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lsewhere in the islands, Kauai’s Princeville Resort,

on the island’s verdant north shore, has seen both its courses recently complete renovation projects. Makai GC was first, debuting a new 18-hole routing in 2010 comprising the club’s Ocean and Lakes nines. The changes were understated but refined with a process that widened fairways, repositioned bun- kers and greens and enlarged the putting surfaces to create better targets.

The Makai touches the ocean in as dramatic of a way as any course on the island. And the renovation emphasized the Pacific via the ocean-cove carrying par 3 seventh hole and the drivable par 4 14th hole that requires cutting the corner of deep cliff—looking back, you’ll see a resemblance to Pebble Beach’s 8th.

Original designer Robert

Trent Jones Jr. and partner Bruce Charlton led the facelift as well as the just-completed refresh of the island’s toughest

Makai GC

While the Big Island is obviously the largest island in Hawaii, it is also the youngest, making it a land of extremes subject to change.

so every player can find a challenge. The Bermuda fairways, and, similar to Makalei, bentgrass greens are kept in terrific condition. The island-green 17th

hole, a 180-yards par 3, looks like it was dropped in from TPC Sawgrass, only with a traditional Hawaiian look via colorful trees and native birdlife that dot the hole and rest of the course. Kona Golf Trail pack- ages for play at the three courses are offered by four major Kona area hotels, including the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa, the Outrigger Ke-

56 / NCGA.ORG / SPRING 2012

auhou Beach Resort, the Royal Kona Resort, and the Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel. Additionally, golfers can purchase a Kona Golf Trail Value Card at the ho- tels and courses, which give either discounted rates or other added value benefits. The Sheraton is located

on an ancient lava flow di- rectly on the coastline. The hotel offers everything from rejuvenating spa treatments to an entertaining luau and is ideal for everything from family vacations or Hawaii honeymoons. With the golf courses and Hawaii

Volcanoes National Park a drivable distance away, the resort is close to many activities. The Outrigger Keauhou

Beach Resort offers per- haps the best value in the Kona area via a free daily breakfast and the absence of resort fees. Snorkeling and other less standard resort activities, such as traditional Hawaiian games and an introduction to Hawaiian language and chant are part of the resort. A dramatic oceanside

setting on a 12-acre volcanic outcropping characterizes the Royal Kona Resort.

Oceanfront dining and beautiful sunsets are part of the experience at the Royal Kona, as well an award- winning Hawaiian Luau. The King Kamehameha

Kona was recently reno- vated, and the hotel grounds have an iridescent aura, per- haps magnified by its white sand beach. The resort is close to historic Kailua Village with its oceanfront promenade as well as other attractions such as a sunset cruise or other ocean ac- tivities at Kailua Kona Pier. Hulihe’e Palace, the vaca- tion residence of Hawai`ian royalty, is also nearby. The

track, Princeville’s Prince Golf Course. The course opened in early March after work includ- ing a complete reconstruc- tion of putting greens with SeaDwarf Seashore Paspalum turf (the same grass used at the Makai that is effective on costal venues for greens and fairways). Also included was a remodeling of bunkers to improve drainage and playabil- ity and a clearing of fairways of the visual impediments surrounding holes that have encroached over the years among other improvements. The course is known for its scale, encompassing 350 acres of rugged terrain, tropi- cal jungle, gullies, streams and waterfalls. The Prince has been consistently ranked as the number one course in Hawaii through the years. Both courses are part of the St. Regis Princeville Resort, famous for its view of Bali Hai used in the film- ing of “South Pacific.” More recently, the resort was featured in George Clooney’s “The Descendants.”

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