March 1, 2013
By Katharine D.
Kauai’s Prince Course at Princeville Golf Club gives you Hawaii’s royal treatment.
Celebrating the Aloha spirit, icy triangles of pineapple refresh golfers playing the Prince Course at Princeville Golf Club. Sitting high above the Pacific Ocean on Kauai’s North Shore and book-ended by craggy mountains plunging into the sea, like a “wild child the Prince Course careens up and down lush, green hillsides, vaulting over ravines, streams and jungle.” Wild chickens skitter under hibiscus bushes while the sweet scent of Plumeria blossoms seduces.
As the setting for many Hollywood films like “Jurassic Park,” “Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark,” and “South Pacific,” Kauai is a fitting canvas for the Prince Course, which opened its first nine in 1987, and then the second in 1990. “The Prince is the perfect example of how Mother Nature and great golf can coexist so beautifully,” said designer Robert Trent Jones Jr.
In March 2012, Jones completed a 13-month, multi-million dollar renovation of the course. “We built new drainage systems, replaced the greens’ grass with seashore paspalum, rebuilt the bunkers and renovated the practice areas,” explains Steve Murphy, Princeville’s director of golf.
“I like that each hole is unique,” says Murphy. “You are challenged to hit every club in your bag.” There are bunkers, dog legs, water hazards and ravines with thought-pondering, risk-and-reward holes. Take hole #4, a par-5 playing around a pond challenging you to bite off as much water as you dare while the question-mark-shaped #10 presents a potpourri of choices to navigate around bunkers and ravines.
Citing #7 as one of his favorite holes, Murphy says, “It’s an awesome test playing 207 yards from the tips over a gorge into the prevailing winds.” Still five sets of tees with distances ranging from 7,378 to 5,402 yards allow you to select your preferred mix of pain and pleasure. While #7 requires a lengthy carry from the back, the forward tees are set at a mere 98 yards.
“Don’t be intimidated or arrive with any preconceived notions,” cautions Murphy. “If you play from the recommended tees based on your handicap according to the Tee it Forward program you can anticipate an enjoyable round of golf.”
One of only two courses in Hawaii to be recognized on Golf Digest’s list of “America’s 100 Greatest Courses,” Prince Course is a coveted play and has hosted celebs like Michael Jordan and President Bill Clinton.
The 66,000-square-foot clubhouse also has a new look with upgraded locker rooms, a beautiful porte cochere and expanded windows revealing panoramic views of greens, trees and ocean. In the Tavern Restaurant renowned chef Roy Yamaguchi offers a creative menu featuring produce from his on-site garden and mouthwatering fine dining classics like escargot and shrimp scampi along with comfort foods like buttermilk fried chicken and mashed potatoes. For a unique twist on an old saw, order a Hairy Mary cocktail, a traditional Bloody garnished with a hefty bacon strip.
After you’ve finished your round, visit the nearby Princeville Ranch located on 2,500 acres of rolling meadows. It’s a working cattle ranch where you can participate in an assortment of adventures like zip lining, horseback riding to an 80-foot waterfall and hiking to Kalihiwai Falls. Also check out surfing on Hanalei Bay, one of the Top 20 surf spots in the world and charter a helicopter or plane tour to take in beautiful aerial island views.
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