Kauai’s Rising Star: Ocean Course at Hokuala


Paradise Awaits

Nestled in the heart of the Pacific Ocean lies a tropical paradise more than worthy of a five-hour flight from California: Kauai. Renowned for its stunning landscapes and lush greenery, Hawaii’s northernmost island is warmly known as the “Garden Isle.” 

Kauai offers a wealth of outdoor activities for adventure seekers, nature lovers and golfers. As the fourth-largest landmass in the Hawaiian Islands and covering 562 square miles, kama‘āina (locals), residents and visitors alike are treated to pristine beaches, strikingly tall mountains, majestic waterfalls, deep jungles and verdant landscapes. 

During your time on this beautiful slice of paradise, a day at the Ocean Course at Hokuala is a memorable “must-do.”

The Ocean Course at Hōkūala’s 14th hole, a challenging and breathtaking 208-yard par 3, is framed by Nawiliwili Bay.

There’s Oceanfront Golf…Then There is Hokuala

Renowned for its spectacular natural beauty, Kauai is blessed with remarkable golf. Situated 73 miles northwest of Oahu, Kauai boasts some of the most charming and challenging courses in the world. The Ocean Course at Hokuala is atop our list. 

Adjacent to the island’s main airport in Lihue (LIH), the former 27-hole layout was named Kauai Lagoons. In 1998, World Golf Hall of Fame member and golf course architect, Jack Nicklaus, was tasked with completely overhauling it. Subsequent renovations took place in 2011 and 2016. The result? A refreshingly unique, world-class 18-hole facility renamed the Ocean Course at Hokuala. A new driving range, short game facility and FootGolf course were also added.

“Kauai is a laid-back tropical paradise. The island is more quaint and less commercial than Oahu and Maui. I put forth my best effort with Hokuala’s design,” reminisced Nicklaus. “It’s reassuring that Timbers Resorts made a commitment to ensure that the product I have produced is taken care of, enjoyed and thought well of for generations to come.”

Nicklaus’ routing blends strategic course management, exciting risk vs. reward opportunities and breathtaking scenery into one action-packed design.

Front Nine

Set within a lush jungle framed by area mountains, the front nine winds through fragrant mango and guava groves. Players can score early. Good shots are rewarded across short, medium and long-length holes. Tactically placed inland lagoons and bunkers await mishits.

Hole 4, a beautiful 506-yard dogleg left par 5, offers a good front-nine scoring opportunity.

Back Nine

The back nine is home to the longest continuous stretch of oceanfront holes in all of Hawaii. As players stand on the tenth tee, they sense and feel a difference.

Every hole could make a case as the “signature hole.” The par-3 14th may take the cake. Sitting high atop seaside cliffs next to the Ninini Point Lighthouse, players experience 360-degree views of crystal clear Nawiliwili Bay, imposing Mt. Hā’upu and luxurious Timbers Kauai in the distance. This spectacular setting forever remains in the minds of all who play it.

Hole 16 is one of the most photographed in the world. The potentially drivable par-4 features a blind tee shot to an increasingly narrow fairway. With crashing waves hugging the entire left side, the green juts hard left and downhill towards Kalapaki Bay and the iconic Kuki’i Point Lighthouse. 

From mauna (mountain) to makai (ocean), every round at Hokuala is an adventure. 

Each Tuesday, Hualani Duncan leads a Hui Aloha Sunrise Tour, allowing guests to engage with Kaua‘i’s local culture and ecosystem.

E Ala E: The Magic of Sunrise

The late great New York Times best-selling author Eric Jerome Dickey remarked, “Every day, a million miracles begin at sunrise.” At Hokuala as rays of light peek over the Pacific Ocean horizon, painting the sky in a palette of vibrant hues, you feel a sense of wonder and awe. 

Each Tuesday, the club hosts a guided interactive Sunrise Hui Aloha Tour. Led by Hokuala’s Native Hawaiian employees, the course’s lush green fairways and swaying palm trees above the sea offer an idyllic vantage point to watch the sky transform from darkness to light. 

During your front-row seat to Mother Nature’s premier daily spectacle, guests collectively greet the sun by chanting, “E Ala E!” which translates to “Arise and Awaken The Light Within!” Hawaiians believe that wisdom is held within. It is innate; everyone should seek to awaken and arise with it.

After sunrise, the tour continues through The Farm at Hokuala to taste fresh fruit, see local wildlife, picturesque flora and fauna and other rare property attributes.

Sunset Holoholo Sessions

In the indigenous language of Hawaii (‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i), Hokuala translates to “rising star.” For those who value rich cultural immersions while watching the sun set and stars rise, Hokuala now offers Sunset Holoholo Sessions. Every Thursday and Friday, guided golf cart tours begin at approx. 3:30 p.m. and last two hours.

Guests enjoy a cultural exploration of the property. Highlights include the area mountains, surrounding jungle on holes five and six, The Farm at Hokuala and other attractions that enable guests to form a strong bond with the island’s local culture and ecosystem, such as watching whales breach in the winter months.

At Hokuala, guests don’t feel like guests. They are allowed and encouraged to immerse themselves in a living, breathing ecosystem. This special sense of community and camaraderie makes every activity feel like a shared adventure.

Plan Your Next Adventure

More California residents visit The Aloha State than any other state. With multiple airlines offering daily non-stops to Lihue (LIH) from numerous west coast cities, Hawaii’s “Island of Discovery” is excited to welcome you – one swing, sunrise and sunset at a time.

To learn more about the Ocean Course at Hokuala, book tee times and register for club events and outings visit www.golfhokuala.com.

Related Articles

Stay Connected


Latest Articles