By Ed Chung
If you’re a golf enthusiast, there is nothing better than golfing while you’re on vacation. The courses on the Big Island will not disappoint golfers of all skill levels. Your golfing options are vast and only limited by your resolve to play them all. There are resort courses, and then you have the hidden gems that provide awesome golf, views, service, and memories. If you are staying anywhere on the Waikoloa Coast, you can easily access three of these courses from all major resorts and locations from Kona to Kohala. These courses all offer memorable views of the Waikoloa coastline because they are situated well above sea level with each course boasting their own distinct design features and challenges.
Makalei Golf Club starts at 1,800 feet and elevates the golfer to 2,850 feet over the course of the round. You will be surprised by how high you get on the course and golfers will feel like they are on top of the world. Personally, I still remember the views decades later after playing at Makalei because of the spectacular scenery of Mount Haleakala on Maui and the picturesque sight of the Kohala Coast. The course is situated amongst indigenous flora and fauna of the area, which includes many native species of plants as well as numerous peacocks, pheasants, wild turkeys, and other wildlife. Other special features include bent grass greens, lava tubes, cinder cones, and a century old Hawaiian stone wall. Makalei is truly an experience that will not be forgotten.
The Village Course at Waikoloa is an original Robert Trent Jones II design. Just minutes from the Waikoloa resort, it’s an opportunity to fit golf into your relaxing schedule to take in the views of the Kohala Coast, Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, and Maua’s Haleakala. The friendly staff makes you feel welcomed upon arrival and aims to deliver all around exceptional customer service. The course is one of the Big Island gems featuring wide forgiving landing areas, undulating greens, and uniquely filled bunkers. The course can be challenging on windy days but for the most part it offers an enjoyable round of golf for all skill levels. If you’re looking to tune up your game, the golf professionals offer individual and group lessons. This is a favorite course for visitors and locals alike, don’t miss out on finding out why for yourself.
Makani Golf Club is another great course for views and a great golf challenge. From the moment you drive onto it’s 150 acre property, you will be completely distracted by the views from an elevation of 2,200 feet. It’s signature hole is designed after the legendary 17th at TPC Sawgrass, known as the “most terrifying tee shot in golf”. Just the feeling of hitting the green is worth the trip.