Warm blue waters, azure skies, soft trade winds, and large expanses of lush green fairways await the winter-weary golfer in the Hawaiian islands.
Designed by architect Robin Nelson, Puakea Golf Course, also in Lihue, is one of “The Islands” top daily fee golf courses. The layout is resort quality and built on more than 200 acres of historic property, which was once a sugar cane plantation. Puakea has been named among the “Top 10” nine-hole facilities (prior to it being enlarged to 18 holes) in the U.S. by Sports Illustrated.
Work on the course originally began in 1992, but when Hurricane Iniki came through and caused extensive damage construction of the golf course stopped for a time as the island recovered from the storm damage. The land on which Puakea is situated is known as Grove Farm (a co-owner is Steve Case, founder of AOL).
The Case family has strong ties to Hawaii, where Steve Case grew up with his family. Grove Farm began as one of the first sugar cane plantations in 1854. After sugarcane production slowed and eventually ended in the 1990’s, the plan for a golf course reached fruition with the renowned late golf course architect Robin Nelson heading up its design.
In 2000 Grove Farm was bought by Steve Case, and in 2003 construction of eight holes (the original course was 10 holes) were completed and the track opened as an 18-hole facility in the summer 2003.
Puakea has a state-of-the art practice facility that includes a 40-stall driving range, putting green and spacious short-game practice area. The facility also offers a complete schedule of clinics, private and group lessons. For before or après golf, stop by at club’s Ho’okipa Café, open for breakfast, lunch and “pupus” from 7 a.m. until sunset.
Puakea is a fun, great value course. While it may not have all the frills and amenities of some resort courses, the course layout is phenomenal superb and it treats golfers to lush, beautiful landscaping, especially on the back nine.
The famous Ka’anapali Resort golf courses, located in Lahaina on the island of Maui, offer Fit Club, a fitness program where golfers walk and play holes numbers one through six on the Royal or Kai Course anytime after 4 p.m. There is a monthly fee and players check in daily in the golf shop and then walk the course (playing) from 4 p.m. to close.
The Golf My Way program is a different way for guests to enjoy golf. General Manager, Ed Kageyama, created a program allowing guests to play 18 holes of golf over seven days. A Keiki (kids) set of tees on the Ka’anapali Kai Course is available year round. The program allows for ages 7 to 17 to play their own par and yardage and set of tees.
In addition to Ka’anapali’s Fit Club and Golf My Way, Ka’anapali expanded its reach to the non-golfer at the facility by offering Foot Golf on the Ka’anapali Kai Course. The game is played the same way as golf, except that players use a football instead of a golf ball, and the ball is kicked rather than struck with a club, working towards a 21-inch “cup” in place of the usual golf hole. With the variety of guests staying in the Ka’anapali Resort, Foot Golf allows not only the golfing guest but everyone to experience the beauty of the courses in a fun and healthy environment.