No more turf war at Kiahuna

Not only can resident and visitor golfers choose from a wide variety of ocean and mountain courses, but they can also choose their grass.

Owners and operators of Kiahuna Golf Club have replaced the original Bermuda turf on the fairways and greens with sea shore paspalum, the only course on the island offering that different feel and roll, they said.

“Kiahuna is very excited for our turf-enhancement project to conclude, which is currently projected to occur by calendar year end 2005,” says Ron Castillo, Jr., PGA, Kiahuna Golf Club director of golf.

“Kiahuna is the only golf course on Kaua’i with this type of grass on its greens and fairways, and it adds to the excellent mix of courses that comprise the golf-destination cooperative,” he said.

Sea shore paspalum came from Africa on ships to America, specifically South Carolina, where the grass was dumped into the harbor. The grass started to grow on the shore banks, and over time adapted to the salt water and became salt-tolerant.

Key benefits of this grass are it requires fewer chemicals for weed and pest control, which means it is one of the world’s most environmentally-friendly. Salt can be applied directly to weeds, and kill them but not the surrounding grass.

Reclaimed water with high salt content can be used for irrigation.

Furthermore, sea shore paspalum has no grain, unlike Bermuda grass, which is found on 90 percent of the golf turf used in Hawai’i. This makes putting easier for golfers from the Mainland, many who are not well-versed in reading grain on greens.

“Aesthetically, sea shore paspalum is an enhancement as well,” said Castillo. “It is a darker green than Bermuda grass, making Kiahuna’s over-all look more lush and playable.”

Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., Kiahuna is a par-70, 18-hole layout measuring 6,885 from the back tees, the Gold Ilima tees, and carrying a 73.5 rating and 134 slope.

There are four sets of tees, so players of all abilities have choices. The forward tees, Red Ohia Lehua, measure 4,887, with a 64.4 rating and 114 slope.

A world-famous golf course designer, Jones skillfully included many ancient remnants of an authentic Hawaiian village into the design of the Kiahuna Golf Club.

Opened in 1984 in Po’ipu, the golf course recently underwent extensive restoration work that continues with the turf-re-placement and other projects.

“We are pleased that Kiahuna Golf Club continues to provide visitors to Kaua’i with the latest experience-enhancing conditions,” says Sue Kanoho, executive director of the Kaua’i Visitors Bureau.

“Our golf-destination partnership and its member clubs and resorts, Kaua’i: Discover Golf’s Ultimate Island Green, are dedicated to offering visitors with amenities which ensure their satisfaction and enjoyment,” she said.

Kiahuna Golf Club officials and designers incorporated well-preserved remnants of a Hawaiian agricultural village into the course surroundings. These include irrigation aqueducts, lava tubes, a heiau (Hawaiian temple), and the remains of a Portuguese house, with a Portuguese oven and crypt built in the early 1800s.

For more information or to book tee times, please call 742-9595, or visit

Kiahuna owners and operators are part of a golf-marketing group that includes Princeville Makai and Prince courses, Poipu Bay Golf Course, Kauai Lagoons and Puakea, for a total of 135 holes.

Including Kukuiolono Golf Course and Wailua Golf Course, there are 162 holes of golf on the island.


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