Scotland gave the world golf; Hawaii contributed surfing. While not a lot of people head to the auld country to hang ten, the islands are a bonny place to have a go for both. So here’s our take on Hawaii golf, from both ends of the price spectrum.
The Big Island
The Experience: Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Mauna Kea was Hawaii’s first modern golf resort. Name was the game from the get-go, with Rockefeller as developer, Robert Trent Jones Sr. as designer and Palmer, Player and Nicklaus nicking the first divots.
The Tab: $230 for guests, $255 for non-guests.
The Experience: In Hawaiian mythology, makalei is a magic stick with the power to attract fish. Here, Makalei represents the temperate brand of Big Island golf played within a lush, green elevator shaft. Get your luge on: this course drops 300 metres from top to bottom.
The Tab: $89, plus afternoon rates.
Photo by Aiden Bradley
The Experience: Topography dictates play as this course scampers across, up, down and around ridge and ravine. Mother Nature provides eye-candy views throughout of wave, mountain, and whale. Gravity says you’ll drive it past 300 yards on 18.
The Tab: At its peak, the course pushes $300.
The Experience: This private nine-holer is open for unaccompanied play on Mondays. Straightforward and tree-lined, MCC gets its playing chops from the ocean breezes that also make this part of Maui a hot spot for kiteboarding.
The Tab: From as low as $43 (for 18 holes).
Photo by Brian Oar
The Experience: Makai’s parkland routing heads to on-high looks of Hanalei Bay and Bali Hai. Impeccable conditioning and broad shoulders bring smiles, while cavorting greens provide challenge. A complete renovation in 2009 brought new turf, reconfigured greens and bunkers.
The Tab: Peak rate is $239.
The Experience: Publicly owned courses don’t often come with stunning Pacific-side settings, so enjoy the views, the cooling breezes, the dog-legging and the low rates of this multiple-USGA-hosting venue.
The Tab: $60 tops. You can rent a motorized cart for $20, but walking is the ticket here.
The Experience: Play Royal Hawaiian. Play it again. Your score will improve. Such is the value of knowledge at this riotous romp through jungle on Oahu’s windward side. It’s jokingly referred to as Jurassic Park because of the jungle.
The Tab: $155 at the top.
The Experience: A great place to find one’s (walking) legs after the flight and drive to Oahu’s chill north side. A wee taste of the ocean on the front leads to a more-challenging back, but it remains a great family play.
The Tab: The rate sheet runs from $15 to $110.
Three Hawaiian Road Trips to Take
On your next Hawaiian island getaway, rent a car and explore the sites nearby. Drive Chain of Craters Road through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island, stop at Waimea Canyon along Kokee Road on Kauai or see the beautiful beaches of the North Shore on Oahu.