Puakea Golf Course on Kauai - No. 17
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Puakea Golf Course on Kauai - No. 17
The 17th hole on Puakea Golf Course is a long par 4 that plays with some wind at your back. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
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Puakea Golf Course on Kauai - No. 3
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Puakea Golf Course on Kauai - No. 3
The third hole on Puakea Golf Course is a short par 4 defended by water. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Puakea Golf Course on Kauai - No. 6
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Puakea Golf Course on Kauai - No. 6
The first real standout hole on Puakea Golf Course is the par-3 sixth, which plays sharply downhill over water. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Puakea Golf Course on Kauai - driving range
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Puakea Golf Course on Kauai - driving range
Puakea Golf Course attracts a mix of locals and visitors to either play golf or just use the driving range. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Puakea Golf Course on Kauai - No. 11
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Puakea Golf Course on Kauai - No. 11
The par-5 11th at Puakea Golf Course plays out towards the ocean. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Puakea Golf Course on Kauai - No. 13
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Puakea Golf Course on Kauai - No. 13
Robin Nelson designed Puakea Golf Course, which calls on the golfer to always pay attention to the trade winds. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Puakea G.C. on Kauai - No. 12
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Puakea G.C. on Kauai - No. 12
Puakea Golf Course's par-4 12th features a well protected green. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Puakea Golf Course on Kauai -  No. 13
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Puakea Golf Course on Kauai - No. 13
The par-3 13th hole at Puakea Golf Course is as long as 225 yards. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Puakea GC on Kauai - No. 14
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Puakea GC on Kauai - No. 14
Puakea Golf Course's downwind, par-4 14th hole has a slightly elevated green. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Puakea Golf Course on Kauai - clubhouse
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Puakea Golf Course on Kauai - clubhouse
Puakea Golf Course has a clubhouse with a full pro shop, restaurant and bar. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor

Puakea Golf Course in Lihue, Hawaii: Championship, value-laden golf on Kauai

LIHUE, Hawaii-- Located in the heart of Lihue, and just minutes from Kauai's main airport is Puakea Golf Course .

Puakea dates back to 1991 and represents Kauai's golf course middle-ground. It's a shade less expensive than the island's premium resort courses while offering better conditions and experience than the island's municipal course and other daily fees.

The golf course was designed by Robin Nelson and plays to a championship standard from the back set of tees at 6,954 yards. The course routing, which has two generations of holes (10 holes built prior to Hurricane Iniki and the following eight in 1997), has an ingeniously subtle course routing that always factors in the Hawaiian trade winds. The result is that no back-to-back hole -- and in many cases no back-to-back shot -- plays into the same wind direction.

While the golf course begins near the center of Lihue, there are some notable holes on the front nine, such as the par-3 sixth that features the course's largest elevation drop from tee-to-green. By the back nine -- especially the long, scenic par-5 11th hole -- it plays into open, natural spaces along the Kauai mountains. Like every course on Kauai, ocean views are present throughout the round.

Puakea has great practice facilities that include a full driving range and short-game area. While the clubhouse and pro shop are made up of two double-wide trailers, the food in the restaurant is quite good and also features a full bar.

Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Advisor. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at BrandonTuckerGC.
Related Links
Puakea Golf Course is like that shy girl in your office who wears thick glasses and keeps her hair up in a bun. Then she shows up to the company Christmas party a total knockout, hair down and in a tiny, backless dress. Don't let first impressions fool you at Puakea, or you'll miss a real beauty on Kauai.
The island of Kauai has a handful of the best resort golf courses in Hawaii, but for the more frugal traveler, that doesn't mean you're priced out of a round while on the Garden Isle. Kauai may have one of the highest concentrations of top-ranked courses in Hawaii, but it also offers some great bargains on top plays.
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Puakea Golf Course in Lihue, Hawaii: Championship, value-laden golf on Kauai
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