Hokuala Ocean Course Review
Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii
Review by GolfTop18
Rating: 5 out of 5
Year Last Reviewed: 2023
More Info on Rating Criteria
Hokuala Ocean Course Overview: A perfect combination of golf hole variance, ocean views, lush grounds and great shot making requirements makes this Kauai golf course one of the best in the entire world. Redesigned in 2012 to make way for a couple of resort master plans in the rebranded Hokuala Resort, this Nicklaus golf course design meanders through jungles of mango trees and other Kauai foliage on the front nine and along the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean with the final six hole stretch being one of the most beautiful and challenging anywhere on earth. There are only a small number of golf holes where the adrenaline won’t be pumping on at least one shot, and it’s all in the wonderful Kauai climate. See the top golf holes review below:
Hokuala Ocean Course Hole 2: The front has three relatively short par fives, all of which provide good chances to score if a good drive is hit. This one is fairly wide-open on the tee shot, with the only real trouble being the large series of bunkers that sit on the right side of the 2nd shot and the green. The putting surface is wide, but very narrow with a low area over the green. Thus short irons played from the left are pretty easy, but holding the green with a long shot in is a more difficult proposition.
Hokuala Ocean Course Hole 3: This tough par four has bunkers in the middle of the fairway, which essentially makes the space between that and the trees on either side not very wide. The second shot is uphill to a tight and contoured green surrounded by a lot of bunkers that will make for tough up and down pars.
Hokuala Ocean Course Hole 4: Along with holes 1 and 7 on the front, this one is less memorable than the slew of great holes on this course, but, as a relatively short par five, it does provide a good scoring opportunity if two well struck shots can get the golfer near the narrow and tightly guarded putting surface.
Hokuala Ocean Course Hole 5: A great and beautiful par 3 with a long carry over an enormous and deep mango forest (that the player gets to drive his cart down and through in an uniquely Hawaiian experience). Anything short will fall to its doom or be mired in one of two huge bunkers that also wrap around the left side of the green. There is a bail out area right, but it’s still a long carry over the jungle. The backdrop of the coastal Kauai mountain ranges and native flora make this hole as beautiful as it is fun and challenging.
Hokuala Ocean Course Hole 6: A great Hawaiian par 5 dog leg right. The drive has a carry over another mango jungle and the farther right the drive goes, the longer the carry, but the shorter the second shot will be. This golf shot also brings the huge fairway bunker into play. However, if the drive is mastered, the green is relatively wide open and can be reached in two, although anything right is still either in a deep bunker (best case) or gone.
Hokuala Ocean Course Hole 8: A tiny, downhill par three with a small green that is fronted short and right by a pretty little lake. Simple on paper, but the trade winds have a tendency to blow shots right into the water. The over-careful tee shot will leave a downhill chip to a green running away from the player.
Hokuala Ocean Course Hole 11: One of the new holes, this par four is fairly straight but the fairway pinches in for longer drives. The green has a big bunker to the right and features a tier, making distance control key.
Hokuala Ocean Course Hole 12: This is a short, dogleg left par four and the main goal here is just simply to avoid the bunkers. They are deep and turn a fairly simple hole into a real problem. The green is also raised and usually tough to hold, so distance control is very important, but played with a short iron or wedge, quite manageable.
Hokuala Ocean Course Hole 13: This is where the golf course really begins to heat up with a long par four headed straight to the Pacific. The downside to the hole is the proximity to the landing strip of the Lihue airport. While no drive could ever hit a plane, it can't get loud from time to time. The green is also tiered and tough to putt.
Hokuala Ocean Course Hole 14: A world-class, beyond beautiful, one-shot masterpiece over a cove in the Pacific Ocean. Anything short or left will find the largest water hazard in the world. The green has a tier and the surrounding traps are plentiful. Very scary, but very fun, and a hole the player will never forget.
Hokuala Ocean Course Hole 15: One of the new golf holes after the course redesign, this par four has a bunker that general wisdom would stay to the right of. The player can fly it or go left, but if hit too far, it will run down the cliffs. The green is cut behind the coastal edge and a couple of deep bunkers and the downhill nature of the shot adds complexity.
Hokuala Ocean Course Hole 16: Set on a lava peninsula by a lighthouse, the tee shot should be an iron hit about 200 yards. If pushed right, it will find a steep hillside, which will make the approach shot a lot more dangerous. However, if pulled, it will find the Pacific Ocean. The straight shot will leave a wedge to the downhill peninsula green with ocean short or left and a deep collection bunker behind. The green is rock hard and the ideal shot will find the right front edge of the green and collect to the middle. Chasing after a left pin placement is foolhardy and should never be attempted. The views are unparalleled and this is another hole that won’t be forgotten.
Hokuala Ocean Course Hole 17: A short peninsula par 3 into the prevailing trade winds. The green is very shallow and anything misjudged that misses the water will most likely catch the horseshoe shaped bunker that wraps around the right 50% of the green, but take enough club to stay dry.
Hokuala Ocean Course Hole 18: A tough, but memorable finish to a great golf course. The drive on this 400+ yard hole must be hit well to leave a short shot to the island green, which is surrounded, not only by water, but by bunkers as well. Anything pushed right will find the water on the drive as well.