Hawaii is a paradise in more ways than one. While the Sunny tropical beaches, rainforests, waterfalls, and luxury resorts are a treat in themselves, a lesser-known aspect of the archipelago state is its spectacular golf courses.
For golf enthusiasts looking for challenging gameplay amid stunning natural landscapes and breathtaking views of the Pacific, there are as many as 70 major courses to choose from.
From championship courses graced by the likes of Tiger Woods, to the smaller resort courses for the average enthusiast, Hawaii has something for everyone.
If you have time on your hand, and money is no object, there are few better places to have the game of your life.
In this article, we’ve curated the best among the best, with brief overviews of each to help you plan the perfect golf vacation in paradise.
1. Mauna Kea Golf Course – Hawaii Island
Designed by renowned golf course architect, Robert Trent Jones, Sr. in 1964, the Mauna Kea Golf Course easily takes the cake as the best in the state of Hawaii.
Set on the foothills of Mauna Kea, the tallest volcano on the island, and a black lava field, there are no words to describe the spectacular beauty that players can bear witness to while playing on this golf course.
The course offers a challenging layout, with wide fairways, deep bunkers, and a signature 3rd hole that requires a tee shot over an ocean inlet to reach the fairway.
Surrounded by hotels, resorts, and residences, there are plenty of other activities for children and family members.
2. Kapalua Plantation Course – Maui
Home to the PGA’s Sentry Tournament of Champions, the Kapalua Plantation Course in Maui is a stunning one-of-a-kind course designed by Bren Crenshaw and Bill Coore.
Known for its ocean views and located on the slopes of the West Maui Mountains, it rarely gets better than this.
With 73 layout challenges in the midst of wide fairways and generous greens, the course has plenty to offer for pros and amateurs alike.
This course is consistently ranked #1 in Hawaii by GolfWeek, along with a string of other publications, and tops the bucket list of most golf enthusiasts the world over.
With an attached luxury resort, dining, and plenty of other activities, the Kapalua Plantation is perfect for a family vacation.
3. Kauai Lagoons Golf Club – Kauai
Set on the stunningly picturesque Garden Isle of Kauai, the Kauai Lagoons Golf Club, designed by Jack Nicklaus, features an 18-hole course that perfectly winds through lush tropical foliage and scenic lagoons.
The course offers quite the challenge for pros and amateurs alike, with plenty of water hazards and bunkers to navigate, keeping players constantly on their toes.
Formerly a 27-hole course, a major upgrade in 2015 shortened it to 18-holes, while keeping the broader layout intact.
Players start within a lush jungle and tropical scenery during the first half of the game, before hitting the coastal back nine, which offers views of the ocean that remains unrivaled even by Hawaiian standards.
4. Poipu Bay Golf Course – Kauai
Another stunning course to grace the island of Kauai, the Poipu Bay Golf Course is a magnificent gem designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. in 1991, who has clearly embraced the style and artistry of his father, the senior Jones.
Nestled in the Southern shore of Kauai and eight stories above the Pacific Ocean, it blends perfectly into the lush Emerald mountains acting as a backdrop.
Unlike the ones discussed above, this course offers a rather challenging layout, requiring precision shots by players to avoid the numerous traps.
Located adjacent to the infamous Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, this course offers plenty for golfers, their families, and children alike.
The course comes equipped with advanced golf carts, GPS tracking and a host of other features, while also having a golf store on-site, selling a wide range of golf and golf cart accessories, including the branded EZGO accessories.
Hawaii has a growing golf scene, and the number of courses, resorts, and tournaments are only set to grow from here.
Beware, however, that a golf vacation in paradise can ruin you forever since no other course in the world can match the experience, no matter how highly rated it is.
With the right planning, golf enthusiasts can have the time of their lives, playing the game they love in some of the most beautiful places in existence.