So much of Hawaii golf is based on the self-created hype from the constant bombardment of marketing messages from the big time resorts. Few actually deliver. And, candidly, one of the really interesting surprises comes from the public course Puakea.
Although there's been comment on the first five holes being adequate -- I really enjoyed the par-4 3rd with the way the water pushes right up to the putting surface. When the pin is cut on the left side the slightest pull will make a quick splash and watery death.
The holes that follow for the bulk of the course have the benefit in being on more hilly terrain and blend nicely into what Mother Nature originally provided. Credit architect Robin Nelson in fashioning a range of fun holes and, at the same time, keeping playability front and center so long as one chooses the appropriate tee box.
Puakea gets little attention because it doesn't have a mega marketing amplifying budget. But, the locals know full well on the quality golf found there. When going to Kauai be sure to keep a time slot open and check it out.
M. James Ward
Date: March 12, 2019