Tourists from around the world visit Hawaii for its impressive geological features, oceanic scenery, warm tropical climate, beautiful beaches, and active volcanoes. But there is more to it that people can experience there. The island is also home to some of the best golf courses in the world. And there is nothing like golfing on championship-caliber courses with the fresh sea breeze, naturally varied terrain and spectacular views around you. Here are five of the top golf courses that will give you a memorable and exciting experience, regardless of whether you’re a novice or expert at teeing your way to a hole-in-one.
North Course at Mauna Lani Resort
Located on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island, the North Course at the Mauna Lani Resort boasts a sprawling 6,913-yard course. Its rolling terrain is filled with lush green grass atop an ancient lava bed. Challenges to this course are mesquite trees scattered around almost every hole and herds of goats grazing from hole to hole all throughout the day. Also unique to this championship golf course is the 17th hole, which is a charming par 3 encased in a lava coliseum. It is a favorite "I was here" photo spot for both first time guests as well as returning guests.
Hualalai Golf Course
The Hualalai Resort is home to two golf courses – but the 18-hole Nicklaus Signature Design is more popular. It was the first course on the island to be designed by golf legend Jack Nicklaus. Winding over 7,100 yards, the layout is planned from beginning to finishing hole with careful consideration to its natural land structure made of lava rocks. More than the immaculately manicured and green fairways, prepare to be distracted by the stunning and breathtaking sceneries that are out of this world.
Club at Hokulia
The Club of Hokulia is the only private oceanside golf club on the Big Island, and one of the finest in the world. Also a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, the 1,550 acres course is designed by Nicklaus to be challenging, featuring frequent hazards and difficult green fairways. But despite this, dramatic ocean views and superb weather all year round, with no strong winds, make this course one of the best of the best.
Gold Course at Wailea Golf Club
The so-called "thinking player's course,” the Gold Course is the most challenging of Wailea's three golf courses. It was masterfully designed by Architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr. and is considered one of the best designed courses in the world. Jones’ design embraces the natural wavy formations of lava rock terrain, making the 7,078-yard course truly challenging. Nonetheless, four to six tee boxes on every hole make Gold also welcoming to the mid players. Plus you can also feel the warmth of the sea wind and relish the superb sceneries of the ocean, Molokini islet, prehistoric lava rock walls, and white trenches.
The Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort
The Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort is a par 73, 7,411-yard course built within a pineapple plantation. Hence, the name. Expert design by famed architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw lets you experience dramatic elevation changes and nature’s challenges while enjoying the panoramic views of pristine ocean-side turf and the West Maui Mountains. Certainly one of the finest golf courses ever.