Golfing on the Big Island of Hawaii is some of the best in the world.
Big Island is the number one destination in Hawaii for enthusiasts in this sport. Some of the most beautiful courses on the planet are to be found here, and anyone who loves golf should get to play here at least once in their life. There are expensive green fees for many of the well-known private courses on the island, but there are also some cheaper options available.
Some visitors make a special trip to this island just to play the courses. Most activity is on the Kailua-Kona side and north of the city. The views from some of the courses are spectacular. Bring your cameras and don’t forget to take photos. While the golfers are busy, the rest of the family can go “Shopping on the Big Island!”
There is an impressive selection of stunning golf courses to choose from on Big Island including:
Makalei Golf Club
72-3890 Mamalahoa Highway, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
Yelp Rating: 4 stars (based on 1 review)
Contact Details: email: Info@makalei.com or telephone (808) 325-6625
18-Hole Course: Par 72
Makalei Golf Club is located in the hills above Kona. The name ‘makalei’ means peacock, and this course is unique because it has so many of these birds wandering around – it is sometimes referred to as Peacock Place. There is very little flat ground on this course and most of the holes require playing uphill. For this reason, it is considered to be one of the most challenging courses to play on Big Island. The fact that it is located in the Hualalai Mountain means there are some spectacular views of the surrounding countryside to be enjoyed. The Makalei Golf Club was designed by Dick Nugent & Associates, and they did a great job of creating a course that fits in perfectly with the local environment.
The facilities at the Makalei Golf Club include a restaurant, pro shop, and practice area. The Peacock Grille is open from 11:00 am to 2:30 pm, and they offer a good range of snacks and hot meals. There is also a well-stocked bar. It is possible to hire the Peacock Grille for special events such as weddings or corporate events. There is also a beverage cart available at those times when the Peacock Grille is closed. The pro shop offers a good range of golfing equipment and apparel, and they also sell some interesting gift items. The practice facilities include a driving range, and two practice greens.
It costs non-Hawaiian residents $85 to play on the course any time before 11:00 am. The price falls to $55 if people want to play after 11:00 am. If visitors only want to play 9-holes they need to pay $65 during peak-times. A set of clubs costs $50 per day to rent or $165 for one week. If you intend to be staying on Big Island for a long time, it might be worth considering some type of membership. The Gold package membership costs an initiation Fee of $99 and $79 per month – discounts are available for seniors and families. Unlimited use of the practice facilities costs $25 initiation Fee and $22 per month (prices correct as of late 2013).
Big Island Country Club
71-1420 Mamalahoa Highway, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
Yelp Rating: 3.5 stars (based on 4 reviews)
Contact Details: email – email@example.com or telephone (808) 325-5044
18-Hole Course: Par 72
The Big Island Country Club (previously known as Big Island Muni) is another hilly course that is built on top of a volcano. The temperatures here are lower than down by the coast, and there is usually a refreshing light breeze. The course is well-maintained but players shouldn’t be too surprised to find goats or wild turkeys wandering onto the fairway. Holes 17 and 18 are the toughest to play. The Big Island Country Club is under the control of a new manager, and there are ongoing efforts to bring improvements to the course.
There is currently no clubhouse at the Big Island Country Club, but this will hopefully change in the future – there are apparently plans to build a new facility soon. At the moment, players will need to go elsewhere for post-game drinks and dining.
The green fees at Big Island Country Club are very affordable, and this is what attracts many visitors to the course. It costs $65 to play here before noon and $55 after this time – the price also includes a two-person shared cart. If people only want to play 9-holes, they will only need to pay $35. Large groups who book here (more than 17 players) only need to pay $45 for each person. If visitors have a preferred player card (these are handed out free at many resorts and condominiums), they can get further discounts on the prices at Big Island Country Club.
Waikoloa Village Golf Club
68-1792 Melia Street, Waikoloa, Island of Hawaii, HI 96738
Yelp Rating: 3.5 stars (based on 4 reviews)
Contact Details: email- firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone (808) 883-9621 (24-hour reservations)
18-Hole Course: Par 72
The Waikoloa Village Golf Club is the second oldest course on Big Island, and it is located in a particularly beautiful area. Players get plenty of stunning views as they make their way around this course – including glimpses of five of the most famous volcanoes on the island. The course was designed by Robert Trent Jones junior who has designed over 250 courses during his career to date. It can sometimes get a bit windy here, but this can add a bit of spice to the game. The Waikoloa Village Golf Club is suitable for all levels of player.
The amenities at Waikoloa Village Golf Club are good enough that you will probably want to spend an hour or two here after you have finished your game. The clubhouse restaurant opens 7 days a week, and there is indoor and outdoor seating available. The large bar has 5 HDTVs, so this can be a nice place to watch sporting events. It is possible to rent a room in the clubhouse to host private functions. The golf shop has been newly renovated, and they offer special deals on golfing apparel and equipment. They also sell items with the famous Waikoloa Village Golf Club logo – this can make a nice memento or gift. The staff members who run the golf shop are qualified for Ping iron fitting.
