Great Golf on Hawaii

The Big Island is filled with great golf options featuring all different kinds of experiences. For example, one day you could play at the breathtakingly beautiful Mauna Kea Golf Course and the next on the misty links of the Waimea Country Club surrounded by pastureland and cattle ranches (making you feel as though you're playing in Scotland). Typically, if you are staying in the same resort area that the course is located in, you can get a discount on the greens fees through the property you have booked; ask your travel agent for details.

Hamakua Country Club

Address : P.O. Box 751. Honokaa
Phone number :
808-775-7244

Fees : $10
Par : 33

Yards : 4,950
Slope : 101

The Hamakua Country Club is an unusual nine-hole layout located on the high- cliffed coastline that is marked by many beautiful waterfalls below the north- eastern slopes of Mauna Kea. The country club is about 20 miles east of Waimea-Kamuela and 60 miles north of Hilo. The Hamakua Country Club is very unusual in that the par-33, 2,520-yard layout (from the men's tees) is unlike any other in Hawaii, with seven of its nine holes intersecting with at least one other hole.

Holes 3,4, 5 and 9 cross their fairways at a single intersection! This is a very tight layout spreading over only 19 acres. Golfers on this course need to particularly careful when making long drives or when crossing intersecting fairways. This strange layout could be hazardous to the golfer on days when the course is crowded.

While the Hamakua Country Club has a club membership structure, it is open for public play as well. It is probably a good idea to play on weekdays, when there may be fewer golfers on the course and fewer balls in the air.

The clubhouse has a cocktail lounge but no food service is available. There is no golf pro shop at Hamakua, and like most nine-hole layouts, no golf carts to rent. But the green fees are among the lowest on the island, and Hamakua Country Club is a good choice for golfers who want to experience low-key play Hawaiian style on a short but tricky course.

Hilo Municipal Golf Course

Address : 340 Haihai Street. Hilo
Phone number :
808-959-9601

Fees : $25
Par : 71

Yards : 6,006
Slope : 118

This course has elevated greens, no sand bunkers, and tree-lined fairways. Water hazards come into play on about twelve holes. This is a great course for the average player.

The Hilo Open and various local tournaments are held here annually. The course can be crowded so reserve in advance.

Naniloa Country Club

Address : 120 Banyan Dr. Hilo
Phone number :
808-935-3000

Fees : $40
Par : 35

Yards : 2,875
Slope : 115

What this nine-hole facility lacks in structural elegance, it makes up for in local exuberance. Boasting the largest membership of any country club (over 2,000), the course is centered in the heart of Hilo on a resort peninsula. Because of the ample rainfall, the fairways have no bunkers, but lots of trees: pine, banyan, mango, palm, coconut and ohia.

Only four grass and four sand bunkers serenade the greens. Water is in play on three holes. Half of the golfers enjoy the healthy, tree-lined walk.

Walk-ons are invited (encouraged) to take this stroll or to use the driving range with its commodious bays.

Sea Mountain Golf Course

Address : P.O. Box 190. Pahala
Phone number :
808-928-6222

Fees : $40
Par : 72

Yards : 6,106
Slope : 129

The Sea Mountain Golf Course at Punalu'u offers a distinctly Hawaiian golf experience. The 18-hole, par-72 golf course measures 6,106 from the regular tees.

Starting at sea level, it moves up to 600 feet in elevation offering ocean views from every hole. The fairways at Sea Mountain are planted with common Bermuda grass, while the greens make for fast putting. C. Brewer Corporation developed the 435-acre resort, which includes the golf course, the Aspen Conference Center, four tennis courts and a swimming pool (free to golfers), and the Punalu'u Black Sand Restaurant.

The golf course, designed by Arthur Jack Snyder, was opened for play in 1974. The golf course's natural beauty can make it appear easy, but even the short holes can be deceiving. Sea Mountain offers complete facilities including a clubhouse with a restaurant, cocktail lounge, snack bar and locker room.

There is also a driving range and a fully-stocked pro shop with golf club and golf car rentals. Golf cars are required on the course. Open daily all year, reservations for tee times are required. About an hour's scenic drive from Hilo, this golf course and resort are certainly worth visiting.

Volcano Golf & Country Club

Address : 17th Hole.Golf Course Rd. Volcano Nat'l Park
Phone number :
808-967-7331

Fees : $60
Par : 72

Yards : 6,503
Slope : 128

The Big Island's oldest golf course, with roots back to the late 1920s, is set at 4,200 feet of elevation, just a driver/wedge from the entrance to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Crisp fresh air combining with the elevation delivers extra distance on well-struck shots even though cooler temperatures prevail. In the midst of stunning views of the Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea volcanoes and between pine and ohia trees is a delightful layout that offers more than a decent challenge.

