Sat. Jul 20th, 2024
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From the Big Island to Kauai, these are the best Hawaii golf courses.

For most travelers, a Hawaii vacation means sunny beaches, poolside lounging, and perhaps exploring volcanoes, rainforests, waterfalls, and marine life. For fans of the game of golf, a trip to Hawaii means playing some of the most beautiful and challenging courses in the world. Each island offers a golf experience that’s unique to its environment — black lava rock on the Big Island, volcano views on Maui, lush greenery on Kauai, and historic courses on Oahu.

Hawaii’s fairways, greens, and tees are some of the best vantage points for enjoying the islands’ spectacular scenery. We’ve rounded up some of the best places to play golf in Hawaii, from local public links to posh resort courses and country clubs. Choose your favorites and hit the practice range to get your game ready for the best Hawaii golf courses.

Maui Golf Courses

The Plantation Course

The Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf
DAVE SANSOM/COURTESY OF KAPALUA GOLF

Home of the annual PGA TOUR’s Sentry Tournament of Champions, this challenging course features wide, hilly fairways, dramatic elevation changes, and stunning ocean views from nearly every hole. The course, designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, underwent a major renovation in 2019 and has maintained its reputation as one of the best golf courses in Hawaii.

The Bay Course

The Bay Course at Kapalua Golf
COURTESY OF KAPALUA GOLF

Designed by Arnold Palmer and Frances Duane, this course is considered to be more player-friendly than the Plantation. Views of the Pacific and neighboring Hawaiian islands make playing The Bay Course a thrilling experience, and its picturesque 17th is the only golf hole in Maui to play over the ocean.

The Royal Kaanapali

Sunset at Kā'anapali Golf Courses
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COURTESY OF KĀ’ANAPALI GOLF COURSES

Built in 1962 and designed by Robert Trent Jones, this historic resort course features large contoured greens and sloping fairways. From the ocean to the foothills of West Maui, this course features panoramic views of the sea as well as the islands of Lanai and Molokai.

King Kamehameha Golf Club

King Kamehameha Golf Club
COURTESY OF KING KAMEHAMEHA GOLF CLUB

This private golf course is located on the slopes of the West Maui Mountains. A “Guest for a Day” program allows non-members to enjoy the challenging course. Tiered greens, scenic water features, the Frank Lloyd Wright clubhouse, and views of the coast, valley, and Mt. Haleakala make playing the course a memorable experience.

Kahili Golf Course

Set in the West Maui Mountains, this hillside course opened in 1991. The par-72, 6,554-yard course features breathtaking views and challenges for golfers of all levels, with elevation changes, wind, and long par fives. The course is set in a secluded location, away from resorts and residences.

Wailea Golf Club

Emerald Course at Wailea Golf Club
BRIAN OAR

Three different courses, with 54 holes in all, feature ocean views and elevations as high as 300 feet above sea level. Wailea Gold Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., is the most challenging, with rugged terrain, natural undulations, and lava rock walls. From the sloping fairways of the Blue Course, golfers have views of Wailea, Mt. Haleakala, and the ocean. The Emerald Course is known for its ocean backdrops, flowers, and player-friendly layout.

Lanai Golf Courses

Manele Golf Course at Four Seasons Resort Lanai

Manele Golf Course at Four Seasons Resort Lanai
COURTESY OF FOUR SEASONS RESORT LANAI

The only 18-hole championship course on the island, the Manele Golf Course is open only to guests of the Four Seasons Resort Lanai. This Jack Nicklaus Signature course, built on lava outcroppings, features ravines, cliffside greens, and ocean views from every hole.

Kauai Golf Courses

Poipu Bay Golf Course

Sunset at Poipu Bay Golf Course
COURTESY OF POIPU BAY GOLF COURSE

This Robert Trent Jones Jr. design is located next to the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa on Kauai’s south shore. Set along a 150-foot cliff with views of mountains, ocean, and Poipu Bay, the challenging course hosted the PGA Grand Slam of Golf from 1994-2006. Ancient stone walls and the remains of Hawaiian religious temples are preserved along the course.

Kukui’ula Golf Course

Golfing at Kukui'ula Golf Course
COURTESY OF KUKUI’ULA GOLF COURSE

Located at The Lodge at Kukui’ula, the oceanfront course is open to guests, along with The Club at Kukui’ula and other amenities. The Tom Weiskopf design has its challenges, especially the legendary 14th hole, with gorgeous ocean views to distract even the most serious golfer. The 15-acre practice facility includes two greens, bunkers, and a driving range.

Ocean Course at Hōkūala

Ocean Course at Hōkūala
COURTESY OF HŌKŪALA

This award-winning oceanfront layout is the only Jack Nicklaus Signature course on Kauai, with the longest stretch of shorefront holes in Hawaii. Located along Kalapaki Beach at Timbers Kauai Ocean Club & Residences, the course offers stunning views of the Pacific and the mountains of Kauai.

