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Wailua Golf Course


Getting To Know: Wailua Golf Course

An Insightful Interview With Ian K. Costa, Deputy Director, Department off Parks & Recreation

By Brian Weis

Whether you have played a course 20+ times a year or looking to play the course for the first time, insights from an insider can help enhance your golf experience. Below is an interview with Ian K. Costa who shares some valuable tidbits about the course, memorable holes and must eats and treats at the 19th.

Give Our Readers An Overview of the Golf Course/Property
Wailua Golf Course is set along side a mile long beach from end to end. It is one of the main sports attractions of the Garden Island. Former Assistant Director of the U.S.G.A. Frank Hanigan called Wailua "A magnificent course which quite simply is one of the most stunning I've seen, be it privately owned or municipally owned." Ben Crenshaw visited some years back and after going thru the golf course commented that he wouldn't change a thing on the golf course and was amazed that Mr. Toyo Shirai, who had no experience in golf course architecture had the vision to design such a great layout.

This par 72 layout was created from a wasteland of sand dunes and ironwood trees. Wailua GC has been dubbed the "Pebble Beach of the Pacific."
With just a few holes initially built in1920 which at the time served as a cow pasture, to an 18 hole championship layout in 1962, Wailua GC has been host to 3 National Amateur Public Links Championships: 1975, 1985 and 1996. Quite a prestigious honor for a municipal golf course way out in the middle of the Pacific. It was also a favorite for celebrities and pros alike from Phil Harris, Bing Crosby, Doug Sanders, Charlie Sifford and the likes. All this built without the benefit of a professional golf course architect.

If Someone Was Looking To Golf On the Island, Why Should They Play Your Course?
Beautiful Pacific ocean as a back drop and mountain views from every hole on the golf course. A challenging, old style layout that tests both amateurs and pros alike. A links style front nine that transforms into a tree lined back nine offers more than enough challenge and beauty. Value priced for both residents and visitors of Kauai.

What Tips or Local Knowledge Would You Provide To Help Them Score Better At Your Course?
Avoid our deep bunkers. Condition of our greens can be compared to any resort course on the island and reads true with little undulations (user friendly). Any shots hit over the green presents you with a difficult "up and down"

Recent Awards or What You Are Most Proud About The Course?
Year after year rated the top municipal golf course in Hawaii. Named #3 by the Golf Channel in 2014 for the top 5 courses in Hawaii, and the only municipal course within the top 5, and named among the best 15 golf courses in Hawaii by Golf Digest.

What Is The Signature, Most Talked About, or Most Photographed Hole?
Signature hole is the 173 yd. par 3, 17th hole. Elevated tee offers spectacular back drop of the beach, ocean and sky. Three strategically placed bunkers surround this green. Great viewing of the adjacent beach, ocean, marine life, and frequent whales, dolphins, and turtles.

What Is Your Favorite Hole? Any Tips to Play It?
2nd hole: a narrow dogleg left, par 4, rated the toughest hole on the golf course. The entire left side borders the beach. Once on the green you can look back into the bay to watch fishermen, surfers and beautiful bodies enjoying themselves. Hit your drive with a slight draw and you are presented with a challenging middle iron second shot to the green with bunkers on each side and O.B. running along the entire left side of the hole.

Must Have Dish or Drink after the round at the 19th Hole?
Must Have Dish: Hamburger Steak plate featuring local grass-fed beef and Fried Noodles
Must Have Drink: One of our specialty tropical drinks (ie. Mai Tai, Blue Hawaii), or one of our "Ice Cold" tap beers.

Who Holds Course Record and What Was Their Score?
The unofficial course record is 61, held by local Professional Danny Nishimoto. The lowest official score during a USGA Amateur Public Links Championship is by Tim Hogarth with a 36 hole score of 136 in 1996.

Back Tee Stats
Par: 72
Yardage: 6,981
Slope: 130
Rating: 73.6

More Information
Wailua Golf Course
3-5350 Kuhio Hwy
Lihue, Hawaii, 96766
(808) 241-4111


Revised: 05/06/2015 - Article Viewed 20,493 Times - View Golf Course Profile

About: Brian Weis

Brian Weis Brian Weis is the Publisher of, a network of golf travel and directory sites including,,,, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.

All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like, and It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.

On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.

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