of Lihue, Kauai, the Puakea Golf Course beckons golf enthusiasts with its unique par-72 design and stunning oceanfront views. Designed by Robin Nelson, this course offers a challenging and scenic layout with strategic bunkering and wide open fairways, making it easy to avoid losing balls.

The course features roller coaster-like elevation changes, providing an exhilarating round for golfers. Its ranking of 149 among golf courses reflects its quality and appeal. Known for its affordability, Puakea Golf Course is a gateway to explore the rest of Kauai, offering a memorable round worth the price of admission.

The course serves as an ideal starting point for exploring the island’s golfing opportunities, including the renowned PGA Grand Slam course, Kiahuna Golf, and other top-tier courses. With its captivating oceanfront holes and a layout that challenges and rewards players of all levels, Puakea Golf Course stands out as one of the best golf courses on the island, promising an unforgettable golfing experience.

4

The Ocean Course at Hokuala

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After experiencing the captivating oceanfront holes and rewarding layout of Puakea Golf Course, your next golfing adventure in Kauai awaits at The Ocean Course at Hokuala. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, this renowned golf course offers stunning fairways and a challenging back 9 for an unforgettable experience.

Located in Lihue, Kauai, The Ocean Course at Hokuala is ranked 220 among golf courses and is recognized as one of the best in Hawaii. The course’s more challenging back 9 features stunning fairways that require admiration, providing an ideal setting for golfers seeking a relaxing and enjoyable experience.

This course is highly revered by locals and readers, making it a must-visit for golf enthusiasts. The Ocean Course at Hokuala, previously known as Kauai Lagoons, has been recognized as North America’s Best Golf Course and Hawaii’s Best Golf Course, solidifying its reputation as a top-tier golfing destination.

With its breathtaking views and challenging layout, The Ocean Course at Hokuala is an essential stop for any golfer visiting Kauai.

5

Kiahuna Golf Club

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Located in the lush surroundings and offering stunning views of the Pacific, Kiahuna Golf Club provides a unique and culturally rich golfing experience on the beautiful island of Kauai.

Situated along the northernmost island, the course benefits from refreshing trade winds and ocean breezes, making it an ideal location for a round of golf. The course’s emerald playing surfaces are complemented by Paspalum grass, ensuring top-notch conditions for players of all levels.

Kiahuna Golf Club is renowned for seamlessly incorporating Hawaiian archaeology and culture, with remnants of an ancient Hawaiian village visible from the fairways. This makes a round at the club not only enjoyable but also educational. The club’s commitment to preserving ancient Polynesian archaeology adds a unique dimension to the golfing experience.

It’s no surprise that Kiahuna Golf Club is considered one of the best courses on Kauai, providing an exceptional and relaxing atmosphere for golfers. The club’s rich history and stunning views of the Pacific, including the captivating sea cliff, make it a must-visit for golf enthusiasts.

AOL founder Steve Case’s involvement with the club further adds to its allure, making it a standout destination in Kauai’s resort area.

 

Conclusion

Whenever you hear about Hawaii, you start dreaming about all matter of things.  Warm ocean breezes, lush fairways with the quiet whisper of waves in the background, and an evening umbrella drink… It truly is paradise.  Like many of our readers, I’ve been fortunate enough to experience Hawaii in this regard on more than one occasion.

I’m going to be brutally honest here, however.  Kauai has it going on.  In terms of relaxation, the local vibe, activities, and of course, golf, this small northernmost island is a place you need to get to if you can.  I know I’ll be back soon.

As I said, I’m not an expert on Kauai golf. If it weren’t from the continual input I receive from you guys, none of this would be possible. 

I’m sure I’ve missed something here.  So please, let me know your thoughts about public golf on Kauai down below in the comments.

  

Paul Liberatore
Paul Liberatore

As the Founder of Golfers Authority Paul Liberatore Esq. has spent the last 7+ years writing about the best golf equipment or instruction from the top golf instructors in the world. He has been a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated Golf and GolfWRX. After graduating with honors from Purdue University, he realized that he had a passion for the golf business and the law. When he's not practicing law, or creating golf content on YouTube, he can be found on his syndicated Behind the Golf Brand podcast both on Apple and Spotify talking with the most prolific leaders in the golf industry. 

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