Princeville Makai Golf Club

Golfing at Princeville Makai Golf Club
COURTESY OF PRINCEVILLE MAKAI GOLF CLUB

Located on Kauai’s north coast overlooking Hanalei Bay, the course is set among lush landscaping, lakes, and woods. Renovated in 2010 by Robert Trent Jones Jr., Princeville Makai is memorable for both its challenging layout and stunning scenery.

Puakea Golf Course

Open to the public, Puakea was designed by architect Robin Nelson on what was once a sugar cane plantation. The resort-quality course features elevation changes, ravines, volcanic cliffs, water hazards, ocean views, and beautiful examples of Kauai’s lush vegetation.

Hawaii Golf Courses

Hualalai Golf Course

Golfing at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
COURTESY OF FOUR SEASONS RESORT HUALALAI

Located at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, the Jack Nicklaus-designed course is open only to resort guests. A PGA Tour Champions event is held there each year. Winding through the natural black lava landscape, the course offers stunning views and finishes alongside the crashing waves of the Pacific. The 12th hole features a bunker in the middle of the green, making for an interesting tee shot on the par three.

Mauna Kea Golf Course

Championship Course at Mauna Kea
COURTESY OF MAUNA KEA

Located at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on the Kohala Coast, this course was the first one to be built on the Big Island in 1964. Originally designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., the course was renovated by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and more recently by Rees Jones. Ocean views, elevation changes, and the signature third hole — a par three that plays over the Pacific — make this one of Hawaii’s most memorable golf experiences.

Hapuna Golf Course

Hapuna Golf Course, Hawaii
COURTESY OF HAPUNA GOLF COURSE

Designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay, this course at the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort stretches links-style along the Kohala Coast. Views of the Pacific, elevation changes, and rugged terrain make it challenging and beautiful. The signature 12th hole provides a spectacular view that includes Maui in the distance.

Mauna Lani Golf Courses

Sunset at Mauna Lani Golf
COURTESY OF MAUNA LANI GOLF

Two 18-hole courses are offered at the Mauna Lani Resort in addition to a short nine-hole Wikiwiki fun course. The North Course is built on a lava bed with rolling terrain and a par-three hole surrounded by a natural lava amphitheater. The South Course winds through black lava rock, with ocean and mountain views. Its 15th over-the-water hole is both beautiful and challenging.

Waikoloa Beach Resort Golf

Golfing at Waikoloa Beach Resort
COURTESY OF WAIKOLOA BEACH RESORT

The resort features 27 holes of golf, with three separate nines that combine for a variety of experiences. The Beach Nine features large greens, low-lipped bunkers, and a fairway that rolls down to the ocean between black lava fields. The Kings’ Nine, a Scottish links-style layout, features wide fairways, pot bunkers, and views of Mauna Kea. The classic resort-style Lakes Nine presents water challenges on five of the holes, along with elevation changes and an overwater par-three eighth hole.

Makani Golf Club

Golfing at Makani Golf Club
COURTESY OF MAKANI GOLF CLUB

This public course is located on the slopes of Mauna Kea at an elevation of more than 2,000 feet, with lakes, wildlife, and great views of the Kona coastline and the volcano. Designed by Perry Dye, son of the famed golf course architect Pete Dye, Makani Golf Club offers wide fairways and water hazards on nine of the holes.

Oahu Golf Courses

Turtle Bay Golf

Aerial view of golf at Turtle Bay
COURTESY OF TURTLE BAY

Turtle Bay Resort offers two 18-hole courses: the Arnold Palmer Course and the George Fazio Course. The Palmer Course starts out with a Scottish links-style layout, and proceeds to a more tropical jungle setting. Water hazards and bunkers add to the challenge. The player-friendly and walkable Fazio Course features wide fairways and ocean views.

Ko Olina Golf Club

Golfing at Ko Olina Golf Club
COURTESY OF KO OLINA GOLF CLUB

Located on Oahu’s west coast in a resort community with four hotels, the course was designed by Ted Robinson. Water features, wide fairways, and tiered greens define the course. Two signature holes even include picturesque waterfalls.

Hawaii Prince Golf Club

Golfing at Hawaii Prince Golf Club
COURTESY OF HAWAII PRINCE GOLF CLUB

Located on open terrain of Ewa Beach, the 27-hole course was designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay. Three nine-hole courses are interchangeable, creating a variety of golf experiences that include lakes, white-sand bunkers, and long fairways.

Royal Hawaiian Golf Club

The course is set in the Maunawili Valley between Mount Olomana and the Ko’olau Mountains about 20 minutes from Waikiki. Originally designed by architects Pete and Perry Dye in 1993, the course was recently redesigned by Greg Norman. The signature second hole features a beautiful pond, and the lush course boasts mature trees that include royal palms, koas, and banana trees.

Olomana Golf Links

Located on the windward side of the island, this challenging public course features views of the Ko’olau Mountains. Two distinctly different nines make playing the course interesting. Former President Barack Obama has played there, and professional golfer Michelle Wie practiced frequently at the course.

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