Big Island Hawaii

Headed to Hawaii late November - I know the big island has some amazing courses although a lot are limited on access. Whats the word?

Resort Courses:

Hualalai - Must be staying at Four Seasons to get on. Typical Nicklaus, wide, lots of sand, where Champions first yearly event is every year, perfect condition because hardly gets any play

Mauna Lani North and South - nice ocean views, resort easy, expensive

Waikoloa Kings and Beach - forget 'em

Mauna Kea - classic RTJ, some nice views, #3 par 3 iconic, lots and lots of sand, expensive

Hapuna - fun, good ocean views, diverse holes, more elevation than all the above, my personal fave

Waikoloa Village - better than people know, really reasonable, good greens, six miles up from highway so great views of ocean and Mauna Kea, my home course, owned by homeowners assn so has the muni vibe, very enjoyable and nice change from resorts

Makani formerly Big Island Country Club - nice course, up in elevation so cooler but November shouldn’t be too hot anyway (as opposed to now), new owners putting some money into upgrading, nice change from the resort courses

Kona Country Club - not bad, right down on the water, reasonable

Volcano - over on Hilo side, elevation 4000’, nice little course, out of the way

If you know people who know people you might be able to get on Nanea, Kukio, Hokulia or Kohanaiki - all first class private and impeccable, (so I’ve heard… lol)

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Pretty solid reply by eurofan. A few years ago when I visited, I played Hualalai, one Mauna Lani course (with the hole surrounded by black lava - and Mauna Kea. I think the Mauna Lani course was the best better than Hualalai and Mauna Kea. I felt that Mauna Kea was overrated - yeah the signature hole (Par 3 over water) was cool, but it is done early in the round and the course after that is meh. The Nicklaus course at Hualalai was nice - cool lava formations and the 17th hole by the ocean/beach. However, I felt the Mauna Lani course was really good. Visually striking, good views and challenging.

awesome. preciate ya for that one

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The wind will really blow out on those courses where all the resorts are (the “new”/lava strewn side of the island). I mean, it blows everywhere in Hawaii, but there’s really nothing to block it out on that side of the island and man it can be brutal.

I played one of Waikoloa courses many years ago on vacation. Not a good course.

Had one par three that was over water and into a stiff 3-4 club wind. My memory was that it should have been an 8 iron but I watched everyone in the group come up short–not just in the water but woefully short, so I kep going back to the cart for more club, and eventually had 5-iron in hand.

I grew up (and at that point was still living in) Colorado, so always hit a really high ball, with long irons especially. I tried to keep it low, but couldn’t. The ball ballooned like crazy and then got another draft up high and really came back, eventually settling not in the pond in front of the green, but on a forward tee, about 50 yards in front of us. With a 5-iron that I’d struck well.

oh no doubt. played kapalua a few years ago and balls were legitimately getting blown off the course mid-air

And say hello to Mauna Kea #3!

So right on about the wind when it is blowing.

All this wind talk shouldn’t scare anyone off though. The kona coast is generally speaking a very calm area (literally less than half the average wind throughout the entire year compared to where I live). Was there 10 days in late March a couple years ago and not one day would have there been more than 1 club wind. I don’t doubt the guys that experienced heavy wind, but it’s not the normal.

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Gotta pay homage to Li Roy

We are traveling to Hawaii for Christmas. We are prepared for the possibility of being quarantined the entire time, but we will be tested before getting on the plane and my father is a physician and will also be bringing rapid tests so we can test again on arrival. All that is to say we take COVID seriously despite traveling and are hopeful that we will be able to golf.

What was supposed to be our golfing trip to Ireland got cancelled so we are going to play 3-4 rounds on the trip (we are staying on the big island the whole time). Travel and money not being an issue (again our Ireland trip got cancelled) what are the four courses we should play (and in what order).

We vacationed on the Big Island for our one year anniversary. Played a round at Kona Country Club which was right across the street from the Sheraton where we stayed. I was a much less serious/informed golfer then than I am now, so I can’t really comment meaningfully on the architecture or anything, but I recall it being essentially everything I wanted and expected in the golf experience at that time…resort conditions, nice sea views, etc. I’m pretty sure I played mid week by myself, and hit a bunch of balls on a few holes including, I think, a par 3 that plays right out to the ocean and has an infinity type green.


Mauna Lani North or South (I like North)

Makani (formerly Big Island Golf Club)

You also can’t go wrong with Mauna Kea. I like Makani because it is up country and a different temperature, terrain than all the resort courses which are down on the beach.

I agree with the last post about Kona Country Club. It’s not perfectly manicured like the resort courses but is pretty fun.

Good luck. I hope they get their act together by Christmas over there. I moved in February 2020, just in the nick of time. Coincidental but very, very lucky in hindsight.

Well if you have connections try and get on Nanea or Kukio golf club :grinning:

If you are a member at a country club, you might be able to get on to the courses at Hualalai - the Nicklaus one is open to resort guests, so maybe that might be easier. The Fazio might be harder.

More realistic list is as mentioned above - Both the Mauna Lani course were great. I thought Mauna Kea course was a bit overrated. Don’t remember much other than the par 3 hole over the ocean.

I mean for sure we are trying.

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And add Kohanaiki to your list of “Need Connections To Get On.”

I agree Mauna Kea is overrated. I think because it was the first of the resort courses way back in the 60s. The Nicklaus course at Hualalai (Four Seasons) is also kind of overrated but it is cool because it’s in such perfect condition since it has so little play.

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after kicking this thread off - we went thanksgiving last year. Kona CC was really fun. super good vibes if you wanna take your shoes off play barefoot and do that thing. awesome views and pretty fun layout. also played Hapuna at mauna kea which was poss. the windiest round of my life, but id play that course again in a heartbeat. Skip waikoloa. Makani prob a good alt if you dont have luck with the private spots. enjoy it

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Totally agree with skipping both the Kings and Beach course at Waikoloa. If you are staying north of Kona up in the Waikoloa area though, the Waikoloa Village course isn’t in the perfectly groomed resort mode but totally good enough for getting an enjoyable round in.