While many travelers must leave their hobbies at home, a golfer’s vacation is a chance for once-in-a-lifetime games on some of the most beautiful and challenging courses in the world. If your dream vacation includes a few hours out on the links, then the Big Island is the destination for you. Make sure you take a few hours during your trip to check out these golfing experiences:
Take a tour in miniature through the beauty of the Hawaiian landscape on the Hualalai Golf Course. This Jack Nicklaus signature 18-hole course sends you on a journey from a lush oasis through fairways bordered in black lava before ending at the seaside. Got a younger golfer in the family? The Four Seasons offers discounted rates for juniors and children.
For those looking for a challenge and those seeking an incredible view, the Hapuna Golf Course offers both. This Arnold Palmer/ Ed Seay championship course begins at almost 700 feet above sea level and winds its way down through dramatic elevation changes, with panoramic views of the Pacific and Maui.
First built by Robert Trent Jones, Sr and updated by Rees Jones Inc, the Mauna Kea course boasts the latest in environmental protection and conservation. Enjoy more bunkers and longer yardages on pristine fairways in a resort setting. Other amenities include GPS trackers in the carts, as well as the new “golfboards” for a fast, easy way to travel around the course.
Makalei’s Kona course offers a unique Big Island golfing experience, located as it is inland in a lush jungle setting. Bent greens, cinder cones, and lava tubes are just a few of the features you’ll find, as well as the stunning native flora and fauna that surrounds you on all sides.
Big Island Country Club
Carved from the lower slopes of the Mauna Kea mountain, the Big Island Country Club course was designed by Perry Dye to be enjoyed by golfers of all levels, from beginner to expert. Here residents and visitors alike can play through rolling greens, gentle hills, and water features on 9 of the 18 holes.
This course is a bit of a cheat, as it is a private, community course open only to locals. Still, if you know anyone who can get you in on their tee time, it’s worth the effort. Kohanaiki offers a five-star service in an environment that includes nods to Hawaii’s past, including traditional rock shrines and anchialine ponds. The dramatic fairways run right along the shore, with challenging lava rock hazards and smooth greens.
And last but not least is Hokulia. Another Jack Nicklaus course, it features the designer’s commitment to creating a thoughtful and holistic game across deceptively simple terrain that requires skillful decision making as well as physical technique. The flow of the course takes a golfer from sea level up to 400 feet, with ocean views and balmy breezes the whole way.