The resorts in South Kohala offer half a dozen of the best golf courses in the state, and they are all within a few miles of each other.

The famous (and beautiful) 3rd hole at Mauna Kea Golf Course.

The famous (and beautiful) 3rd hole at Mauna Kea Golf Course. Photo © taylorandayumi, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Like rivers of green, the Waikoloa Scottish-links Kings’ Golf Course (600 Waikoloa Beach Dr., 808/886-7888), designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, and the Beach Golf Course (808/886-6060), a Robert Trent Jones Jr. creation, wind their way around the hotels and condos of Waikoloa Beach Resort. Both have plenty of water and lava rock hazards, and each has its own clubhouse. Lessons, a golf clinic, and a half-day golf school can be arranged through both courses. Prices are reasonable, ranging $85-165. Off-property guests pay about $30 more per round than Waikoloa Beach Resort guests. Discounts are available after 3pm and for nine-hole rounds. Family golf days, where children under 17 play for a discounted rate, are a great deal.

Surrounding the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel are the marvelous Francis H. I‘i Brown North Course and Francis H. I‘i Brown South Course, whose artistically laid out fairways, greens, and sand traps make it a modern landscape sculpture. The 18-hole courses are carved from lava, with striking ocean views in every direction. Call the pro shop (808/885-6655) for information, tee times, clinics, and lessons. Discounts are available for booking online. Guests pay $165, and non-resort guests can expect to pay at least $215 for a round.

The Mauna Kea’s classic, trend-setting Mauna Kea Golf Course (808/882-5400) was designed by the master, Robert Trent Jones Sr., and has been voted among America’s 100 greatest courses and one of Hawaii’s finest. Deceptive off the tee, it’s demanding at the green. It lies near the ocean and has been joined by the more spread-out Hapuna Golf Course (808/880-3000), designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay, which has been cut into the lava up above the hotels and highway. Both 18-hole courses give even the master players a challenge. Rates for the Mauna Kea course range $155-225 for resort guests depending on the time of day (discounts given for twilight play) and $250 for nonguests. The Hapuna course ranges $75-125, and kama‘aina discounts are also available.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Hawaiian Islands.