Puakea Golf Course announces opening of new eight holes

KAUAI, Hawaii -- Puakea Golf Course, which was named one of the top 10 nine-hole golf courses (although it was originally 10 holes) by Sports Illustrated, has announced the opening of eight new holes.

Final realization of original 18-hole concept is tied to new ownership of Grove Farm Company -- owner of Puakea Golf Course -- led by Steve Case, founder of America Online. The new holes on the now 6,954-yard, par-72 course are Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10 and 14.

Puakea was designed by Robin Nelson, dubbed "Mr. Hawaii" for being the state's most prolific golf-course architect. Nelson has designed or re-designed roughly one-third of Hawaii's nearly 80 courses, including The Dunes at Maui Lani, Royal Kunia and Mauna Lani.

The new holes, in addition to providing ocean views, feature three new lakes and a stream. They benefit from Nelson's insight, having played the original 10 holes nearly 40 times.

"Playing the course so often enabled me to better understand how the wind comes into play," says Nelson. "As a result, I was able to tweak the holes from my original design and make them play differently from any of the existing ones."

For example, Nelson says, one of the new holes is the only par-3 on the course that plays into the wind. Given the hole measures anywhere from 100 to 180 yards --- depending on the teeing area -- Nelson says hitting the large green can be quite challenging.

The first two holes at Puakea allow golfers to ease into their rounds and are straightforward. Beginning with No. 3, however, "the course begins to buckle down," says Nelson, who accompanies this information with a mischievous chuckle.

Nelson offers the approach shot at No. 3 as evidence: "The fairway is really wide, and the difficulty of your second shot is really affected by which side of it you're on, because you've got to angle your shot over a lake. Hit your tee shot to the right and you've got a good shot, hit it to the left and it's almost impossible."

Nelson's masterful architecture clearly conveys the routes one should take to achieve textbook pars. But he hints enticingly at ways to achieve gambling birdies that can quickly turn into bogies or worse.

"Puakea is instantly one of the best 18-hole golf courses in the state," says Joe Goodrich, Senior Vice President of BCG, operator of Puakea and more than 40 golf courses nationwide. "The conditions are fantastic."

Located on the former Grove Farm sugar plantation, Puakea is 10 minutes from the airport and five minutes from downtown Lihue. Puakea is nestled at the base of the dramatic Haupu Ridge adjacent to the lot where Steven Spielberg filmed "Jurassic Park."

For more information about Puakea, call (808) 245-8756 or toll free at (866) 773-5554, or visit puakeagolf.com.

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