Hawaii's Top 10 Golf Resorts

Hawaii offers some of the best luxury hotel resorts in the world and what is better than to find a resort that offers championship fairways outside of your bedroom window, so you can just roll out of bed and be first on the golf course. Here are the top 10 golf hotels in Hawaii, listed in alphabetical order.

1. The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii

The adjacent 36-hole Francis H. I’i Brown championship golf course has two eighteen-hole courses built on lava beds and features ocean views. Guests also enjoy the warm hospitality of staff who teach water sports and lead historic hikes, oceanfront yoga sessions and stargazing gatherings. On an environmental note, the hotel doesn't use chemical cleaners, fertilizers or herbicides.

2. Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka'upulehu

The Hualalai Resort is home to two courses, but the Nicklaus Signature Design is the one you want. The eighteen-hole course, which hosts the annual Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai, was the first on the island to be designed by legend Jack Nicklaus. Signature hole 17 will remind you of why you picked up golf in first place, and a nighttime round of glow-in-the dark "scramble" will bring out the kid in you.

3. Four Seasons Resort Lana'i at Manele Bay

The hotel offers one of the most magnificent beaches in Hawaii, in addition to The Challenge at Manele golf course built on lava outcroppings with gorgeous Pacific views. Set dramatically above Hulopoe Bay, The Challenge has two holes where one must pitch the ball over the ocean to get to the green. The par 72 course was designed by golf legend Jack Nicklaus. Its less challenging sister course, The Experience at Koele, was designed by Greg Norman in 1991 with architect Ted Robinson's eye for seamlessly integrating the architecture with its impressive natural setting and water elements. The piece de résistance here at The Lodge at Koele, the other Four Seasons Resort Lanai, is signature hole 17, a 250-foot drop from the tee located in a lush gorge.

4. Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel

The hotel consists of 32 oceanfront acres, with restaurants, a spa, a golf course and 350 guest rooms, including 36 oceanfront suites and one very grand Hapuna Suite. With elevation that ranges from sea level up to 700 feet, Hapuna Golf Course is a championship course designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay that measures almost 6,900 yards. The signature twelfth hole, at just under 700 feet, offers panoramic views of the Big Island. Opt for at least an oceanview room since the views are spectacular and panoramic.

5. Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki

Golfers will appreciate the 27-hole course designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay. With views of the Waianae mountains, the 7,225-yard course covers 270 acres. Note that it's a 40-minute ride from the hotel to the course.

6. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., Mauna Kea Golf Course opened in 1964 and was christened by the "Big Three," Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. Nearly five decades later, it remains the golden standard by which other island courses are judged. The course was renovated in 2008 by Jones' son Rees who oversaw the planting of highly efficient TifEagle and 419 Bermuda grasses, as well as the additions of state-of-the-art irrigation and drainage systems. The challenging par 72 course spans 7,370 yards with elevation ranges from zero to 300 feet above sea-level.

7. Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows

Built on a lava bed, the sprawling 6,913-yard North Course offers a unique setting to tee off in. The rolling terrain, dotted with mesquite forests and herds of wild goats, is breathtaking. Opened in 1981, the par 72 course distinguishes itself from its sister South Course by its location further inland and its calmer winds. The unique seventeenth hole is a charming par 3 encased in a lava coliseum.

8. The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

Set on a 22,000-acre, historic pineapple plantation and flanked by both the Pacific Ocean and the West Maui mountains, the public, par 73 Kapalua Plantation Course offers a stunning setting for a day on the green. The home of the PGA Tour's Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Maui, its elevation changes and prevailing winds make this course, designed by famed duo Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, ideal for intermediate golfers.


9. The St. Regis Princeville Resort

The recently renovated par 72 Makai Golf Club, was designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. with five sets of golf tees for various levels of ability. The black tees are the most difficult and reserved for players with a handicap of five or less. Since this course is set against the ocean on Kauai's green North Shore, the winds can become quite strong, so make sure to plan ahead and bring extra golf balls. The Makai Course winds it way around serene lakes, native woodlands and the spectacular coastline with views of Bali Hai and Hanalei Bay.

10. Turtle Bay Resort

The resort has two challenging golf courses with a total of 36 championship holes designed by Arnold Palmer and George Fazio. The Palmer Course winds its way through natural wetlands, with its signature 17th hole on the coast, while the Fazio course is easier. The area comes into its own during the winter months when nearby beaches are the setting for gigantic surf and numerous surfing competitions. It’s a mecca for the international surf crowd, and the air can be absolutely electric with activity. All standard rooms have ocean views, and the newer villas and beach cottages are spacious and luxurious.


Carl Murphy


1 Response

Mike Smith

June 07, 2014

Great article and some fantastic photos of some of my favorite Hawaii golf courses.

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