Draped like an emerald carpet along high bluffs overlooking Hanalei Bay on Kauai’s surf-fringed North Shore, Princeville Makai Golf Club is a Robert Trent Jones Jr. design that opened to rave reviews in 1971. After a multi-million-dollar redesign (also by Jones), the track reopened in 2010 to even more critical acclaim.

With backdrops ranging from the azure shores of the Pacific to several inland lakes and dense woodlands, the 7,200-yard Makai course is a lush, tropical Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program member (the endangered ‘alae and ae’o birds call the area home) that offers five cliff-top holes. The signature 213-yard No. 7 boasts an intimidating tee shot over the Pacific Ocean’s raging surf below to a green menaced by brilliant white bunkers and decorated with distracting views of the mountains and the sea. Four sets of tees on it, as well as on every other hole, make it playable for most.

The extensive re-do of the golf course involved the installation of bright green, saltwater-tolerant seashore paspalum turf on all fairways and greens, creating consistently fast, firm, near-flawless surfaces. Adding to the postcard-perfect setting are the newly blocked bunkers filled with pure white G3 silica sand.

Guests can expect a country club-style experience at Makai, which is managed by Troon Golf, one of the premier luxury golf course management companies in the world. Après golf, it’s lunch under an umbrella on the lanai of the Makai Grill in the clubhouse, followed by a Hawaiian Salt Glow and sports massage in Halele'a Spa, next door at the ritzy St. Regis Princeville Resort.

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