Mauna Kea 3rd hole is being redesigned by Rees Jones.
There are six islands in Hawaii
that vacationers can visit and choosing one can be confusing for those who haven't been to the Polynesian paradise before. However, if you're interested in top-notch golf, as well as a wide variety of accommodations, dining opportunities, beaches and other recreational diversions, it's pretty tough to beat the Kohala Coast region of Hawaii's Big Island (www.kohalacoastresorts.com).
The island of Hawaii, aka the Big Island, covers just over 4,000 square miles and is bigger than all of the other Hawaiian Islands combined. Its_Ê geographical diversity offers everything from volcanoes and forests to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Attractions include the district of Kona, where the well-known coffee is grown; Mauna Kea, the world's tallest mountain measured from the sea floor (bigger than Everest); Parker Ranch, one of the biggest and oldest working ranches in the country; and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, among others.
Hualalai's Jack Nicklaus signature course offers spectacular views of lava flows and the Pacific, and has plenty of tees to choose from._Ê
And on the northwest section of the Big Island you'll find the Kohala Coast, a 20-mile stretch of coastal area that offers near-perfect weather all year long (an average of 355 sunny days a year). Just a few minutes from Hawaii's Kona International Airport, the Kohala Coast has eight luxury hotels and several resort communities from which to choose, as well as a ton of recreation opportunities, particularly for the avid golfer.
Hualalai Golf Club, Jack Nicklaus Signature Course
Immaculately conditioned, the Nicklaus signature course offers several sets of tees that provide as much or little challenge as you like. Fantastic views of the Pacific, a pristine nine-acre range and a 27,000-square-foot short-game area, as well as a stunning clubhouse and restaurant, fill out the impressive facilities.
Mauna Kea Golf Course
Traditionally considered one of the best golf courses in all of Hawaii, the Mauna Kea Golf Course is currently being redesigned by Rees Jones, whose father, Robert Trent Jones Sr., designed the original course. The new Rees Jones design is scheduled to open in the Spring of 2009. Stay tuned.
The Beach Course at Waikaloa will challenge you with stiff ocean breezes._Ê
Hapuna Golf Course
Located within walking distance of Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, the Hapuna Golf Course features an Arnold Palmer/Ed Seay design that runs from the beach to approximately 700 feet above sea level. Spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and the Kohala Coast, as well as Mauna Kea Volcano, make Hapuna a real treat.
The 15th hole of Mauna Lani's South Course is truly spectacular_Ê
Francis H. I'i Brown North Course
Mauna Lani Resort's North Course rolls through lava flows and forest and is bordered by a 230-acre archaeological area that serves as a home to a variety of wildlife. Extremely well groomed, the North Course is both playable and challenging and is characterized by the signature par-3 17th hole that plays from an elevated tee down to the green that's located at the bottom of a deep lava bowl. If you're at Mauna Lani, don't miss this gem._Ê_Ê_Ê
Francis H. I'i Brown South Course
The South Course at Mauna Lani offers amazing ocean views and contrasting terrain. The signature 15th hole, which plays over the Pacific Ocean, is one of the most widely photographed holes in the world. The striking 7th hole also is known for its beautiful design.
For an authentic Hawaiian experience on the Kohala Coast, we like Mauna Lani. Be sure to speak to the resort's cultural historian Danny Akaka during your visit, and don't miss the green sea turtles (aka, honu). _Ê
Kings' Course, Waikoloa Beach & Golf Resort
Designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, the Kings' Course is one of the more unusual tracks on the Kohala Coast. With more than 80 traps filled with fine coral sand and approximately nine acres of water, the Kings' is a links-style course that offers a Scottish golfing experience in the midst of Hawaii's lava flows.
Beach Course, Waikoloa Beach & Golf Resort
In contrast to the Kings' Course, the Beach Course is a scenic resort-style track. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., the course provides interesting elevation changes and picturesque ocean holes. For the player looking for a pleasant afternoon of golf, the Beach Course is a solid choice on the Kohala Coast.
Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii www.fairmont.com/orchid
Four Seasons Resort, Hualalai
Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel
Hilton Waikoloa Village
Kona Village Resort
Mauna Kea Resort
Mauna Lani Resort