It costs $83.50 for visitors to play here before 2:30 pm and $50 after this time. People who are staying at the Village Resort only need to pay $72 before 2:30 pm. Residents of the island pay $40 before 2:30 and $25 after this. It costs $40 to rent a set of clubs – $20 if playing in the twilight hours. Prices correct as of late 2013.
Hualalai Golf Course
100 Kaupulehu Drive, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
Yelp Rating: 5 stars (based on three reviews)
Contact Details: telephone (808) 325-8480
18-Hole Course: Par 72
The Hualalai Golf Course is part of the Four Seasons Hotel, and it was designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus. This is not only the most gorgeous golf course on Big Island, but it is arguably one of most beautiful in the world. The Hualalai Golf Course is used as part of the PGA Champions Tour, but anyone can get to enjoy the unforgettable experience of playing here. Jack Nicklaus did a superb job of planning this course, and it his technical know-how has been combined with the natural beauty of the location – for example, he makes great use of lava formations in the middle of the fairway. Players are also treated to some wonderful views of the ocean.
The amenities at Hualalai Golf Course are second-to-none. The clubhouse provides plenty of space, and there is a great selection of food available Keolu Restaurant. Players are provided with free drinks and fruit during their game – there is even a cookie jar at the half-way point on the course. The Keolu Golf Shop has a full selection of golfing equipment, clothing for men and women, as well as golfing accessories. The professionals at the club provide complimentary clinics two times every week – private lessons are also available. Hualalai Golf Course also has an impressive 9 acre practice area.
The green fees for Hualalai Golf Course are about $195 – people who are staying at the resort can expect a discount. It is highly recommended that anyone who wants to play at this golf course books in advance (this is possible one week before). Lessons are available with one of the pros for $55 for half-an-hour. It costs $60 to rent a set of clubs and $10 for a pair of shoes.
Volcano Golf and Country Club
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Volcano, HI 96785
Yelp Rating: 2 Stars (based on six reviews)
Contact Details: email email@example.com or telephone (808) 967-7331
18-Holes: Par 72
Volcano Golf and Country Club has been open since 1922. This is a suitably challenging course that is located at an elevation of 4,200 feet. It has also been described as the most unusual golf course in the world because it is located on the rim of an active volcano. One of the nice things about playing at this high altitude is that the weather is much cooler, and there are plenty of spectacular views to enjoy as well. Beginners are likely to find this golf course to be a bit difficult to play – even low handicappers are going to be tested here.
The facilities at Volcano Golf and Country Club include a restaurant and a pro shop. The restaurant can get busy because it also caters for tour groups as well as players. The portion sizes in the restaurant are now ample (this may have been in response to previous reviews where customers complained that the portion sizes were too small). The pro shop has a full selection of products including things like caps, balls, towels, and clothing with the Volcano Golf and Country Club logo.
It costs $56 to play a round of golf at Volcano Golf and Country Club – this includes tax and the cart fee. A set of clubs can be rented for $20.
Mauna Kea Golf Course
62-100 Mauna Kea Beach Drive, Kohala Coast, HI 96743, United States
Yelp Rating: 5 stars (based on 10 reviews)
Contact Details: telephone (808) 882-5400
18-Holes: Par 72
Mauna Kea Golf Course is part of Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. The resort and the golf course were created by Laurance S. Rockefeller, and he is known for only accepting the best at anything he did. He brought in the best golf architect of the time who was Robert Trent Jones Senior (his son designed Waikoloa Village Golf Club), and they created something really special. The Mauna Kea is a superb golf course, and it is famous for having the hardest par-3 hole in the world – the eleventh hole. The grass here is a lush green, and the course provides outstanding views of the Pacific Coast – you will probably want to bring along your camera as well as your golf clubs. Some of the most unique challenges of this course include lava flow hazards and giant sand bunkers.
The facilities at Mauna Kea Golf Course are top class and include a restaurant, locker facilities, fully stocked pro shop, shower facilities, driving range, and putting practice area. The Number 3 Restaurant is open every day from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm (lunched served 11:00am to 15:30). It is located mid-course, so it can be nice for players to stop here before returning for the final nine. The menu has a good selection of sandwiches, gourmet pizza, and desserts. There are a number of highly respected golf pros working at this course, and they are able to provide private instruction as well as group clinics.
The standard green fee for playing 18-holes at Mauna Kea Golf Course is $225. This price falls to $175 between 11:00 and 13:30 and $155 after 13:30. It is also possible to play nine holes for $110. If players want to play more than once a day it only costs $110 for a replay. The junior rate for playing at Mauna Kea Golf Course is $95. It costs $50 to rent a set of clubs and $15 for a pair of shoes (all prices as of late-2013). The driving range if free and this includes unlimited balls.
Hapuna Golf Course
Highway 19, Hapuna Prince Beach, Island of Hawaii, HI
Contact Details: telephone (808) 880-3000
Yelp Rating: 4 Stars (based on 1 review)
18-Holes: Par 72
The Hapuna is a link-style golf course. It was built in 1992 by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay. It has been designed in such a way as to disturb nature as little as possible. The first nine holes here are played uphill, and the second nine are downhill – the highest level of the course is 700 feet above sea level. The fairways are lined with high grass. It is a great option for beginners and intermediate players because it isn’t too challenging, but some serious players may be put off by the goats that tend to wander onto the course. It’s a fun place to pay, and this is what makes it so charming.
