Blessed with some the world’s most stunning natural scenery, Hawaii is truly a world class golfing destination. Many of its courses are part of luxury resorts and are set against a backdrop of beautiful beaches, rocky shorelines and lush green mountains, while the onshore breezes that are typical of links courses create challenging conditions for seasoned golfers keen to really test their mettle amid the gorgeous panoramic views.
While all of Hawaii’s golf courses share the common denominator of a jaw-dropping, picture-postcard setting , that’s not to say they are necessarily all the same, with a mix of links and parkland courses available. Indeed, there’s still a fair deal of variance across the islands’ courses. So if you’re looking for a course that’s open to non-members and exudes plenty of charm, we’ve picked out 7 of the best.
Poipu Bay Golf Course
Situated adjacent to the Grand Hyatt Resort and Spa on the island of Kauai’s sun-kissed south shoreline, the acclaimed Poipu Bay Golf Course enjoys an idyllic setting complete with expansive ocean views and seashore paspalum greens. The course is also home to a number of significant historical sites, including ancient Hawaiian heiau (places of worship) and handmade stone walls dating back over 500 years. As for the golf, the ocean-links style course plays host to the annual PGA Grand Slam of Golf, one of the world’s most prestigious golfing tournaments. On-site amenities include a large clubhouse with a restaurant and lounge, a golf shop, and comfortable locker room facilities.
LOCATION 2250 Ainako Street, Koloa, Kauai RATES From $185 per day
Turtle Bay Resort
Oahu is widely considered to be Hawaii’s best spot for golf, with exceptional courses dotted across the island. Among the finest is Turtle Bay Resort, featuring two distinguished courses – one Arnold Palmer and another George Fazio-designed – to accompany its world class resort facilities including sumptuous accommodation, gourmet dining and an indulgent spa. Back to the golf itself, both courses offer different challenges. The Palmer course is considered a major challenge while the Fazio course is generally more forgiving, with a walker-friendly layout that meanders among traditional Hawaiian Palms while skirting the North Shore. Visitors can also make use of equipment hire, a well-equipped shop, and even an on-site golfing academy.
LOCATION 57-091 Kamehameha Highway, Kahuku RATES From $100 per day
Princeville Makai Golf Course
One of the world’s most stunning golf and resort locations, Princeville Makai Golf Course – part of the upscale Princeville resort on the rugged Na Pali coast in the north of Kauai – features immaculate course conditions and six ocean front holes. With something for both the casual golfer seeking a leisurely 9-hole round with family and friends through to seasoned players wanting to test themselves on the challenging 18-hole course, the resort is a sheer delight. Among the venue’s outstanding facilities are a driving range, clubhouse, locker rooms, pro shop and Makai Grill restaurant, while other services include clubs and electrified buggies for hire and golf tuition.
LOCATION 4080 Lei O Papa Road, Princeville, Kauai RATES From $299 per day
Manele Golf Course
Located on the island of Lanai, the Jack Nicklaus-designed Manele Golf Course is quite simply luxurious charm personified. Set within the grounds of the Four Seasons resort, the course’s spectacular natural setting – featuring three holes perched on cliffs, enlisting the Pacific Ocean as a water hazard, along with tee shots over natural gorges and ravines – assures jaw-dropping views and challenging play for players of every aptitude. Services and amenities include a golf shop, private instruction and beginners programs, and access to the latest performance-tracking golf technology. Course access is exclusively available to Resort guests.
LOCATION 1, Challenge Drive, Lanai City RATES From $100 per day
Wailea Golf Club
Home to three award-winning courses, consistent sunshine, and postcard-worthy vistas of Mount Haleakala and the Pacific Ocean from every hole, Wailea Golf Club is perched on Maui’s west coast in Wailea, adjacent to Wailea Beach. Part of the Waldorf Astoria-owned and operated Grand Wailea Resort, the club is considered ideal for golfers of all levels, with delicately manicured fairways. Among the courses is a Blue Course located on the lower slopes of Mount Haleakala, offering lush green landscapes. There’s a Golf Academy inviting you to perfect your game with world class golf instruction, while the resort itself has eight restaurants and bars, a water complex with nine interconnected saltwater pools, and a state-of-the-art health club.
LOCATION 100 Wailea Golf Club Drive, Kihei RATES From $115 per day
Poised amid 32 tropical acres on the Kohala Coast on Hawaii’s Big Island, Fairmont Orchid’s golf facilities invite visitors to enjoy a game in the vicinity of cascading waterfalls and a tranquil white sand beach and lagoon. Part of the Fairmont Orchid resort, the 36-hole Francis H. I’i Brown Golf Club features holes edged with dramatic volcanic rock formations, while alongside it is an award-winning 45-hole championship course designed with two distinct 18-hole complexes, each capturing unique characteristics of the local landscape. If you’re not staying at the resort, day passes are available for use of its fabulous amenities that include an award-winning Spa, a 10,000 square foot oceanfront pool, Hui Holokai Beach Club offering ocean and cultural activities, six restaurants, year-round children’s program, fitness centre and tennis pavilion.
LOCATION 1 North Kaniku Drive, Waimea, Kohala RATES On request
Kahili Golf Course
Nestled at the foothill of the West Maui Mountains and offering spectacular bi-coastal views of Mt. Haleakala and the Pacific Ocean, this course is extremely popular with both locals and visitors to the island. The course’s layout has something for all abilities, with the low handicap golfer appreciating the strong par 5’s and lava on the course while the average golfer can enjoy the great par 3’s and course conditions. Several elevation changes, a small creek bed and a lake make many of the holes challenging but still fair, while Hawaiian trade winds also serve to create a unique golf experience. Lessons are available as well as club rentals.
LOCATION 2500 Honoapiilani Highway, Wailuku, Maui RATES From $69 per day