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Best 9-Hole Golf Course of Kauai, Hawaii: Kukuiolono

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Best 9-Hole Golf Course of Kauai, Hawaii: Kukuiolono
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Kukuiolono golf.

How did an article about golfing turn into a meditation about how Scrooge McDuck shaped my early impressions about Scottish people? If there was ever a case of stereotypical profiling, he was it. Those classic drawings by Carl Barks of Donald the Duck's uncle putting around inside his vault made me think that Scots pinch their pennies in order to hoard money and they like to play golf.

I apologize to Scotland for having fallen completely for the fantasy of Scrooge McDuck. By the way, thanks for Sean Connery, Scotch whiskey, and AC/DC.

There was a real life version of the Scottish man of means who liked to play golf who lived on the Island of Kauai, Hawaii.

Walter McBride was one of the barons of sugar cane who had so much money that it was not easy to count. He claimed a historic lookout point to create his own golf course. The private playground of the sugar king was later donated for public use, and old Walter now lies buried beside the eighth tee in a memorial garden so beautiful that people get married there. It's in the town of Kalaheo on a plateau above the south side of the island. Here's a map to help you find it.

Kukuilono means the light of Lono in Hawaiian, and that lookout sentry thought the fabled God of Peace was returning when he spotted the ship of Captain Cook "discovering" the Hawaiian Islands. Cook cruised the coastline before arriving in Waimea town where his statue is a monument. During the annual festival of Makahiki, all disputes and even war is postponed. Captain Cook and his crew enjoyed their first taste of the Hawaiian culture. He made the mistake of returning for an encore to Hawaii, but the peace festival was over and Cook was killed and eaten in a dispute about a missing rowboat.

This lookout point is one of the rest stops along the nine holes of Kukuiolono Golf Course. You need rest stops because when Walter laid out his golf course, he did not send a bulldozer to sculpt the landscape. He used the lay of the land and there was lots of it. He knew he could never squeeze in 18 holes, but he did create the longest 9 holes that you might ever see. Some of the tees have you trying to loft a ball over something that looks like a mini Grand Canyon!

That reminds me of the driving range. Stop by there to hit a bucket of balls before you even go on the course. You are going to need the warm up. Wait till you catch the view from the driving range. On a clear day you might see all the way to the Forbidden Island. Also, just because you like to play 18 holes on a regular basis, don't plan to go around this course twice in one day. Be careful when you are driving your cart over the hills and valleys. Don't get stuck or you may suffer the humiliation of having your cart towed back onto the fairway. They should really have dune buggies for this course. Resist the temptation to play polo and look out for the chickens .

In the spirit of the penny pinching Scrooge McDuck, this is the best deal in golf that you will ever find. The rates are too low to even mention so get yourself a 12-pack for the cooler and load up your cart. Look closely at the photograph next to this article and notice that the golfer is wearing his slippers! Most other golf courses on Kauai don't have a dress code, but if you show up looking like Larry the Cable Guy, you might get steered into the Pro Shop for a wardrobe upgrade. At Kukuiolono, you can wear your bathing suit.

There's a nice little restaurant for lunch, so try the Mahi Mahi sandwich. They lock the gate in the evening so move your car to the little parking lot outside the gate. Join the legion of walkers who come for the exercise after the danger of flying golf balls has subsided

.My buddy and a famous radio personality, Warren Duffy, wrote a book called " Kauai's Incredible North Shore ". I was honored when he approached me with the task of providing maps and illustrations for the hiking guide. That effort took me beyond the casual slumming around in Paradise that I had been indulging in. I had visited Oahu , Maui, and the Big Island, but now my focus became on a tiny island that has the vote as the most beautiful place on Earth.

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