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Getting To Know: Puakea Golf Course

Getting To Know: Puakea Golf Course

An Insightful Interview With Melissa Dupuis, Regional Marketing Manager, Billy Casper Golf Hawaii

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 Melissa Dupuis 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
Puakea Golf Course is conveniently located in Lihue, just minutes from the airport and harbor. Sports Illustrated's website ranked Puakea 15th Best in State in 2014 for Hawaii. Build amid the lush landscape of Mt. Haupu that offered the backdrop to Jurassic Park, Puakea treats golfers to astounding views of deep ravines, mountainous terrain and lush tropical foliage. With 7,000 yards and four sets of tees, golfers can chose their layout challenge. Puakea is complete with a residents' favorite for breakfast at the Ho'okipa Café and a 40-stall grass hitting stalls, chipping area and practice green to kick-start their round. Built on an old sugar cane plantation, Puakea was once described by its golf course architect, Robin Nelson as "the perfect risk-reward course". Puakea has been ranked as "Best in Kauai" the last several years by the Garden Island Newspaper, the local Kauai paper. With its local charm and Aloha spirit of the staff, Puakea is 'A Place to Call Home".

Interesting fact: owned by AOL founder, Steve Case

"Puakea may be the most fun course to play in Hawaii. The course rides up, down and around deep ravines. It has beautiful, pali views on about three-quarters of the course and ocean views for the rest. Each of the holes are distinctly different so you're constantly facing new, interesting challenges. " Robin Nelson - Golf Course Architect

If Someone Was Looking To Golf in Kauai, Why Should They Play Your Course?
Puakea offers a unique and fun golf experience at a very value price. With four sets of tees, golfers can 'pick their poison' for each round. The first few holes are nice holes, but when golfers reach the par 3, #6 hole, they are WOW'ed by the lush tropical landscape they think of in Kauai. The rest of the course winds its way around deep ravines with the backdrop of Jurassic park, Mount Haupu in the distance. The owners are (Steve Case and) Grove Farm and as you would assume, there is a huge variety of lush, tropical, flowering trees all along the course, offering golfers a treat of Hawaiian foliage.

What Tips or Local Knowledge Would You Provide To Help Them Score Better At Your Course? Better to be below the hole on your approach into the green. Many of the greens run off the back (and down into a ravine) so if you can hit a bump and run approach or putt from just off the green on most holes, the better chance you have of staying on the green. Invite a resident to come out and play with you - we always get visitors who love to play 'with the locals' who help to show them around the course!

Recent Awards or What You Are Most Proud About The Course?
-Best of Kauai last several years (rated by Kauai residents) - Garden Island Newspaper
-Sports Illustrated's website ranked Puakea 15th Best in State in -2014 for Hawaii
-Ranked 15th in State, Golf Week Magazine 2013
-1997 Sports Illustrated rated Puakea Top 10 9-hole courses in the US, stating the Puakea Golf Course "is too spectacular to keep off our list...dramatic in the extreme, the course offers fabulous views of the Pacific and is built amid volcanic cliffs, massive ravines, giant sinkholes and lush tropical undergrowth."

What Is The Signature, Most Talked About, or Most Photographed Hole?
#6, a downhill par 3 (176 yards) that drops 200 feet down to the green over a ravine with the backdrop of Mount Haupu in the distance.

What Is Your Favorite Hole? Any Tips to Play It?
I love the par 5, 11th hole, stretching 560 yards. Off the tee, hit it straight down the middle. Your second shot is the tricky one, you can 'go fot it' hitting over a large down slope, trying to reach the upper level fairway (but if you miss, it rolls down down down); for those with less risk in their game, lay up on your second shot to just before the end of the lower level fairway and then play up to the left upper side of the fairway on your third shot (or the green!). Great view of the Pacific Ocean from the elevated green on this hole.

Must Have Dish or Drink after the round at the 19th Hole?
Korean BBQ chicken is delicious, a little kick to it (but not too spicy). It comes on a bun, but I like it over white rice. OR if it's after the round, the loco moko is delicious! (but food coma afterwards!)

Back Tee Stats
Par: 72
Yardage: 6954
Slope: 135
Rating: 73.3

More Information
Puakea Golf Course
4150 Nuhou St.
Lihue, HI, 96744

Revised: 05/11/2015 - Article Viewed 37,387 Times - View 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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