The Prince Course forms part of the Princeville Resort and it’s located at Hanalei on Kauai, one of the larger Hawaiian Islands. In 1971, Robert Trent Jones II fashioned his inaugural design at the resort (called the Makai course). The Prince layout opened twenty years later in 1991 (named after Prince Albert, the only son of King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma) and Robert Trent Jones the Younger was again the chosen architect.
With spectacular Pacific Ocean views and the backdrop of majestic mountains, this is not only a beautiful location that will stimulate the senses, but also an exciting, strategic and challenging course designed to test the best. From the tips, the Prince stretches out beyond 7,300 yards and the slope rating of 140 gives an indication as to the level of difficulty.
The 7th hole is a Hawaiian version of the famous 16th at Cypress Point. This long par three is tough; especially into the teeth of the Pacific winds and the long carry – across a deep ravine – will test the mettle of even the best golfer. The 13th is a demanding par four which has literally been cut through a jungle. You’ll immediately need to decide whether or not to take on the stream that splits the fairway at approximately 200 yards from the tee. Whatever happens, your approach shot is one of the prettiest in golf with the green wrapped by a stream with a waterfall cascading behind.
Robert Trent Jones Jnr claimed the 15th “may be the finest par five I’ve ever built”. Often these comments tend to be mere hyperbole, but this hole deserves the acclaim. Stuffed full of risk-and-reward opportunities, surrounded by ravines and set in absolute beauty. This hole is the perfect example as to why the Prince is such a memorable course.
The Prince course closed in 2017 and it's still not clear what the future may hold for the course that once topped the Hawaiian rankings. Let's hope it survives.
Four holes were particularly memorable. Number 1 is in Golf Digest’s Top 10 starting holes and may be the toughest opening hole I have ever played. Not a very friendly welcome to the course – but it just kept getting better. Number 7 is a par 3 sitting right on a 300-foot cliff over the Pacific Ocean and one of the windiest places I ever have tried to hit a golf ball. Number 12 tees off from a cliff a hundred feet above the fairway. You stand above the treetops, with rain forest on three sides of you and a lush green strip of fairway in front of you. A well-struck tee shot has a hang time that any NFL punter would die for. Number 13 has the opposite effect. At the end of this par 5, you face a green cut into an amphitheatre with a 180-degree, 75-foot-high wall of rain forest surrounding you. At the back is a waterfall pouring into a small creek. Simply breathtaking! Larry Berle.