Kukui’ula Golf Course was our last stop during our Kauai golf adventure with fellow blogger and friend, Wayne Halm. The Kukui’ula Golf Course was designed by Tom Weiskopf and is just one component of The Club at Kukui’ula, a private facility which also features gardens, pools, a spa, fitness facility, restaurant and cocktail room.
When we pulled up to the bag drop area, a friendly chap greeted us and told us to take our golf shoes and other belongings into the locker room and leave the keys in the car. Huh? Oh — valet parking. Got it. That’s when I clued in we were going to be rolling like rock stars for the day.
I headed towards the men’s locker room which starts out with a nice little lounge in the front, complete with freshly baked goodies sitting on the bar. There was also a big screen TV which you can’t see in the picture.
After I stuffed some baking down my gullet and changed my shoes, I headed outside and down the stairs where our clubs were loaded up on carts and ready to go. Another friendly chap greeted us and offered us a beverage. I saw Wayne grab a Gatorade from the cooler and internally I was wondering if I had any cash on me to buy something, before I realized this wasn’t the type of place where you barbarically exchange cash. Just help yourself.
After a warm-up at their beautiful practice facility (complete with Pro-V1 range balls, by the way), I was pumped to see what the golf course was all about.
My first impression was fantastic — generous fairways you couldn’t miss if you tried, huge undulating greens, beautiful bunkering, and pristine conditions. I almost felt bad taking divots, because there weren’t many others out there.
Here’s a look at the approach into the very large green of the par-4 1st hole:
I particularly liked the contouring and runoff areas around many of the greens, providing many different short game shot options. Below is a look at the par-5 4th green, where there was a fine line between being tight to the flag and rolling off the green and down the slope:
It was a hot day, so by the 5th hole hole I was happy to find out we were about to pull up to the snack shack as I was ready for a cold beverage. As you may have guessed, this snack shack was a “help yourself” type of place, beer included. It took all the willpower that currently exists in the world not to abuse the “free beer” perk, but I did enjoy a very cold one…and some ice cream.
The course heads uphill and away from the ocean on the 5th hole, then promptly starts to head back down on the 6th hole, where Beth is pictured below ripping a drive.
The course generally feels quite open and approachable, but it throws in a few water hazards and a couple forced carries to keep you on your toes. In general the biggest defense of the golf course are the greenside bunkers and undulating green complexes.
A look at the par-3 8th hole:
The par-3 12th hole:
As you start to head down the 13th hole it is time to grab your camera as you’re catapulted towards the ocean for a series of ocean-view holes. It’s not just the views that make this stretch great, they’re fun holes, too.
Beth hitting her tee shot on the reachable par-5 13th hole:
It turns out to be a nice stretch of holes to play in the late afternoon setting sun, which makes for some great pictures.
A look at the approach into the par-5 13th green:
After a fun par-5, you’re treated to a short risk-reward par-4 which can be driveable for longer hitters. I’ll take this opportunity to say/brag that I did indeed drive the green and seal up a tap-in birdie.
The green of par-4 14th hole:
The green of the par-4 15th hole:
As you turn back away from the ocean and back to the clubhouse, you’ll finish off with another fun risk-reward hole. A very reachable par-5 which will make you think twice about whether you should be going for it or not.
The approach into the par-5 18th hole:
After our round we drove back to the clubhouse and dropped off our carts. There wasn’t a soul in sight but we headed back up the stairs and were greeted by the friendly pro shop staff again who asked about our round, and let us know we just missed Kyle Stanley (PGA Tour professional), who likes to practice there in the off-season.
By the time we changed our shoes, ate another treat from the locker room, and headed out the front door, our car was parked out front ready to go, clubs loaded up. We found this to be ridiculously reasonable service.
Kukui’ula isn’t just another fun golf course in pristine condition, it’s the epitome of a 5-star golf “experience”. They do everything possible to make sure you have the perfect day, even for us riffraff who were just visiting for the day. At least for those 4 hours, they made us feel just as valued as their members.
If the opportunity ever presents itself to visit The Club at Kukui’ula and play their golf course, I highly recommend you make it a priority.
Kukui’ula Golf Course ranked #5 in my Top 10 Golf Courses of 2016 – check out the full ranking here.
Also check out Wayne Halm’s post on our round here, for more pictures and stories of this great experience at The Club at Kukuiula.