10 Best Golf Courses In Hawaii
Hawaii Golf or Golf Hawaii — either way, these two words together represent a dream Hawaii vacation for the avid golfer. The courses listed here are among the best Hawaii golf courses and the best world-class golf courses. Golf course aficionados may debate over which courses should make the list every year, but everyone agrees that each golf course listed here is one of the best on the planet — and sure to give you a Hawaii golf vacation to remember. So, tee up!
Note: All golf course data have been verified through the PGA Aloha Section, 770 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 706, Honolulu, HI 96813.
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Makaha Resort & Golf Club, Oahu
The golf course known as “Makaha West,” William F. Bell’s 1969 masterpiece, remains one of the top golf courses on O’ahu. Acclaimed for its beauty as much as its rigor, Makaha West has been listed on the “Places to Play” for 2002 by Golf Digest, and named O’ahu’s number one golf course by Honolulu Magazine.
A classic course requires a variety of shots and just about every club in your bag. The 18 Hole, par 72, championship golf course stretches 7,077 yards from the “tips”, and holds a U.S.G.A. rating of 73.2, challenging both professionals and amateurs alike. Unlike some O’ahu courses, they allow cart access to all fairways so guests can enjoy the beauty of the Makaha area.
They offer a driving range, group and private lessons from a P.G.A. professional staff. The Pro Shop offers golf club and shoe rentals, as well as golf apparel and other accessories.
Makaha Resort & Golf Club is nestled between surrounding Wai’anae Mountains overlooking the Pacific Ocean, a serene, tranquil perfect getaway spot. With such amenities as 18-hole championship golf course, pro-shop, swimming pool, meeting rooms, banquet facilities, restaurant, lounge with entertainment, truly “Hawaii’s Hidden Secret”.
Poipu Bay Golf Course, Kauai
Poipu Bay is like no other golf course in the world. Here, nature (especially ocean winds) and renowned designer Robert Trent Jones, Jr. have conspired to create a stunning venue on Kauai, which for 13 consecutive years hosted the star-studded PGA Grand Slam of Golf. A unique and unforgettable golf experience awaits you on this course, one that will bring every aspect of your game into fresh and thrilling focus. For more information on the Grand Slam of Golf, click here.
The challening Poipu Bay Golf Course offers some exceptional amenities like an in-cart satellite navigation system that indicates your exact distance to the hole and pin placement — and a few slightly lower-tech amenities like an on-course beverage cart and refreshing cold towels. If you’re looking to tune up your game while on your Kauai vacation, Poipu Bay’s golf pros offer daily clinics and video instruction in addition to hosting group tournaments and a variety of youth programs. Poipu Bay Golf Course is 18 holes, Par 72 and 7,034 yards.
Princeville Course, Kauai
The Princeville at Hanalei Prince Course is one of the top golf courses in America, The Prince is Robert Trent Jones, Jr.’s masterpiece. Golf Digest named The Prince Course the Number 1 golf course in the State of Hawaii. Golf Digest also rated it Number 5 of the Top 75 Resort Courses in the world, and Number 66 of “America’s 100 Greatest Courses”.
The Prince is one of Hawaii’s most challenging golf courses, with a USGA course rating of 75.3 and a 145 slope. Five different tees on each hole allow you to set your own challenge, so even the worst duffer can spend an enjoyable day at this wonderful course. After a challenging round golfers can relax and enjoy themselves in the adjoining Princeville Golf Club, one of the most magnificent golf and clubhouse facilities in the world. The Princeville Course is 18 Holes, Par 72, and 6,960 yards
Ka’anapali Tournament Course, Maui
The Ka’anapali Golf Courses (formerly the Royal Lahaina Golf Club) lie at the heart of the Kaanapali Beach Resort. The Tournament North Course is one of only two golf courses in all of Hawaii designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and the only one on Maui (the other: Mauna Kea Golf Course on the Big Island of Hawaii). The North Course, Par 71 and 6,136 yards, is typical Trent Jones, with large, contoured greens that emphasize putting skill. The North Course is the more challenging of the two.
At 6,067 yards, the par 71 Resort South Course is a bit shorter, with smaller, subtle greens. The Kaanapali Golf College has pros available for lessons, and there are two putting greens and a driving range. Players can also enjoy use of the comprehensive clubhouse facilities and the clubhouse restaurant, Reilley’s Steak & Seafood.
Ko’olau Golf Course, Oahu
Ko’olau Golf Course, rated in Golf Magazine’s “Top 100 Courses to Play” and named the “#1 Golf Course on Oahu” by Golf Digest, is among the top — and toughest — US golf courses. Nicknamed “The World’s Most Challenging Golf Course,” the 200-acre course was carved out of 1,500 acres of jungle in 1991 as a private country club for high rollers. Due to its gargantuan scale and tropical terrain, freelance golf writer Tom Haynes describes Ko’olau as “monster jungle golf” (Golf Courses of Hawaii).
