Big Island Golf Courses -- Best Places to Play

Big Island golf courses are set amidst some of the most breathtaking settings in all of Hawaii. Losing a ball may not seem so bad when it bounces into an ancient lava flow or plops into the beautiful Pacific Ocean.

In fact, many people consider the Big Island to be the best Hawaiian island for a golf vacation. Many people have seen the Mauna Lani Golf Course on has the host for the Champions Skins Game for 11 years (moved to Wailea and now at Ka'anapali on Maui).

Who wouldn't want to be on a Big Island golf course?...Teeing off next to the beautiful Pacific Ocean in 80 degree weather?...Especially if the greens at home are under 2 feet of snow.

Enjoy the short video below about golfing in Hawaii...

Sidebar--Big Island golf courses have several different rates. There are:

  • Hawaii resident (kamaaina) rates
  • Non-resident rates which are sometimes further designated by U.S. and non-U.S. citizen rates.

Resident rates are about 50%-70% less than non-resident rates...and non-U.S. citizens will pay more than U.S. residents.

Why?...Mainly because of the large number of visitors from Japan. Golfing in Japan is very expensive (over $400) paying $175 in Hawaii seems like a bargain.

Maybe someday this will change, but it's always been like that for as long as I can remember.

TIP--If you are planning on golfing a few times in Hawaii, I recommend looking into the Golf Hawaii Card. Not every course on the Big Island participates in the program so be sure to check out the details first, but the Big Island is the BEST island for this program.

It is a great deal...the cost of the card is usually recovered after the first round of golf. In fact, it was named by GOLF Magazine as one of the five best golf value cards in the nation! Their website is

Big Island Golf Courses -- Mauna Kea Golf Course

The Mauna Kea Golf Course opened in 1964 and was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr.

Update--The course is currently under renovation and being redesigned by Rees Jones, son of Robert. They hope to reopen in December 2008.

Big Island Golf Courses -- Hapuna Prince Golf Course

The Hapuna Prince Golf Course is the sister course to the Mauna Kea Golf Course. Known as being very enviromentally conscious, it offers great views of the Kohala Coast.

The Hapuna was ranked #21, in Golf Digest's "Best Golf Resorts in North America" 2006. It was also #75 in Conde Nast Traveler's "Top 100 Golf Resorts" 2006.

  • Designers--Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay
  • Cost--Before 1:00 p.m., $165 or $120 for Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel guests. After 1:00 p.m., $145 or $105 for hotel guests
  • Phone--(808) 882-5400

Mauna Lani Golf Course -- The Francis H. I'i Brown North and South Courses

The Mauna Lani Resort was rated "Top 10 Green Resorts" 2008 by Golf Magazine...and you will understand why when you see how the course sits among lava fields, ancient fishponds, archeological sites, and the ocean.

  • Francis H. I'i Brown North Course--Set among Kiawe forests (great wood for BBQs) and lava fields, the North Course plays away from the ocean.
  • Francis H. I'i Brown South Course--Home to the Senior Skins Game (now called Champions Skins Game) from 1990-2000, the South Course is the more popular of the two. The South Course offers dramatic water holes including the famous 15th hole pictured below.

  • Designer--Nelson-Wright-Haworth
  • Cost--$210 or $145 for Mauna Lani Resort guests. $100 for twilight
  • Phone--(808) 885-6655

Big Island Golf Courses -- Waikoloa Beach Resort

There are two golf courses within the Waikoloa Beach Resort..

  • The Waikoloa Beach Golf Course is the more popular of the two...It plays along the ocean and happens to be the easier of the two.
  • The Waikoloa Kings' Golf Course is a challenging links-style course with pot bunkers and rolling fairways.

  • Designers--Beach Course-Robert Trent Jones Jr., Kings' Course-Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish
  • Cost--$195 or $130 for Waikoloa Resort guests
  • Phone--Beach Course-(808) 886-6060, Kings' Course-(808) 886-7888

Hualalai Golf Course

The Hualalai Golf Course is exclusively for guests of the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka'upulehu and the Hualalai Resort Area.

  • Designer--Jack Nicklaus
  • Cost--$250
  • Phone--(808) 325-8480

Waikoloa Village Golf Course

This is a very popular course with the locals who consider it one of Hawaii's best kept secrets.

  • Designer--Robert Trent Jones Jr.
  • Cost--$80
  • Phone--(808) 883-9621

Big Island Golf Courses -- Makalei Golf Course

Makalei Golf Course is a reasonable priced course located on the slopes of Hualalai. Being upland in the forest, there are many birds that roam the course including turkeys and peacocks.

  • Designer--Dick Nugent
  • Cost--$89, $65 after 11:00 a.m.
  • Phone--(808) 325-6625

Kona Country Club

The Kona Country Club located in Kailua-Kona is made up of two courses:

  • The Mountain Course--Does not play along the ocean but offers ocean views. It is the more difficult of the two courses.
  • The Ocean Course--Plays along the ocean and is the easier of the two courses.

  • Designers--Ocean Course-William Bell, Mountain Course-William Bell, Nelson, and Robin Wright
  • Cost--Ocean Course-$165 or $145 for Keauhou Resort Guests, Mountain Course-$150 or $125 for Keauhou Resort Guests
  • Phone--(808) 322-2595

Volcano Golf and Country Club

The Volcano Golf and Country Club is located on Kilauea Crater. It is a very unique experience to play on an active volcano. At an elevation of 4,000 ft., it can get quite cool so bring warm clothes.

  • Designer--Jack Snyder
  • Cost--$66
  • Phone

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