Kauai’s first golf course

Contrary to popular belief, Kauai’s first golf course is not the Wailua Golf Course, which was originally laid out on a Lihue Plantation cow pasture in the fall of 1920 as a course of three holes by The Garden Island newspaper editor Charlie Fern, banker Jim Corstorphine, James Spalding and Dan Arcia.

In point of fact, Kauai’s first golf course, comprised of six holes, was established in Lihue in 1898, under the direction of the Lihue Literary Society, on land contiguous to the Fairview Hotel, which was located about where the big banyan tree now stands at Kalapaki Villas alongside Rice Street.

Quite a few people were present at Lihue Golf Course when it was opened to the public on Feb. 10, 1898.

Among them were: Republic of Hawaii Senator and former Governor of Kauai under Queen Liliuokalani William Hyde Rice and Mrs. Rice, W.J. Lucas, Mr. Boswell, Mr. and Mrs. H. Wishard, Mrs. W.H. Hogg, Miss Grace Sharpe, Mr. Hardy, Dr. Watt, A. Dempster, William Henry Rice and William Thompson.

At the close of that first afternoon’s play, a match between Dr. Watt and William Henry Rice versus A. Dempster and William Thompson was played that resulted in a draw of three holes each.

In November of that year, a golf team made up of Mr. Dempster and Mr. Anderson of Kauai won a match at Lihue Golf Course against a Honolulu team, and Mr. Howard of Honolulu was victorious in a match against Mr. Anderson.

However, Lihue Golf Course and no other golf courses appear to have been in operation on Kauai as of Sept. 24, 1920 — the day Honolulu businessman G.L. Samsom arrived on Kauai with his golf clubs and set about looking for a place to use them, which was just around the same time that Charlie Fern and his friends were designing their golf course in a Wailua cow pasture.


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