The sun almost always shines on the fairways in Hawaii. Hawaiian golf courses are lush, green, well manicured and feature amazing views: majestic mountains, lush tropical terrain, palm trees, the Pacific Ocean and a range of wildlife like you’ve never seen before; rare and colorful birds, monk seals, and even humpback whales.
The Kapalua Golf Resort in Maui features two championship layouts. Kapalua’s Plantation golf course, a par 73, 7,411-yard layout widely recognized as the best of its kind in the islands. The Bay course, a par 72 tract that plays some 6,600 yards from the back tees, is no less spectacular. Both courses offer breathtaking views of the local terrain and ocean; the fairways undulate from one rolling green to the next. The views on these two superb courses alone are make them both truly world-class layouts. Stunning!
The Princeville Resort in Kauai features the Prince Course, a Robert Trent Jones Jr. layout that’s definitely not for the feint of heart. The Prince, just reopened after a major renovation, is one of the toughest golf courses I’ve ever played, but oh so enjoyable just the same. The scenery is spectacular, the design lavish and, on a difficulty scale of 1 -10, it must rate at least a 9. Tight fairways, small greens, and the trade winds that seem to blow constantly in from the ocean are just a few of the challenges you'll have to contend with. Beautiful!
The golf course at Poipu Bay, next door to the Grand Hyatt Resort and Spa on Kauai's sun-soaked South Shore, is a world where Mother Nature reigns supreme. On a mild, sunny day the tees, fairways and greens offer little more than a pleasant walk in the park. More often than not, however, the ocean-side holes lie at the mercy of the wind and can present a range of choices the likes of which you’ve never had to deal with before: a 3-iron where yesterday a 9-iron was needed, and so on. Incredible.
The Challenge at Manele at the Four Seasons Resort is a Jack Nicklaus signature layout set on the cliffs high above Manele Bay in Maui, has been rated among the top 100 courses in the world, and is regarded as one of the best courses in Hawaii. The layout is built upon the lava beds on the cliff tops and features three holes over the Pacific Ocean, one of nature’s natural water hazards. Superb!
The amazing Mauna Kea golf course on the Big Island was designed by Robert Trent Jones in 1964 on a tract of land reckoned to be one of the most beautiful spots on the planet. Rees Jones, son of the original designer was employed to upgrade the famous layout. Jones' vision was to maintain the integrity of his father's design, while utilizing today's technology for a more efficient in caring for the course. I think he has achieved just that. The plays a long 7,370 yards from the back/Black tees for a par of 72. Outstanding!
So there you have it. Five amazing Hawaiian winter golfing destinations that represent the very best of the best, but there’s more, much more: there are lesser known public golf courses scattered across the islands where spectacular views and incredible golf are the norm. I wish you a wonderful and memorable golf vacation.
Where to Stay in Maui:
There are, of course, quite a few resort options in Maui. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Compare Prices on nights for the Sheraton Maui Resort
- Compare Prices on nights for The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua
- Compare Prices on nights for Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa
- Compare Prices on nights for Marriott's Maui Ocean Club
- Compare Prices on nights for the The Whaler on Kaanapali Beach
How to get There:
- Maui: Kahului Airport (OGG) is located on the northern edge of the land bridge between Haleakala and the West Maui Mountain Range on the island of Maui.
- Honolulu Airport (HNL), on the Island of Oahu is the main gateway to Oahu.
- Kauai: Lihue Airport (LIH) is just three miles east of the town of Lihue and a Visitor Information Booth is located outside each baggage claim area.
Look for the best airline and car rental deals with these two aggregators, which provide travelers with an up-to-date search tool to compare prices on airfares and car rentals of all ratings: