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Big Island’s Best Golf Courses

  • Post category:Hawaii

The Big Island of Hawaii is a golfer’s paradise, offering a diverse range of golf courses that cater to every skill level and preference. From breathtaking ocean views to challenging volcanic landscapes, the Big Island’s golf courses are designed by some of the biggest names in the industry. Whether you are a seasoned golfer or a beginner, you will find a course that suits your needs and provides an unforgettable experience. Here are some of the best golf courses on the Big Island that you should consider for your next golfing adventure.

Key Takeaways

  • The Big Island offers a variety of golf courses designed by renowned architects, catering to all skill levels.
  • Mauna Kea Golf Course is famous for its challenging layout and stunning ocean views.
  • Hapuna Golf Course provides scenic views and unique course challenges, along with excellent facilities.
  • Makani Golf Club is known for its unique features and well-maintained course, offering affordable booking options.
  • Waikoloa Beach Resort Golf features beachside holes and attractive golf packages, making it a popular choice for visitors.

Mauna Kea Golf Course

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Course Design and Layout

Created in 1964 on what was once a barren black lava field by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., Mauna Kea Golf Course set the standard for resort golf in Hawaii. The 7,370-yard layout challenges golfers with dramatic changes in elevation, large undulating greens, and 99 well-placed bunkers. Panoramic views of the sea and snow-capped Mauna Kea volcano add to the course’s allure. The course is about 300 yards longer than it used to be thanks to a renovation by Rees Jones in 2008, which included new greens, tees, bunkers, and fairways.

Signature Holes

The unforgettable golf experience at Mauna Kea is best known for its epic third hole, a par 3 playing over an ocean cove. The 3rd and 11th holes offer dramatic ocean-side opportunities for a glorious hole-in-one. The course features holes that are right at sea level like number 3 and 11, and others that rise to nearly 300 feet above.

Visitor Information

  • Location: 62-100 Mauna Kea Beach Drive, Waimea, HI
  • Contact: (808)-882-5400
  • Website: Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

If your travel circumstances allow for only one round of golf, Mauna Kea should be your selection. The elevation change on the inland holes sets this golf course a step ahead of its neighbors.

Visitor Information Highlights:

Hapuna Golf Course

Scenic Views

Hapuna Golf Course, located along the Kohala Coast, offers gorgeous Pacific Ocean views from every hole. The course is nestled into the rugged desert terrain above the island’s west shore, with dramatic elevation changes beginning at sea level and rising to 700 feet. The backdrop includes the majestic Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, and Kohala Mountains, making it a visual treat for golfers.

Course Challenges

Designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay, the course features a blend of downhill and uphill holes, with the downhill holes offering fantastic ocean views. The exposed hillside location means that strong winds are often present, adding to the difficulty of the course. The dramatic elevation changes and rugged terrain provide a challenging yet rewarding experience for golfers of all skill levels.

Facilities and Amenities

Adjacent to the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort, the course offers a range of facilities and amenities to enhance your golfing experience. These include a pro shop, practice facilities, and dining options. The resort itself provides luxurious accommodations, making it convenient for visitors to enjoy both the golf course and the resort’s amenities.

For those looking to combine their love of golf with a luxurious stay, Hapuna Golf Course and the adjacent Westin Hapuna Beach Resort offer the perfect combination of challenging play and top-notch amenities.

Makani Golf Club

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Unique Features

Makani Golf Club, located on the lower slope of Mauna Kea, offers a unique golfing experience. The course is situated at a 2,500-foot elevation, making it 10-15 degrees cooler than sea level. This Perry Dye 18-hole design utilizes the natural rolling hills and lush vegetation, providing panoramic ocean views from most holes. The course also features water hazards on 9 of the 18 holes, adding to its challenge and beauty.

Course Maintenance

The Makani Golf Club is renowned for its excellent maintenance. The course has been a staple on many top-10 lists for independent, daily-fee golf courses since its opening in 1997. The moderate trade winds and country club-style landing areas contribute to a pleasant golfing experience. The club ensures that the greens and fairways are kept in pristine condition year-round.

Booking and Fees

Booking a round at Makani Golf Club is straightforward. The course is public and offers an 18-hole round for $120. The club’s website provides an easy-to-use booking system. Additionally, the club offers various packages and discounts for frequent visitors. The fees are competitive, especially considering the quality of the course and the breathtaking viewpoints it offers.

Waikoloa Beach Resort Golf

Beachside Holes

Waikoloa Beach Resort Golf offers a unique golfing experience with its beachside holes. The Beach Course, designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, features stunning views, especially on the par-5 seventh hole, which backs up into the Pacific. The contrast between the lush green fairways and the surrounding lava fields is breathtaking.

Golf Packages

The resort provides a variety of golf packages to suit different needs. Whether you’re looking for a single round or an extended stay, there’s something for everyone. Packages often include access to both the Beach and King’s Courses, offering a comprehensive golfing experience.

Dining Options

After a day on the course, golfers can enjoy a range of dining options. The resort features several restaurants and bars, each offering a unique culinary experience. From casual bites to fine dining, there’s something to satisfy every palate.

For those looking to combine luxury with their golfing experience, Waikoloa Beach Resort Golf is an excellent choice. The resort’s amenities and stunning location make it a must-visit for any golf enthusiast.

Kona Country Club

Kona Country Club, located in scenic Keauhou, is just six miles from downtown Kona. This area is historically significant as it is the birthplace of King Kamehameha III. The club’s rich history adds a unique charm to the golfing experience.

Designed by renowned architect William Bell, the Ocean Course at Kona Country Club features four holes set against the Pacific shore. Signature holes include No. 3 and No. 12, offering breathtaking ocean views. Additionally, the blowhole at the No. 13 tee box is a must-see, where ocean waves push up through a “puka” in the lava rocks.

Kona Country Club offers various membership options to suit different needs. Whether you’re a local resident or a frequent visitor, there are flexible plans available. Membership benefits include priority tee times, discounts on facilities, and exclusive access to member-only events.

Exploring the coffee farms of Hawaii’s Big Island is a great way to complement your visit to Kona Country Club. Discover unique microclimates, volcanic soil impact, and traditional Kona coffee farms.

Volcano Golf and Country Club

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The Volcano Golf and Country Club is uniquely set on the rim of the active Kīlauea volcanic crater, 4,000 feet above sea level. This elevated location offers panoramic views of Mauna Loa and the surrounding volcanic landscape, making it a truly unique golfing experience. The course’s proximity to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park adds an extra layer of natural beauty and adventure.

Due to its high elevation, the weather at Volcano Golf and Country Club can be quite variable. Golfers should be prepared for cooler temperatures and occasional rain showers. It’s advisable to check the weather forecast before heading out to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable round of golf.

  • Dress in layers: The weather can change quickly, so it’s best to be prepared.
  • Book in advance: Given its unique location, the course can be quite popular, especially during peak tourist seasons.
  • Explore nearby attractions: Take advantage of the club’s proximity to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for a full day of adventure.

For those looking to explore Hawaii’s Big Island, the Volcano Golf and Country Club offers a blend of natural beauty, adventure, and unique experiences like lava viewing and stargazing.

Hilo Municipal Golf Course

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Managed by the County of Hawaii Parks and Recreation Division, the Hilo Municipal Golf Course offers stunning views of the Hilo coast. This 18-hole course, established in 1951, is one of the oldest in Hawaii and is beautifully maintained. The course features wide fairways and a length of 6,325 yards, making it challenging yet friendly for all golfers. Daily fees apply, and the course has a par of 71. For more details, visit their website or contact them at (808) 959-7711.

Discover the beauty and challenge of the Hilo Municipal Golf Course, a must-visit destination for golf enthusiasts. Nestled in the heart of Hilo, this course offers stunning views and a unique golfing experience. Ready to tee off? Visit our website for more information and to plan your visit today!


The Big Island of Hawaii offers an unparalleled golfing experience that caters to all levels of golfers. From the lush greens carved out of ancient lava flows to the breathtaking coastal views, each course provides a unique and memorable challenge. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer looking to tackle championship courses designed by some of the biggest names in the industry or a casual player seeking a relaxing round, the Big Island has something for everyone. With its diverse range of public, private, and budget-friendly options, golfing on the Big Island is an adventure that promises both excitement and tranquility. So pack your clubs and get ready to explore some of the best golf courses Hawaii has to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time of year to golf on the Big Island?

The best time to golf on the Big Island is during the dry season, which typically runs from April to October. However, the weather is generally pleasant year-round.

Do I need to book tee times in advance?

Yes, it is highly recommended to book your tee times in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to ensure availability.

Are there golf courses suitable for beginners on the Big Island?

Yes, the Big Island offers a variety of golf courses suitable for all skill levels, including beginner-friendly courses like the Hilo Municipal Golf Course.

What should I wear when golfing on the Big Island?

Golfers are typically required to wear collared shirts and appropriate golf attire. It’s also advisable to wear sunscreen and a hat due to the sunny weather.

Can I rent golf clubs at the courses?

Yes, most golf courses on the Big Island offer club rentals. It’s a good idea to check with the specific course in advance to confirm availability and rental fees.

Are there any golf packages available?

Many resorts and golf courses on the Big Island offer golf packages that include multiple rounds of golf, accommodations, and other amenities. Check with individual resorts or golf courses for specific package details.