Hokuala, a Timbers Resort on Kauai has big plans for its golf course, residences, hotel and more

LIHUE, Hawaii -- A renovation of the front nine of the Ocean Course at Hokuala -- along with new private residences, a new clubhouse and boutique hotel -- are all in store for Hokuala, a Timbers Resort on the South Shore of Kauai.

As part an $800,000 development and renovation, Colorado-based Timbers Resorts -- one of the largest independent developers and operators of private boutique resorts and residence clubs in the world -- took over the former Kauai Lagoons in 2015 and renamed it Hokuala. It's the second property for Timbers Resorts in Hawaii, with the other being The Residences at Kapalua Bay in Maui.

Once a 36-hole property, this Nicklaus signature course has been reduced to 18 holes. Now called the Ocean Course, the back nine was renovated a couple of years ago with new bunkers, irrigation and a couple new holes and Tif-Eagle greens. The front nine is scheduled to be shut down this year to get the same treatment and should reopen by Nov. 1. Walking trails are currently being developed on one of the closed nines.

A three-hole practice course is also being planned to augment the existing practice facilities and teaching program.

"It's just going to raise the bar on everything," said Kellie Hines, head golf professional at Hokuala. "That's why our name is so appropriate -- Hokuala, rising star."

Real estate opportunities at Hokuala

Meanwhile, Timbers Resorts is using the foundation of a failed development on the 450-acre property a few years ago to build luxury residences, many of them for fractional ownership, along the coast and back nine of the golf course. By using the existing foundations, the company can build closer to the water than it could have with the new laws that forbid construction within 500 feet of the shoreline.

When complete, Hokuala will include an array of real estate opportunities beginning with Timbers Kauai -- Ocean Club & Residences followed by hotel serviced bungalows and villas, cottage homes, custom half-acre home sites with golf course and mountain views and The Residences at Ninini Point, a luxury golf neighborhood located on the front row of the resort with panoramic views of the Pacific.

In addition, the resort will feature a retail shopping village and a boutique hotel featuring a destination spa, multiple dining options, extensive pools and romantic wedding venues with dramatic views. Prices for whole ownership opportunities will range from approximately $2 million to $6 million for the oceanfront townhomes and condominium residences. Shared ownership opportunities are offered in multiple club use plans starting in the mid-$300,000s.

The new development also will include a tennis garden and an 8,000-10,000-square-foot clubhouse that will house a golf shop, bar and grill, and banquet facilities. The clubhouse will be built by the dock where property owners will be able to use water taxis to get around the resort. The boutique hotel is also being planned, but a construction date has not yet been divulged.

Property owners will be part of the Hokuala Club, which will give them preferred tee times and other golf opportunities. However, the Ocean Course will remain a resort course, open to the public.

The course, which originally opened in 1988, remains one of Hawaii's most stunning layouts. At 7,156 yards, it features two completely different nines. While the back nine with its five holes along the ocean (the most continuous seaside holes of any course in Hawaii), gets much of the publicity, the front nine has plenty of character, too. Most notably, the par-3 fifth, which plays over a deep ravine, is one of the most stunning non-ocean par 3s on the islands.

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.

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Hokuala, a Timbers Resort on Kauai has big plans for its golf course, residences, hotel and more