Featured Hole of the Week: Hole #18, Par 5
Hala, lonomea, coco palm, kukui, monkeypod and mango trees, and Singapore plumeria
The finishing hole at Kukui’ula has everything you would want in a great final hole: opportunity and drama, taking in the beautiful Kauai real estate populating the area. A wide variety of outcomes should be expected on this fantastic par five. Whether you need a birdie on the last to win your match or just needed to make a bogey and ended up with a triple to shoot your best score, the 18th hole at Kukui’ula promises to provide a thrilling finish to a wonderful set of 18 holes.
The Tee Shot
From the tee, players must avoid the bunkers on both sides of the fairway. This is the only hole at Kukui’ula that has bunkers on both sides of the landing area. This hole is often into the wind, so despite its moderately short distance for a par five, it can still be quite a beast.
The Second Shot
If you’ve just ripped one down the middle, you may have a decision here. It isn’t uncommon for players to have 200 yards or so left after their tee shot, and at times it can be irresistible to not go for this green in two shots.
Players going for the green in two must carry the large lake that rests in front of the green to avoid turning this “opportunity” into a disaster. A small strip of fairway exists to the left of the green, but it often tempts players into making a questionable decision from the fairway. If going for the green isn’t part of the plan, a wise layup is called for here. The lake begins at roughly 75 yards from green. Look to hit a layup shot that will leave you between 90 and 120 yards to give yourself the best chance at scoring on this approach.
If the wind is up, make sure to take enough club to carry the lake and the small green-side bunker short of the green. This green is very large from left to right but isn’t very deep, so distance control is critical. The real question here is “How much risk can you tolerate?” The safe play is to favor the left side of the green.
On the Green
This green generally runs from left to right. However, there is a small false front on the front right of the green that can send approach shots rolling back into the water. A small spine bisects this green right down the middle. Balls rolling down the spine tend to pick up quite a bit of speed. This is another huge green that is so long that lag putts should be handled with care.