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Golfing in Hawaii

When it comes to golf in Hawaii, too many choices may be the biggest concern.  In South Kohala and North Kona alone there are 14 courses from which to choose.  Below is a summary of the most awarded courses in the area.

Hualalai ResortThe Jack Nicklaus Signature Course at Hualalai hosts the first Champions Tour event each year here on the dry Kohala Coast.  Television viewers see a an impossibly green course artfully carved through a field of black lava, bordered with the bright blue waters of the Pacific.  Lava rock formations backdrop greens, line bunkers and traps, and serve as inhospitable out of bounds. Fairway 17 plays from the lava fields to the ocean’s edge, with Maui’s Haleakala rising through the clouds in the distance.

The second Hualalai course, Ke’olu, is reserved for members.

Mauna Lani Resort

Mauna Lani Resort’s two championship golf courses, Mauna Lani North and South, offer a challenging experience to novice and professional golf enthusiasts alike. Mauna Lani has received Golf Magazine’s Gold Medal Award every year since 1988. The courses are masterpieces of design, each strikingly different, yet equally challenging. Each course is a world apart geographically, and in playing experience. Golf Magazine awarded course managers “One of the Top Ten Green Resorts” for environmental stewardship and conservation.

Both the North and South courses are breezy island layouts that will soothe your nerves no matter what you score. Numerous archaeological sites are preserved throughout the courses, including the trails, fishponds and rock carvings (petroglyphs) of ancient Hawaiians.

The South Course snakes through the stark, rugged a’a lava of the prehistoric Kaniku lava flow, offering golfers panoramic mountain and ocean views. The South Course is home to No. 15, one of the most photographed over-the-water golf course holes in the world. The fairways are composed of Bermuda grass and the rough is thick. Most of the fairways are lined by natural rough along with pahoehoe and a’a lava rock. The lava fields must definitely be avoided.  If you are lucky enough to have a ball bounce back to the fairway, it will not be the same.

Mauna Lani’s North Course represents the quintessential Hawaiian golf experience.  Built on a lava bed, the North is characterized by rolling terrain punctuated by Kiawe (mesquite) forests.  Number 17, a par three tucked into a natural lava amphitheater, is one of Mauna Lani Resort’s signature holes and a favorite “I was here” photo spot. A 230-acre protected archaeological district lies on the northern boundary of the golf course. Herds of feral goats frequent the entire golf course, moving from hole to hole throughout the day.  The North Course has fast become one of the most popular tournament venues on the Island.  The North Course, with its sinuous brown pahoehoe (smooth) lava, emphasizes rolling fairways. Groves of twisted kiawe trees along the fairway edges and a more pronounced topography make the holes seem quite a contrast from the south 18. Water hazards come into play, and several holes are contiguous with the ocean.

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

The incomparable Mauna Kea Golf Course 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 recognized views in golf today.

Since 1964, the Golf Course at Mauna Kea has led the way in standards of course beauty and design, solidifying its place in Hawaii’s history as one of the most scenic and favored golf courses.  Guests of the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel can take advantage of the golf course’s superior amenities including world-class practice facilities that feature a driving range, and putting green. Brush up on your technique with a private lesson or group clinic at the golf resort.

Without changing the essential character of his father’s design, Rees Jones Inc. recently re-planted the championship Course with highly efficient ultra-dwarf Tifeagle Bermudagrass on the greens and Tifway 419 hybrid Bermudagrass on the tees, fairways and roughs. State-of-the-art irrigation systems, liners in the bunkers, and advance drainage improvements keep our Hawaii golf course in top shape and save on environmental resources. The number of bunkers has been increased to 99, overall yardages have expanded by about 200 yards from the tips, and multiple tees will challenge all levels of players.

Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel

The course 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 come into play on four holes, and transitional or waste bunkers that are part of the course’s design. The USGA rated this as one of the most environmentally sensitive courses in the U.S.

The Arnold Palmer/Ed Seay-designed 18-hole championship course settles into the dramatic natural contours of the land from the shoreline to about 700 feet elevation. This beautiful course features spectacular views of the Kohala Coast and the Pacific, with snow-capped Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, and Kohala Mountains as a backdrop. Hapuna’s challenging play and environmental sensitivity make it one of Hawaii’s most unique golf courses.

Waikoloa Beach Resort

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 humpback whales.

The golf experience at Waikoloa Beach Resort fires the competitor and inspires every golfer with bold greens against rugged lava blacks, the vast blue Pacific beyond and the brilliant Kohala Coast sunshine overhead. Two breathtaking Big Island golf courses wait for your best game. Prove yourself at the Robert Trent Jones, Jr. Beach Course. Take it to the next level at the Kings’ Course, designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish. And let the satisfaction sink in, surrounded by color, immersed in the moment, blown away by Big Island golf.

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.

Ready to Search for Golf Properties?

Unfortunately, our advanced search feature cannot search by golf course neighborhoods.  But Diana ss happy to separate them out and email you a current list.  Just contact Diana and let her know what you are looking for!


Diana J Woods R(B), CIPS, RSPS, CRS, ABR, GRI, CLHMS, GREEN
MacArthur Sotheby's International Realty, 65-1279 Kawaihae Road #105, Kamuela HI 96743
(808) 937-9807
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