Monday, May 23, 2011

Golfing on the Island of Hawaii (the Big Island)

Golf is a great game, in fact I have been playing it since I was twelve years old, but on some days it can be less than exhilarating – like when you shoot your weight rather than your age (Bob Hope's quote).  But for those who love the game like I do, there are few places better to live or visit than the Big Island.

Fairmont Orchid Golf
We live on the windward/East side of Hawaii Island in Hilo. While the best golf resorts are on the island’s other side (see my earlier entry All Around the Island),  the nearby Hilo Municipal public course is quite challenging with its multiple elevated greens and lava creeks that come into play on about twelve holes (slope: 121).  The course is well maintained and playing pressure is about average.  And unbelievably, if you are a resident over 60 years of age the monthly green fees are only $24 for unlimited play.
Courses on West Side of BI (Google)
Within 45 minutes of our house are two other public courses, one in Volcano and the other in Waimea, plus a nine hole course in downtown Hilo near the oceanside.  Volcano Country Club is beautiful and located at about 4,200 feet you can get some really nice drives (slope: 124).  Waimea Country Club is challenging for the beginner given its gorse-like roughs that make finding errant balls almost impossible, but a lovely course (slope: 132 ).
Four Seasons Golf
Most of the serious golf action is located on the drier west side nearer Kona/Kiluea and the luxury golf resorts around Waikoloa Bay.  The only three that I have been lucky enough to play have been the Hapuna Golf Club, Big Island Country Club and the Waikoloa Village Golf Club.  All were magnificent.

The Big Island course was designed by Pete and Perry Dye and features an island green (slope: 136).  Unfortunately, as I recall, no one in my foursome avoided the water.
Big Island Country Club
The other eight courses that I hope to play one day (listed from Kona northward):

+  Kona Country Club – Mountain and Ocean Courses
+  Makalei Golf Club
+  Hualalai Golf Club (near Hawaii’s only five-star resort, the Four Seasons) – designed by Jack Nicklaus
+  Waikoloa Beach Resort – Beach Course (Robert Trent Jones designed) and Kings’ Course (Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish Scottish links-style )
+  Mauna Lani Resort – North and South Courses (the favorite of Hilo’s golf guru George at Golf Treasures) 
+  Mauna Kea Golf Course

George at Hilo Golf Treasures
Numerous golf course vacation packages are available.  And for more information on these and other golf courses on the Big Island, check out the following link: Big Island Golf.  And, most important, if you are in town and need someone to play, let me know!  All of the above courses are closer than two hours from our Hilo home.