Article: The Prince Course
By Wayne Halm –
“Fantasticer”, is that a word? When you take something that is already fantastic and make it even more so, is fantasticer the word? I hope the editor allows it, to me fantasticer captures the renovated Prince Course perfectly.
The already fantastic Prince Course, located at Princeville on the north shore of Kauai, has undergone a 7 million dollar renovation. For those who have played the course before it is obvious that the money was well spent; for those who have not it is clear that things were done right. New Bermuda fairways, Seashore Paspalum greens, redesigned holes, improved drainage, and soft snowy white silica sand bunkers; oh yeah, fantasticer.
This course is special; that becomes evident upon arrival. The Club House and the Pro Shop are very upscale and are destinations in themselves. Vacation golfers should allow time to visit after their round; if they buy but one shirt in Hawaii, they will want it to be there. The restaurant and bar overlooking this beautiful course are great places to tally the bets and rehearse the tales of the round; the tales will be told again.
The practice facilities are both awesome and representative of the course; big downhill drives really are common and multi-tiered greens are the norm. All golfers should arrive early enough to use these facilities to warm up, determine their high percentage shots, and develop some ego control.
The Prince Course is not a casual golf course; golf is played here, real golf. Standing on the first tee golfers suspect that something special is about to happen, and they are right. Golfers who resist temptation, play within their game, and figure a route to the green using their high percentage shots, are going to be rewarded handsomely, those that don’t are going to get rid of the old balls in their bag.
Before the renovation the Prince Course was known for it’s appetite for golf balls. From my experience the renovation work did not change that; the course will swallow a poorly struck ball without even a burp. It is a brave golfer who tees up Pro-V1s on the Prince Course.
This appetite was recently demonstrated to me on the twelfth hole, a mid length, comfortably wide par 4, with a tee box on a cliff 200 feet above the fairway. I looked down, studied the fairway and green, and decided that par was possible. I lined up down the left side, kept my head down, put a little extra into the swing, and struck the ball cleanly. The swing felt good and I looked up to see my ball sailing out over the fairway; I smiled. Then both the ball and the smile began to fade and I was frowning by the time my ball disappeared in to the tops of the trees on the right. Yes, my ego was bruised, but it got some relief when I watched a scratch golfer in our group tee up and do exactly the same thing; such things happen on the Prince Course, it demands ego control from everybody.
A careful reader and avid golfer might wonder why I was teeing off ahead of a scratch golfer. Well, on the previous hole, a par 3, his ball landed near the pin and bounced off the back of the green, mine landed on the front and rolled toward the pin; such things happen on the Prince Course.
The par 3s are all playable for a bogie golfer. True, the one perched on the cliff 500 feet above the blue Pacific is challenging; even so the golfer who has developed an attachment to his golf ball can bail out to the right and chip back to the green.
The par 5s are all simply spectacular. Lakes, ravines, elevation changes, and abundant natural beauty all tug at golfer’s attention and demand admiration. Golfers should use the GPS, plan their shots carefully, and concentrate during execution; the fantastic scenery is even fantasticer with your ball lying in the fairway.
The par 4s … wait, give me a second to think … no, there are no run of the mill par 4s on this course. They all have something besides length for the golfer to consider. The fairways run over ravines, off a cliff, along side a cliff, down the mountain toward the ocean, and up to a waterfall that empties into a ball devouring stream.
The rough is hard to find on the Prince Course, there is not much of it and it is cut almost as short as the fairways. This is a double edged sword, it is easy to play from, but it does little to stop your ball from rolling into the jungle.
Bunkers, what can a bogie golfer say about bunkers – avoid them. The Prince Course has its fair share of bunkers, they are really quite pretty in contrast to the lush green of the fairways and greens, still, if possible they should be admired and not played from. I often joke that “I had rather be in the water than in the sand – because I can always get out of the water in one stroke”; it is a joke, but on the Prince Course it is a serious joke.
Of interest to golfers at my skill level, the Prince Course is not completely lined with houses. The only things at risk on my tee shots are the ball and my pride; fantasticer!
I ask you not to laugh at my word, fantasticer, until after you have played the renovated Prince Course. Then, if you can think of a better word, you can laugh; if you can not, you are welcome to use fantasticer.
For tee times call 808-826-5001 or visit http://www.princeville.com/golf/prince-golf-course
Come play golf with me.