Hawaii is known for its stunning beaches, lush landscapes, and welcoming culture, making it a popular destination for tourists. But what many may not know is that Hawaii is also a golfer’s paradise, with over 70 golf courses spread across the islands. With so many options, it can be difficult to determine the best golf courses in Hawaii. In this article, we will explore what makes a golf course the best, the top golf courses in Hawaii, and some tips for playing golf in this tropical paradise.
What makes a golf course the best can be subjective, but there are some common factors that contribute to a golf course’s overall excellence. These include scenic views, a challenging layout, well-maintained greens and fairways, and a variety of holes to test a player’s skills.
Now, let’s take a look at the best golf courses in Hawaii.
- Mauna Kea Golf Course: Located on the Big Island, this ocean course offers stunning ocean views and challenging holes designed by legendary golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Sr.
- Kapalua Plantation Course: Home of the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions, this Maui course features breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the West Maui Mountains.
- Princeville Makai Golf Club: Nestled on the North Shore of Kauai, this course offers panoramic ocean views and challenging holes that wind through lush Hawaiian landscape.
- Ko Olina Golf Club: This Oahu course boasts beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean and the Waianae mountain range and was designed by renowned golf course architect Ted Robinson Sr.
- Manele Golf Course: Located on the island of Lanai, this course offers stunning views of the ocean and the island’s rugged landscape, with holes that challenge even the most skilled golfers.
What sets these golf courses apart from the rest? Each has its own unique features that make it stand out. For example, the Kapalua Plantation Course boasts a signature hole, the par-3 17th, which requires players to hit over a natural ravine. The Mauna Kea Golf Course has a championship history, having hosted multiple PGA and LPGA Tour events. And the Manele Golf Course features a unique layout that incorporates the island’s natural terrain and lava rock formations.
If you’re planning on playing golf in Hawaii, there are a few things to keep in mind. Be prepared for windy and rainy conditions, as the weather in Hawaii can be unpredictable. It’s also recommended to book tee times in advance, as these courses can be popular and may fill up quickly. And for a more authentic experience, consider hiring a caddie to guide you through the course and offer tips and advice.
In conclusion, Hawaii offers some of the most beautiful and challenging golf courses in the world. From ocean views to unique layouts, these courses are sure to provide a memorable golfing experience for players of all levels.
- Experience breathtaking views while challenging yourself on one of Hawaii’s many golf courses.
- The best golf courses in Hawaii offer scenic views, challenging layouts, and well-maintained greens and fairways.
- Don’t forget to book tee times in advance and consider hiring a caddie to enhance your golfing experience in Hawaii.
The Best Golf Courses In Hawaii
Hawaii is known for its picturesque beaches, lush green landscapes, and world-renowned golf courses. Among these stunning courses, there are a select few that stand out as the best of the best.
In this section, we will take a closer look at the top five golf courses in Hawaii, including the challenging Mauna Kea Golf Course, the breathtaking Kapalua Plantation Course, the scenic Princeville Makai Golf Club, the luxurious Ko Olina Golf Club, and the exclusive Manele Golf Course. Each course offers a unique experience for golfers, making them a must-visit for any golf enthusiast.
1. Mauna Kea Golf Course
Overview: Opened in 1964 and designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., Mauna Kea Golf Course has set the standard for golf in Hawaii with its innovative design and stunning coastal views.
- Known for its over-the-ocean 3rd hole, one of the most photographed in the world.
- Offers panoramic views of the Kohala Coast and the Pacific Ocean.
- Features undulating fairways and fast greens.
Experience: Mauna Kea’s blend of natural beauty and challenging play makes it a must-play. The course requires precision, especially on the signature 3rd hole, where the ocean breeze comes into play.
Mauna Kea Golf Course in Hawaii offers a picturesque golfing experience with stunning ocean views and challenging play. Here are steps to fully enjoy this course:
- Arrive early and warm up on the practice facilities at Mauna Kea Golf Course.
- Take in the breathtaking scenery as you tee off on the elevated first hole at Mauna Kea Golf Course.
- Navigate the strategically placed bunkers and water hazards throughout the course at Mauna Kea Golf Course.
- Appreciate the well-maintained greens and fairways at Mauna Kea Golf Course that enhance the overall playing experience.
- Enjoy the variety of holes at Mauna Kea Golf Course, from long par 5s to short par 3s, providing a well-rounded test of skill.
- Take advantage of the on-site amenities at Mauna Kea Golf Course, like the clubhouse and pro shop, for a complete golfing experience.
Like a tropical maze, this course will have you lost in awe of its beauty and your ball.
