Golf vacation on intimate Kauai proves not all Hawaiian Islands are created equal
Hawaii doesn't exactly conjure up images of secluded beaches and undiscovered lands.
How could it? Everyone has a friend, probably a family member even, who's been there and has the jealously-inducing photographs and suntans to prove it.
But chances are they probably haven't been to the Hawaiian Island of Kauai, which may be its biggest appeal.
While it's pretty hard to pick the "wrong" island to spend your Hawaiian vacation, in a lot of ways Kauai makes a solid case as the right one. Boasting a "Hawaii as it used to be" intimacy - a result of its much slower pace of development - you may forget you're in one of the world's most coveted destinations.
Kauai is the fourth largest in size and has only nine golf courses. But it may have the most bang-for-your-buck out of any of the islands.
Three world-class resort golf courses, Kiele at Kauai Lagoons, Prince Course at Princeville and Poipu Bay anchor the offerings (locals are quick to point out Tiger Woods never skipped out on a PGA Grand Slam of Golf when it was held at Poipu Bay through 2006). And Kauai is small enough that you can easily make it to all the best courses on one trip.
What's not on Kauai? Well, you're not going to find the wild nightlife and bright lights of Waikiki (bars can be found here, of course, but not in the quantity and general craziness). You're also not going to find any high-rise hotels (there are island building-ordinances against it). There are no expressways. In fact, you may also not see a traffic light during your visit (the only stop in traffic you may encounter is from wild roosters crossing the road).
But what you can expect to find on Kauai is plenty of secluded, uncrowded beaches and charming beach villages with little bars boasting "world famous" Mai Tai's and front-row seats to ocean sunsets.
So it's pretty hard to call anything as heavily toured as Hawaii "undiscovered" - or any golf course as nationally praised as the collection here as a "hidden gem." But Kauai's greatest asset is the refreshing level of intimacy it upholds - despite being in the cradle of one of the world's most coveted getaways.
Expectations can be mighty high when booking your first Hawaiian golf trip. Do just a hint of research, and you've no doubt seen a dozen pictures of golf courses, luxury hotels and beaches that summon an instant rise in heartbeat. The bar rises so high so quickly, you worry if you're setting yourself up for the inevitable vacation letdown. Play Poipu Bay Golf Course on Kauai, and those already lofty expectations will likely be exceeded.
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