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Kukuiolono Golf Course & Park, Kauai

The Kukuiolono Golf Course & Park in Kalaheo is one of Kauai's best-kept secrets. In a part of the world where spectacularly gorgeous golf courses can sometimes have spectacularly high prices to match, this little jewel of a golf course will not burn a hole in your wallet -- and it's fun.

Originally built as the personal golf course of sugar magnate Walter D. McBryde, Kukuiolono is now a delightful 9-hole public course. The course and park are about 1-mile south (towards the ocean) on Papalina Road, up hill from the intersection of Highway 50 and Papalina Road (the only traffic light in Kalaheo). Facilities include a driving range, pro shop, snack shop, putting green, and Japanese Garden. You can rent golf clubs and/or golf carts, though carts are optional. You can play (or just hike) all day for under $10 apiece.

McBryde must not have been a very straight shooter of golf balls, because the fairways are abnormally wide, making play fun for beginners who slice and hook the ball left and right. With fewer hazards than other Kauai courses and very wide and forgiving fairways, Kukuiolono is a good walk unspoiled. And the view...

Perched atop a hill overlooking the ocean, the scenic park and golf course offer a panoramic perspective of the southwestern portion of Kauai. McBryde donated the course and adjacent acreage to Kauai's people in 1919. So say thank-you to Mr. McBryde as you pass his grave near the 8th tee, which is in the middle of a lovely Japanese garden (where many a wedding ceremony is performed). Though he may never have hit a hole-in-one, Mr. McBryde became one with the land that he so loved.

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