2. Kapalua Plantation Course
Overview: Famed for hosting the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions, the Kapalua Plantation Course is set amidst the picturesque West Maui mountains, offering stunning ocean views from every hole.
- Designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.
- Features dramatic elevation changes and challenging greens.
- Unforgettable views of the Pacific Ocean and neighboring islands.
Experience: Playing at Kapalua Plantation Course is a test of skill and strategy, with the trade winds adding an extra layer of challenge. The 18th hole, a lengthy par 5, is particularly iconic for its breathtaking downhill slope towards the ocean.
The Kapalua Plantation Course in Hawaii is renowned for its stunning beauty and challenging layout. With breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and neighboring islands, this course is a favorite among professionals and amateurs alike.
Its undulating fairways and fast greens provide a true test for golfers. The signature hole, the par-3 17th, offers a dramatic downhill shot to a green surrounded by natural hazards. In addition, the course is home to the PGA Tour’s Tournament of Champions, further adding to its prestige. Playing at the Kapalua Plantation Course is an unforgettable experience that combines natural beauty with a world-class golfing challenge.
3. Princeville Makai Golf Club
Overview: Situated on Kauai’s north shore, the Princeville Makai Golf Club is a Robert Trent Jones Jr. masterpiece, renowned for its stunning vistas of Bali Hai and Hanalei Bay.
- Offers six oceanfront holes and several more with ocean views.
- Features wide fairways and large, undulating greens.
- Ranked among the top 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses in America by Golf Digest.
Experience: The course’s beauty is matched by its playability, making it enjoyable for golfers of all skill levels. Sunset golf is particularly spectacular here, offering one of the most scenic golfing experiences in the world.
Princeville Makai Golf Club, located in Hawaii, offers a memorable golfing experience with stunning views and challenging holes. Here are some steps to enhance your experience at the renowned Princeville Makai Golf Club:
- Arrive early to warm up and enjoy the breathtaking scenery.
- Take advantage of the practice facilities to fine-tune your swing.
- Pay attention to the prevailing winds, as they can significantly affect your shots at Princeville Makai Golf Club.
- Appreciate the unique layout, which incorporates natural features like cliffs and oceanfront holes.
- Enjoy the well-maintained greens and fairways, which add to the overall experience at Princeville Makai Golf Club.
For an unforgettable round of golf, Princeville Makai Golf Club is a must-visit destination in Hawaii.
4. Ko Olina Golf Club
Ko Olina Golf Club is renowned as one of the premier golf courses in Hawaii, offering a one-of-a-kind golfing experience. Its breathtaking scenery, challenging layout, meticulously maintained greens and fairways, and diverse range of holes make it truly exceptional. With signature holes, a rich championship history, and unique features, this course stands out among the rest.
To fully appreciate the experience at Ko Olina Golf Club, it is recommended to come prepared for potential wind and rain, reserve tee times in advance, and consider hiring a caddie for expert guidance. Whether you are an experienced golfer or a novice, Ko Olina Golf Club guarantees an unforgettable and pleasurable golfing experience in the stunning Hawaiian surroundings.
Fore a picturesque round with oceanfront views and challenging holes, Manele Golf Course won’t take a swing and a miss.
5. Manele Golf Course
Manele Golf Course in Hawaii offers a one-of-a-kind golfing experience with its breathtaking ocean views and challenging layout. To fully enjoy your time at Manele Golf Course, follow these steps:
- Take in the stunning views of Hulopo’e Bay and the Pacific Ocean as you play your round.
- Test your skills on the course’s strategic design, featuring rolling fairways and undulating greens.
- Appreciate the well-maintained greens and fairways, providing a smooth and enjoyable playing surface.
- Experience a variety of holes, including par-threes overlooking the ocean and long par-fives.
- Marvel at the signature holes, such as the iconic 12th hole, where you tee off over a natural gorge to a green perched above the crashing waves.
With its unique features and stunning location, the Manele Golf Course is a must-visit for golf enthusiasts in Hawaii.
6. Wailea Golf Club – Gold Course, Maui
Overview: The Gold Course at Wailea Golf Club is a championship-level course that combines rugged natural beauty with a challenging layout designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr.
- Features strategic bunkering and a thoughtful design that uses the natural terrain to enhance the challenge.
- Offers stunning ocean views and excellent conditions year-round.
- Known for its exceptional service and amenities.
Experience: The Gold Course is both beautiful and demanding, requiring golfers to use every club in their bag. It’s a true test of golf that rewards thoughtful play and offers some of the most spectacular ocean views in Maui.