The back nine has several marvelous holes with one of Hawaii's best par-5s.

Waikoloa Village Golf Club

Address : 68-1792 Melia St. Waikoloa
Phone number :
808-883-9621

Fees : $65
Par : 72

Yards : 6,230
Slope : 128

Nestled in the foothills of Mauna Kea overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Waikoloa Village Golf Course is truly one of Hawaii's most beautiful courses. This little piece of heaven is an oasis of emerald-green overlooking the Kohala Coast.

Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. the Waikoloa Village Golf Course fits harmoniously into the natural beauty of the setting. A course that is challenging enough for the serious golfer, but fun for beginners as well.

The 6,791-yard par-72 course has all of the characteristics of Jones designs, with additional challenges unique to this island landscape. A relaxed pace that is inviting and serene makes this course a favorite of local golfers, who consider it one of Hawaii's best-kept secrets.

With complete practice facilities available and a Pro Shop stocked with golf equipment and accessories the Waikoloa Village Golf Course is a great place to practice, shop and play.

Waimea Country Club

Address : PO Box 2155 Kamuela
Phone number :
808-885-8053

Fees : $70
Par : 72

Yards : 6,210
Slope : 125

Waimea Country Club's Scottish links design is set with views of both the ocean and Mauna Kea. The golf course is a great golfing escape where you will find some of the finest bent greens in the Hawaiian Islands.

The course was built on pasturelands and is surrounded by cattle ranches. Although it is wide open, there are many Ironwood trees that can affect your golf shots.

As you play, you will enjoy observing the wild turkeys, pheasant and ducks. This is not your typical Hawaiian resort golf course.

Big Island Country Club

Address : 71-1420 Mamalahoa Hwy. Kailua-Kona
Phone number :
808-325-5044

Fees : $85
Par : 72

Yards : 6,004
Slope : 126

Big Island Country Club located in Kona on Hawaii

The Big Island Country Club, on the slopes of Mauna Kea 2000 feet above the Pacific Ocean, on the Big Island of Hawaii, is an enjoyable playing experience but it can also be very challenging.

The views and beauty are remarkable and the course is maintained at a championship level. It is a very unique course. The tee options can vary the length from 800 to over 7000 yards so the course fits any level of golfer. The course also fits the environment and its beauty will have you reliving your round for many years to come.

Feature or signature holes are the four par threes, the par five sixteenth, and the ninth and eighteenth holes. Of the par three holes the seventeenth (17th) will undoubtedly be revered.

Makalei Hawaii Country Club

Address : 72-3890 Hawaii Belt Rd. Kailua Kona
Phone number :
808-325-6625

Fees : $110
Par : 72

Yards : 7,091
Slope : 143

The Makalei Hawaii Country Club showcases its spectacular 18-hole course 3000 feet above the coastline, just north of Kailua-Kona. Its cool elevation, fast bent grass greens and rolling fairways make you think you are in northern California.

This course provides a challenging test of golf with spectacular views of the mountains and the coastline of the island. Bring your A-Game when you tee up on this great 18-hole course.

Alii Country Club

Address : 78-70 Alii Dr. Kailua Kona
Phone number :
808-322-2595

Fees : $110
Par : 72

Yards : 5,828
Slope : n/a

The Kona Country Club at Keauhou Bay offers numerous golfing experiences. The club offers 36 championship holes, golfers find themselves playing over lava tube blow holes, look over onto the Pacific Ocean or admire ancient Hawaiian archeological sites. The golf course and Kona Surf Resort are situated between the Pacific Ocean and Mt. Hualalai, allowing you to admire ocean and mountain views.

After developing an additional nine holes onto the Mauka end of the course, the Ocean Front and Back Nine have now become the Kona Country Club and the Mauka Nine, with the additional newly developed nine holes, have become the Alii Country Club.

The Kona Country Club's Ocean course offers difficulty to golfers because the course is situated so close to the shoreline and has a strong crosswind. Being so close to the ocean, golfers may even get sprayed by ocean mist. The handicap-one hole, number 8, a 355-yard strong dogleg right features a long right fairway bunker lodged in the bend and a small green bunkered on the left. Out-of-bounds markers line the right side of this par-four hole.

Two of the Kona Country Club's back nine holes, the 12th and 13th, play along the ocean, giving additional hazards. The 13th, a 387-yard par-four hole offers additional difficulty, a blow hole, located on the shore line, about 100 yards left of the tee, formed from a lava tube which occasionally provides a "geyser-like fountain" of ocean mist. The 14th hole provides two right fairway bunkers in additional to a raised green which is bunkered on the left and right.

