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Kukuilono Park Golf Course

Kalaheo, Hawaii (island of Kauai)
Par: 36 (9 holes)
Phone: (808) 332-9151

Men's Summary:
Tees Yards Rating Slope
Blue 3173 35 116
White 2981 35 116

Women's Summary:
Tees Yards Rating Slope
Red 2708 36.5 116

Kukuilono Park

Kukuilono Clubhouse

#1 straightaway - no muss, no fuss

#2 - The green is just right of that handy lone tree down there...

Approach to #2

#3 up the hill

Approach to #4

Short par 4 #5

Intimidating tee shot on #6

A view of Poipu from the tee box of #7

#7 - short par 4, but uphill...

Uphill par 3 eighth

#9 near sunset

Click on one of the thumbnails above to see an enlargement.
The Bogey Golfer Course Guides

Kukuilono Park Golf Course - Overview

Kukuilono Park was founded in 1929, and subsequently donated to the state with the proviso that it be kept cheap, which it certainly is ($9 per person, walking, on weekends). And you're still golfing in Hawaii! You can see the ocean (albeit a quarter of a mile away) from much of the course. The last time I played a course with single-digit green fees was a converted cow pasture in central Nebraska. You folded up your money and poked it through a slot in a wooden box. It had astroturf greens. But this is a real golf course, with real grass, and palm trees and everything!

The 9 hole course shares the ground with a Japanese style park. It seems to be a favorite place for people to walk their dogs, which were remarkably well-behaved in light of the hordes of wild chickens strutting about.

The track is pretty straightforward -- keep the ball in play, hit it where you think you should, and all will be well. The course is not overly long in total, but there are some long par 4s with uphill slopes to challenge you. There are some forced carries as an added bonus too.

The greens ran faster than I expected, so if you get a chance to practice putting before the round, by all means do so.

Bring a Sunday bag, a comfortable pair of shoes or sandals, and go for a walk in the park. It's a very pleasant, laid-back place, just right for an inexpensive treat.

Kukuilono Park Golf Course Detail

This writeup was done from the white tees, but the fact that there are two sets of tees is merely a formality if you want to do a couple laps around the course. The blue tees basically don't change the nature of the course.

#1 is an intermediate length hole that's straightaway with a slight bend to the left around the palm trees. It's plenty wide, so swing away. It pays to hit the green, just so you don't have to try chipping over (or short of) the bunkers. The green tips pretty severely from back to front, so try to stay below the hole.

#2 is a longish par 5. From the tee it looks like it goes off into infinity, and in fact you can't see the green because of a crown in the fairway 400 yards away (or so it seems). There's a flag on the horizon which at first I thought belonged to a different hole. However, it's a directional marker. Aim for that. Having said that, the fairway is almost as wide as it is long, so accuracy is not a major need here. Flail away. As far as that goes, you can basically do the same thing on your second shot. Once you get close, then you can start aiming at the green.

#3 is a long par 4 going back the other way. At least it seems long, because it's uphill. Once you get to the green, you'll see it sits up about three feet from the surrounding terrain. It's kind of small too. If you miss it on the approach, pay attention to your chip shot -- it will be tricky, no matter the angle.

#4 is another par 4 of intermediate length. From far away, you can use the microwave tower behind the green as a target. This is another green with a pronounced back to front tilt to it, so don't go long. (Also, there's a nasty little bunker hidden from view back and right.)

#5 is a short par 4, playing only 282 yards. It plays a little bit uphill, and the day I played there was a pretty good breeze in my face. Despite that, I actually bounced my drive onto the front edge, much to my astonishment. Unfortunately I then 3-putted for a par...

#6 is a par 3 across a chasm. It's 152 yards, and needs a good solid shot. I psyched myself out and over-swung and yanked it a mile left. Then I proceed to hit a brilliant flop shot over the bunker, and darned if it didnm't roll off the other side. It's another of those tiny elevated greens, so it rolled down the hill a good 10 yards. I made another brillian flop shot which rolled to the very far edge of the green, but managed to hang on. So I hit one bad shot, two great shots, and still walked away with a five. The moral of this story is "don't waste your tee shot."

#7 is another short par 4, but this one is up a fairly steep hill, which also tilts to the right quite a bit. I chose to hit a 2 hybrid just to make sure my natural fade didn't start to over-cooperate with the right hand tilt and throw me out of bounds or something. Having said that, the right side is a good angle to come in from, because there's a heckuva rolloff to the right of the green, and it's a bit easier to hold if you're coming in from the right.

#8 is a long par 3. The scorecard says only 162, but you need to add 20 or 30 yards to that because of the hill. There's also a bunker on the right it pays to be aware of.

The home hole runs up the hill to the clubhouse. It's a short par 5. By all means hit your driver here. There's acres of room on the right in the rough, so you almost can't reach trouble. Be sure to take plenty of extra club for your approach to allow for the hill. Also, the green blatantly and unabashedly has a false front. And even once you're actually on the green, there's still a pretty good tilt from back to front.

This is a dirt cheap no-frills course set in Hawaii! There's nothing else even remotely similar to it in the entire state! Enjoy it!

Background photo: Long par five winding around the pond, #12, Crosswater, Sunriver, OR

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