Golf On The Big Island

Hawaii Golf

The Big Island of Hawaii has some of the most magnificent courses to choose from. Some are crafted by the biggest names in course design and the Big Island is often referred to as the “Golf Capital of Hawaii.” When you play the courses it will quickly become clear why. Just try to concentrate on your swing when the corner of your eye is quickly distracted by the pristine beauty of black lava-lined fairways and palm tree-speckled greens with rhythmic crashing waves just beyond the bunker. You'll be playing on one of the most beautiful golf courses you’ve ever seen. There are plenty of courses to discover along the Kohala Coast, such as the Jack Nicklaus designed Hualalai Golf Course, the championship Francis H. Ii Brown courses of the Mauna Lani Resort and the Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed courses at Mauna Kea Resort. Play the two courses of the Waikoloa Beach Resort designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. and the Ocean Course and Mountain Course of the Kona Country Club. If you like the challenge of playing over and near water, you will love the Waikoloa courses. Water comes into play on many of the holes, playing over water on several of them. The Waikoloa King Golf Course was designed by Weiskopf & Morrish and is the twin of the Beach Course. It is a par-72 course with a double green. Several virtual tours can be found on the vthawaii web site.

Course descriptions below courtesy of, links provided will connect you to the reviews and detailed information on their website. Information about other courses can be found at as well.

Hapuna Beach Course

The Mauna Kea Resort has been famous for its golf ever since the legendary Mauna Kea Golf Course opened back in 1964. Nearly thirty years later the Hapuna Golf Course opened and immediately the accolades started rolling in. The USGA even called Hapuna a course of the future. The Hapuna Golf Course is one of the most natural you will find anywhere in Hawaii. Rising to an elevation of 700 feet above sea level the golf holes fit exquisitely into the contours of the land. The views here are spectacular and seemingly endless. Every direction you turn provides a new look from the sparkling blue Pacific to the dramatic Big Island topography. And as always, the awe-inspiring beauty of the slopes of Mauna Kea looms in the distance.

Hualalai Golf Course

Hualalai GolfJack Nicklaus carved a spectacular layout out of the Big Island's stark black lava to design the Hualalai course... one that is so good that it has been the home of the Champions Tour season opening Mastercard Championship since 1997. Nicklaus has created a wonderful blend of holes that can stretch to over 7,117 yards and feature some very high shot values not to mention spectacular scenery from every hole. The back nine has two unique par 3's one inland and one that sits right at the edge of the sea. The 112th is a shortish par 3 reminiscent of the famous 6th hole at Riviera. This very large green has a bunker right in the middle which effectively turns this into four very small greens. The par 3 17th hole at Hualalai Golf Club is Hawaii's seaside golf at its best. Like the 12th this hole is not overly long but requires precision and accuracy. 360 virtual tours can he found here.

Mauna Kea Golf Course

There are few experiences that can equal the one at Mauna Kea Golf Course. Still considered to be one of the benchmarks by which other island courses are judged, the course has consistently held a spot in Golf Digest's top 100. It embraces all the values of a great resort golf course: natural beauty, dramatic views, strategic design and memorability of the holes. It was only after crumbling two pieces of volcanic rock together that Robert Trent Jones Sr. told resort developer Laurence Rockefeller that he could build a golf course here. And build one he did. The Mauna Kea Golf Course was christened on Dec. 8, 1964 when the three most popular golfers in the game - Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player arrived at Mauna Kea for Big Three golf. What they found was a test like they had never seen and the Mauna Kea Golf Course proved to be a great challenge.

Mauna Lani Courses

Mauna LaniThe North Course is built on the lava bed much older than the Kaniku flow and the result is a smoother lava called Pahoehoe. The layout features rolling fairways and Kiawe forests that come into play on many of the holes. The signature hole on the North is the 17th, a short but charming par 3. Golfers play from an elevated tee down to a green that is surrounded by the lava. Even though this is a short shot judging the distance is tricky because of the elevation change.  The South Course is built on the 16th century Kaniku lava flow, a relatively young flow that produced a stark, rugged lava called a'a. The layout presents a terrific challenge and on several occasions takes you right out to the sea. Here on the South you will face two breathtaking par 3's. The 7th can be stretched to well over 200 yards but does play downhill. Once you've reached the green here your work has just begun because this putting surface is massive and features three distinct tiers. The back sides 15th is one of the most photographed golf holes in the world. This tee shot is not as difficult as the one at the 7th but is equally as pleasurable. Take your time here and savor the experience.

Waikoloa Beach Resort

Kings CourseThe Beach Course was Waikoloa's first – opening back in 1981. Don't let the yardage of this layout fool you. Even though it plays to just under 6,600 yards the par is a very strict 70. The course was carved out of an ancient lava flow and winds it's way around historic petroglyph fields and fishing shelters. Designed by the world famous team of Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish the 7,074 yard Kings’ course meanders over and around the ancient black lava flow, and its wide, undulating fairways are framed by palm trees and vibrant flowers of Hawaii. The Kings' Course plays inland towards the ancient mountain of Mauna Kea, ever present in the distance. The course is a strategic layout that requires a player to think his way around the course. Multiple tee placements, strategic lakes and challenging pot bunkers add complexity to the experience.