The Alii Country Club's Mauka course is located 500 feet above the coast, and provides sloping fairways, in opposed to the wider, flatter Kona Country Club's Ocean course. The fairways are concurrent to the ocean, and everything, including most greens, break toward the ocean.

The 7th hole, the number-one handicap 420-yard par four, is the club's PGA golf pro Ron Wohlemuth's favorite hole. He believes it to be the prettiest hole he's ever played. This hole features an elevated tee shot to a narrow landing area, and two right fairway bunkers and impinging lava. To make this tee shot successful, a gentle "right-to-left" shot should give you an advantage over the approaching sloping fairway. The approach is 130 yards from the right center of the fairway to a double-tiered mid-sized green, which is protected by a lake as well as a bunker at the back. Wohlgemuth recommends using brighter balls, possibly a yellow or orange, especially for tee shots, and to use inexpensive clubs when playing in lava.

The setting of the Alii and Kona Country Clubs, Keauhou, also have historical and archeological meaning. The birthplace of King Kamehameha III is located near the first hole of the front nine, as well as King David Kalakaua's Royal Beach House. Ancient Hawaiian archeological sites include the Kapuanoni heiau, or temple, as well as the Royal Holua Slide. Royal Holua was a milelong stone slide on which ancient islanders would race their kukui nut greased canoes along, can be viewed near the 1st hole of the Alii Country Club's Mauka course.

The Alii and Kona Country Clubs is also the host of the annual Paniolo Cup, a three-day men's amateur tournament.

The courses also offer a wide range of services including a driving range and a clubhouse with a fully-stocked pro shop,where clubs and golf cars can be rented. The Alii and Country Clubs also have the Vista Restaurant and Lounge, where breakfast, lunch, dinner, or just cocktails can be enjoyed overlooking the Keauhou ocean from each table. The Alii and Kona Country Clubs are a short 10 minutes from historic Kailua-Kona. Golfers should follow the Alii Drive south toward Keauhou Bay or take the Keauhou Bay exit on Highway 11 down King Kamehameha Road, and then go south on Alii Drive to the Kona Country Club entrance.

Kona Country Club

Address : 78-70 Alii Dr. Kailua Kona
Phone number :
808-322-2595

Fees : $130
Par : 72

Yards : 6,510
Slope : 133

Description

Mauna Kea Golf Course

Address : 62-100 Mauna Kea Beach Dr. Kamuela
Phone number :
808-882-5404

Fees : $150
Par : 72

Yards : 7,114
Slope : 143

This club, which hosts various local PGA events, has the reputation of having a difficult course and for setting the standard for many courses in Hawaii. One of its most famous holes is its signature hole, #3, a 210-yard, par 3, requiring a tee shot that must carry over 182 yards of ocean to reach the green.

To make a successful shot on this hole (with the unpredictable winds coming off the ocean) is a real thrill. There are several changes in elevation on the course, highlighted by holes designed to play uphill away from the ocean.

Special green fee rates apply if you play the Hapuna Golf Course during the same week. Tee times can only be reserved two days in advance for off-property guests.

Hapuna Golf Course

Address : 62-100 Kauna'oa Dr. Kamuela
Phone number :
808-882-5400

Fees : $195
Par : 72

Yards : 6,029
Slope : 122

An Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay design, the Hapuna Golf Course is the sister layout to the more renowned Mauna Kea across the street. But comparing the two is "apples and oranges." Mauna Kea is longer (7,165 yards) and more difficult, but Hapuna (6,875 yards) is more memorable because of its rugged beauty -- dark lava fields, tall brown grasses, emerald fairways and greens -- all topped with brilliant blue sky and ocean views.

Considered the most environmentally sensitive course in the islands (and near the top in that category on the mainland as well), this wild links course is a target golfer's dream, and just plain fun to play.

Ranging along a rumpled stretch of land rising to 700 feet above sea level, the layout overlooks the Kohala Coast and the Pacific. Inland, the Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanoes and the Kohala Mountains form a spectacular backdrop.

This beautiful course features spectacular views of the Kohala Coast and the Pacific, with snow-capped Mauna Kea volcano as a backdrop. Hapuna's challenging play and environmental sensitivity make it one of Hawaii's most unique golf courses. Though the layout may seem short by mainland standards, here in the islands courses like Hapuna become monsters when the trade-winds are howling.