7. Kauai Lagoons Golf Club, Kauai
Overview: This Jack Nicklaus-designed course is famous for its long stretch of oceanfront holes, offering unmatched views of the Pacific and a unique golfing experience.
- Features the longest stretch of ocean holes in Hawaii.
- The course winds through lush forests and around serene lagoons.
- Known for its excellent conditioning and challenging layout.
Experience: Playing Kauai Lagoons is an adventure, with the ocean breeze influencing play and the natural beauty of Kauai providing a stunning backdrop. The back nine, in particular, offers some of the most picturesque golfing in Hawaii.
8. Turtle Bay Resort, Oahu
Overview: Turtle Bay Resort is home to two premier golf courses, but it’s the Palmer Course that truly stands out. This Arnold Palmer-designed course offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and plays through dense jungles and wetlands.
- Features 18 holes of championship golf with a stunning seaside setting.
- Known for its challenging play and impeccable course conditioning.
- The course layout incorporates natural habitats and offers scenic views of the ocean and the North Shore.
Experience: Golfers at Turtle Bay Resort can expect a mix of challenging holes and scenic beauty. The course demands strategic thinking, especially with its signature 17th hole, a par-4 with an ocean backdrop that is both daunting and beautiful.
9. Ocean Course at Hokuala, Kauai
Overview: The Ocean Course at Hokuala, another gem designed by Jack Nicklaus, boasts the longest continuous stretch of oceanfront holes in Hawaii, making it a standout for its dramatic coastline views.
- Known for its impeccable maintenance and beautiful, rolling greens.
- The course layout offers a diverse challenge with significant changes in elevation and strategic use of natural water features.
- Offers unmatched views of the Pacific Ocean, especially at the signature 14th hole.
Experience: Playing the Ocean Course is an unforgettable experience, with ocean breezes and panoramic views at every turn. The course is a true test of skill, offering everything from risk-reward holes to demanding tee shots and approaches.
10. Poipu Bay Golf Course, Kauai
Overview: Adjacent to the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa, Poipu Bay Golf Course is renowned for its stunning ocean views and challenging layout. This course was the long-time home of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.
- Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., it features undulating fairways and greens protected by bunkers and water hazards.
- Offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and lush, native vegetation.
- Known for its historical Heiau (sacred Hawaiian stones) situated throughout the course.
Experience: Golfers at Poipu Bay enjoy not only the challenging play but also the course’s integration with the natural landscape, including deep ravines and large greens. The course is a blend of beauty and challenge, with the trade winds adding an extra layer of difficulty.
11. Hapuna Golf Course, Big Island
Overview: Set on the dramatic Kohala Coast, the Hapuna Golf Course offers stunning vistas of the Pacific Ocean and the island of Maui. The course is characterized by its rugged terrain and is known for its environmental sensitivity.
- Designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay, this course is a par-72 layout that stretches through a dramatic natural landscape.
- Features rolling fairways, challenging greens, and strategic bunkers, all set against the backdrop of the ocean and snow-capped Mauna Kea.
- Utilizes natural contours and native flora, offering a unique golfing experience.
Experience: The Hapuna Golf Course is both a challenge and a delight. Its elevation changes demand precise shot-making, while the panoramic views provide a serene and unforgettable golfing experience. The 11th hole, a par-3 with the ocean as its backdrop, is particularly memorable.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are The Top Golf Courses To Play In Hawaii?
The top golf courses in Hawaii are Nanea, Kapalua – Plantation, Mauna Kea Golf Course, Manele Golf Course, and many more.
What Is The Process For Ranking Golf Courses In Hawaii?
GOLF Magazine uses a panel of over 100 expert panelists who have played courses all over the world to rank the best golf courses in Hawaii.
What Is The Best Public/Resort Golf Course In Hawaii?
According to GOLF Magazine’s rankings, the best public/resort course in Hawaii is Kapalua – Plantation, known for its stunning ocean views and unique design by David McLay Kidd.
What Is The Top 100 Value Course In The U.S.?
The top 100 value course in the U.S. according to GOLF Magazine’s rankings is Cabot Barrens in Nova Scotia, Canada.
What Are The Best New Resort Courses In Hawaii?
The best new resort courses in Hawaii according to GOLF Magazine’s rankings are Kukuiula Golf Course and The Club at Hokulia, both designed by renowned golf course architects.
What Is The 100 Best Short Courses In The World?
According to GOLF Magazine’s rankings, the 100 best short courses in the world include World Woods in Florida, Old Macdonald in Oregon, and Pine Barrens Course in New Jersey.