Located just a 20-minute drive over the Pali Highway from downtown Honolulu, you can’t beat this golf course for beautiful Hawaii golf. It has breathtaking mountain views, spectacular fairways surrounded by rainforest, and dramatic sights of the Pacific Ocean. Locals talk constantly about how tough this course is. The rule of thumb is to bring the same number of balls as your handicap. The 18th hole has two carries over a giant jungle ravine–both the drive and the approach shot. Ko’olau is a Par 72 course at 7,310 yards.
Hapuna Golf Course, Big Island
This course, which was named “GOLF Magazine’s” 1998 list of “Gold Medal Resorts,” was built on the side of a hill overlooking the ocean. It is a target type course with plenty of natural vegetation in play. Water hazards (three lakes) come into play on four holes. There are also some transitional or waste bunkers that are part of the course’s design. “Golf Digest” rated this course as the “Best Public Course” in the state for 1995-96 and, 11th in 1997-98. The USGA also rated this as one of the most environmentally sensitive courses anywhere in the U.S.
Course statistics: 18 Holes, Par 72, 6,875 yards
Mauna Kea Golf Course, Big Island
The incomparable Mauna Kea Golf Course on the South Kohala Coast offers golfers the perfect challenge to match their level of play. Created by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., the 18-hole championship course presents dramatic changes in elevation, large undulating greens, and 120 well-placed bunkers. Built in 1965, Mauna Kea was the first resort course on the Big Island.
There are incredible panoramic sweeps of sea and land, featuring snow-capped Mauna Kea, rugged lava beds, and the sparkling blue Pacific. One of the most spectacular features is the famous 3rd hole — where surging inlet water races to meet the rocky shoreline, affording one of the most breathtaking views in golf today.
The Mauna Kea Golf Course is 18 holes, Par 72 at 6,737 yards.
Kauai Lagoons Golf Club, Kauai
Once there, players will discover that the Kiele Course has a sense of style uniquely its own. Fairways weave along imposing ocean cliffs, over promontories high above the harbor, and among some forty acres of fresh-water lagoons that wind their way throughout the resort. Lush groves of exotic foliage thrive amongst the holes. A solitary rotunda sits on the water off the 17th tee and serves as an elegant and exquisitely romantic wedding chapel.
Each hole on the Kiele has a unique affiliation with an animal or mystical being – such as the Happy Buddha, Camel, Elephant, Hippo, Swan, Alligator and Dragon – and is marked at the tee box by a white marble statue set upon a three-ton granite base. The 18th hole features – what else? – the Golden Bear, in tribute to the golfer who master-minded the course. Kauai Lagoons Kiele Course is 18 holes, Par 72 at 7,070 yards.
Turtle Bay Palmer, Oahu
The Turtle Bay Palmer Golf Course features 7,199 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 72. Designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay, the course opened in 1971. Located on Oahu’s scenic North Shore, the Arnold Palmer Course is one of Oahu’s best and challenging golf courses. The course is home to the LPGA’s SBS Open and has hosted the PGA Champion Tour’s Turtle Bay Championship for several years.
The front nine’s rolling terrain, few trees, and lots of wind resembles a Scottish golf experience while the back nine holes, nestled in a forest of ironwood pine trees, is a total different experience. The Palmer Course is surrounded by the Punaho’olapa Marsh wetland preserve which is home to many endangered Hawaiian birds. The 17th hole is unquestionably the signature hole on the course with no less than nine craggy bunkers surrounding the landing area and extending all the way up to the green. The 17th green sits on a plateau only 100 feet from the ocean.
The Turtle Bay Resort and its golf courses have made the top 100 Golf Digest list of “The Best Golf Resorts” in North America several years. The course restaurant Lei Lei’s is a local favorite and should not be missed.
Waikoloa Beach Course, Big Island
Carved through the magnificent lava-flows along Anaecho’omalu Bay, the Beach course is a challenging yet scenic golf course that runs along the Pacific Ocean where views of breaching whales and vistas of the other Hawaiian Islands are not uncommon.
The Beach course features numerous sand bunkers, brilliant water holes and the most spectacular oceanfront par-five in Hawaii on the 502-yard, twelfth hole.
The course plays into an area steeped in history and legend. Built in 1981 by Robert Trent Jones, Jr,. the Beach Course is purposely relaxed and forgiving as in the spirit of Aloha. It is also a prime location for spotting humback whales. The Waikoloa Course is 18 holes, par 70, and 6,566 yards.
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