The Mauna Kea Golf Course, located on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island, was one of the first courses to be carved out of black lava. This challenging, par-72, 18-hole championship course is considered one of Hawaii's top three fields of play.
With their varied topography and sweeping vistas, the Hawaiian Islands are among the world’s top golfing destinations. From championship courses that host some of the game’s biggest tournaments to hidden gems that only the locals know about, Hawaii has such a range of options that you could spend more than one vacation golfing without ever having to repeat a course.
Keep in mind that Hawaii’s weather can be as varied as its landscape. That can make a golf game more interesting - or simply frustrating if you are not prepared. Pack that rain gear along with your aloha shirt before you hit the links.
The eyes of the golfing world are on Maui’s Kapalua Resort every January when it hosts the PGA Mercedes Championship. Arnold Palmer designed the Bay and Village courses. The Plantation Course was designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore.
Kauai’s Princeville Golf Club, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., 18-hole Prince Course, is considered the top golfing destination in all of Hawaii. There are 45 holes in all, running along green bluffs beneath craggy mountain peaks, offering stunning views in every direction.
Book your tee times as far in advance as possible. Hawaii is an international golfing destination so some courses fill up as much as a year in advance.
If you haven’t booked a tee time in advance, it never hurts to put your name on awaiting list for last-minute cancellations.
As with any outdoor activity in the islands, be sure to dress in layers for the inevitable change in weather, and always, always wear sunscreen and a hat.
Oahu’s Ewa Beach Golf Club is the island’s best-kept golfing secret, located at the far end of the Ewa plains. Playing here is unlike anywhere else, with the Waianae mountain range in the background and the remains of a kūlanakauhale (ancient Hawaiian fishing village) adjacent to the course. For spectators, each January the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu hosts the Sony Open as part of the PGA Tour.
Wailea Golf Club, on Maui's south shore, features three separate courses: the Blue Course, designed by Arthur Jack Snyder design, and the Emerald and Gold courses designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr.
The Big Island’s Mauna Lani Francis H. I'i Brown Championship Courses features two resort courses, North and South, with a combination of oceanfront and interior lava-lined holes as well as championship-level golf.
Kauai’s Poipu Bay Golf Course, on the island’s south shore, is a 210-acre, links-style course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. that winds through 390 acres of scenic tableland, tropical jungles, waterfalls, streams and ravines.
My wife and I moved to Hawaii so we could enjoy its award-winning courses year round.