If you catch it on a rare calm day, the main hazard is the narrow fairways. But factor in the wind, and all bets are off. It's possible to have a 10 to 15 mph wind in your face all day. From 7:30-10:30 in the morning it is in your face, and then it can do a 180-degree change so that you're facing it again on the back nine. The holes wind through kiawe (mesquite) scrub and jagged beds of lava.

The trip from greens to tees is a delight -- with tall grasses, waste bunkers, dense shrub, and massive fields of brown lava rocks that often seem to close in around you. Local rules say anything outside of the manicured areas of the holes is a lateral hazard and can be played accordingly.

Waikoloa Beach Golf Course

Address : 1020 Keana Place. Waikoloa
Phone number :
808-886-6060

Fees : $195
Par : 70

Yards : 6,566
Slope : 133

The Waikoloa Beach Golf Course winds its way through ancient lava fields along the breathtaking Kohala coastline, Waikoloa's Beach Course is, quite simply, resort golf at its finest. But don't let the swaying coconut trees and gentle ocean breeze lull you into a false sense of security.

The Beach Course can also be a significant challenge for quality players. The classic Robert Trent Jones Jr. design was literally carved from the lava flow along the picturesque Anaeho'omalu Bay. Immaculate greens are well-guarded by numerous white sand bunkers and strategically placed water features.

The crowning glory of the Beach Course is the 502-yard par 5 12th hole, known throughout the islands as the most spectacular oceanfront par-five in Hawaii. Not only is it a challenging golf hole, it's a great place to watch humpback whales and catch splendid views of the other Hawaiian Islands.

Waikoloa Kings Golf Course

Address : 1020 Keana Place. Waikoloa
Phone number :
808-886-6060

Fees : $195
Par : 72

Yards : 7,074
Slope : 133

For a rigorous test of golf skills, no facility on the Kohala Coast compares with Waikoloa's unique Kings Course. Designed by former British Open champion Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, the Kings Course offers golfers the best of two worlds - golf in an island paradise, on a course that more closely resembles a layout along the coast of Scotland.

With stunning views of the towering volcanoes of the Big Island framed by palm trees and vibrant flowers, you'll have no trouble remembering that you're golfing in paradise.

The 7,000+ yard links-style course snakes over and around an ancient lava flow and is best known for its wide undulating fairways, multiple tee placements, and challenging pot bunkers. To complete the Scottish links experience there's even a double green at holes 3 and 6.

North Course at Mauna Lani Resort

Address : 68-150 Ho'ohana St. Kohala Coast
Phone number :
808-885-6655

Fees : $200
Par : 72

Yards : 6,913
Slope : 136

The resort, which was named to "GOLF Magazine's" 1998 list of "Gold Medal Resorts," features two outstanding eighteen hole championship courses. On the North Course, rolling terrain and groves of Kiawe trees come into play.

The four finishing holes on the North Course are scenic and well designed. Hole #17 is the North Course' signature hole. This par 3, measuring 132 yards, requires a tee shot from an elevated tee to a green that is framed by a natural amphitheater formed by lava. Try to avoid the large lava rock and the sand bunker on your way to the green.

"Golf Digest" rated the North Course 74th under the 1996 category of "Top 100 Courses You Can Play in the U.S." I n the category of "Best in State," it was ranked 9th in 1997-98.

"GOLF Magazine" selected this course 75th in the 1998 category of "Top 100 Courses You Can Play in the U.S." Robin Nelson and Rodney Wright redesigned both courses in 1991.

South Course at Mauna Lani Resort

Address : 68-150 Ho'ohana St. Kohala Coast
Phone number :
808-885-6655

Fees : $200
Par : 72

Yards : 6,938
Slope : 133

The PGA Senior Skins Tournament is held on the South Course each January. "Golf Digest" rated this as the 11th "Best in State" course for 1995-96, and 12th in 1997-98. Highlighting the South Course are two holes that play alongside the ocean. Hole #15, a 196-yard, par 3, requires a tee shot over the ocean to the green, and is one of the most photographed holes in the world. Hole #7, a 214-yard, par 3, borders the Pacific Ocean and during the winter months golfers can enjoy watching humpback whales migrating offshore. The rough is rather thick. Most of the fairways are lined by the natural rough along with red and black lava rock. The lava rock is definitely something to avoid. Even if you are lucky enough to have your ball bounce back to the fairway your ball will never be the same. Most of the greens are flat where you can roll your ball to the flag. The speed of the greens is sometimes hard to determine and there are many subtle breaks.

***Note: We have attempted to provide accurate green fees, but prices can change. Please check with the golf courses directly for pricing.

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