The facilities at Hapuna Golf Course include locker rooms, shower facilities, pro shop, a fitness center and spa, driving range, putting greens, and practice bunker. The driving range is open every day from 07:00 am to 4:30 pm and it is completely free with unlimited balls. The full-service pro shop opens every day between 06:30 am and 5:00 pm. There are also PGA professionals who are able to provide private lessons and group clinics.
The standard cost of playing at Hapuna Golf Course is $125 for 18-holes. The price falls to $75 after 1:00 pm. If players wish to go for another round on the same day, it costs only $45 for a replay. The junior rate at Hapuna is $50. At the moment (late 2013) there is a special package at the course which costs $375 and includes 2 rounds here and 1 round at Mauna Kea Golf Course. It costs $55 to rent clubs and $12 to rent shoes. Hapuna Golf Course also has a half-day “”Master the Mental Game” package which costs $195.
Hilo Municipal Golf Course
340 Haihai Street, Hilo, HI 96720
Yelp Rating: 4 Stars (based on 2 reviews)
Contact: telephone (808) 959-7711
18-Hole: Par 71
If visitors are looking for somewhere cheap to play a few rounds, they are not going to do much better than Hilo Municipal Golf Course. This venue is not as fancy as many of the private clubs, but it offers a surprisingly high quality golfing experience – more than what you would expect at a Municipal venue. This is where local people tend to go when they want to play, so it can get busy at the weekends. The course was designed by Willard Wilkinson in 1951. The people who work here are friendly, and they keep the course in good condition. The one odd thing about this course is that there are no bunkers – this is due to the fact that Hilo gets so much rain that this would not be practical. The course is relatively flat, and it is hard to play here if it has been raining hard.
There are a modest number of amenities at Hilo Municipal Golf Course. The pro shop has a reasonable selection of equipment and apparel. There is also a restaurant and snack bar. Practice facilities include a driving range.
Visitors to Hilo Municipal Golf Course pay $44, and this included a cart. Residents of Big Island can buy a monthly card for $40, and this means they can play as much as they want – although there is a $3 surcharge at weekends. People are allowed to use the course for free after 17:00.
Mauna Lani Golf Resort Courses (including North Course, South Course, and Keiki Course)
68-1310 Mauna Lani Drive, Island of Hawaii, HI 96743-9704
Yelp Rating: 4.5 (based on 12 reviews)
Contact: telephone (808) 885-6655
North and South Course 18-Hole: Par 72
Keiki Course 9-hole: Par 33
The Mauna Lani has three different courses to choose from. The 9-hole Keiki Course has been designed with junior golfers in mind, but it will also be suitable for complete beginners. The North Course and South Course are both provide an international standard experience with Bermuda grass greens and exceptionally beautiful views – particular the South Course which provides nice views of the ocean. The two courses are about equal when it comes to difficulty level, and there are plenty of hazards including lava flows on the sides of the fairways. Everything at Mauna Lani is well maintained, and people who play here will have an unforgettable experience because it is one of the best golf courses in the world (it was also awarded this distinction by Golf Week Magazine in 2013). Tournaments are played at Mauna Lani on a regular basis.
Mauna Lani is part of the golfing resort, and the facilities here are of a high standard. There is a pro shop, locker rooms, bar, and restaurant. There is a decent practice area which includes a putting green and driving range. There are also private lessons as well as golfing clinics.
It costs $215 to play 18-holes at Mauna Lani. If people are staying at the resort, they will only need to spend $165. Club rental is $55, and it costs $15 to hire a pair of golfing shoes. Children who wish to play on Keiki course need to pay $25, and this includes free clubs. Adults who wish to join in need to pay $35.
Sea Mountain Golf Course
Hwy 11 & Nino Ole Hawaii, Pahala, HI 96777
Yelp Rating: 2.5 Stars (based on 2 reviews)
Contact: telephone (808) 928-6233
18-Hole: 72 Par
The cheapest round of golf on Big Island can be found at Sea Mountain Golf Course. This belongs to Hawaii Beach Condo, and it was designed by Arthur Jack Snyder. Sea Mountain is located in an area of great natural beauty, and it can be best described as rugged. It is close to Punaluu Black Sand Beach, and there are some nice views of the ocean. Players who come here expecting the same experience as they would at one of the popular private clubs are going to be disappointed. It is a good option for people who are in the Pahala area and just want to enjoy a no-frills round of golf. The facilities at Sea Mountain Golf Course are limited but include a pro shop and driving range.
The best reason to play at Sea Mountain Golf Course is price. People staying at the Hawaii Beach Condo only need to pay $35. Visitors can play here for $46.50 (as of late 2013) – this includes a golf cart. There are sometimes special promotions on here, and the green fees can be further reduced – sometimes as low as $20.
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[Image credit – TaylorandYumi at Flickr.com]