Kona Country Club

Kona Country Club -- Premier Course With Holes Abutting the Pacific Ocean
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

The Kona Country Club is a premier golf course on the west side of Hawaii -- the very west side. Many of the holes run alongside or otherwise abut the Pacific Ocean itself, offering an exceptional island golfing experience. 

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

The Big Island has many fantastic golf courses with outstanding views for enthusiasts to choose from. However, most are not going to be on the water itself and are rather tucked up on ridges and volcano slopes. Most but not all. The Kona Country Club on Hawaii’s western shoreline is an excellent outlier that offers its patrons an exciting 18-hole, par 72 course with holes abutting the Pacific Ocean. 

The golf course at Kona Country Club is said to have been designed by early golf course architect William P. Bell, but it was not fully built until 1966, a date well after his death. This first rendition of the Kona Country Club was called Alii Mountain and featured 36 holes; 18 developed closer to the Pacific Ocean called the Ocean Course and 18 further inland on mountain ridges called the Mountain Course. In 2013, the club closed for three years for renovations, and during that time, the 18 holes associated with the Mountain Course were closed, and the turf was removed and returned to more natural landscaping. Then what was the Ocean Course became fully revamped for a better appearance and functionality (thanks to upgraded irrigation, leveled fairways, and refurbished bunkers, tees, and greens). It’s this renovated 18-hole golf course that now makes up the Kona Country Club.

You will find the Kona Country Club about six miles south of downtown Kailua-Kona. While the fairways and greens meander along the oceanfront as well as just off of it, there are some elevation changes. For example, the opening tee shot will have a 30 feet drop from the box to the fairway and then require a renewed uphill approach. Most of the fairways feature palm trees and island pine with other foliage dotted alongside. This, combined with those ocean backdrops, creates a gorgeous tropical island feel. 

Each of the holes at the Kona Country Club has something special to offer, but the crowd favorite is certainly their Signature 3rd Hole, a 218 par 3. This hole offers dramatic ocean vistas, but while the Pacific Ocean lies along the full right of this hole, it is separated by a nice lava rock wall. Another specialty hole is the course’s 13th hole which uniquely features a blowhole known as a “puka” so that with every shot, you chance an exciting splash of ocean water.

If you’re still not sure if the Kona Country Club is right for your next golfing putting, consider that this course has been rated by Golf Digest as one of the top 100 courses as well as being recognized in other stellar publications like ESPN, ZAGAT Guide, and Golf for Women magazine as one of the best courses in the nation.

Before or after your game, be sure to check out the Pro Shop at Kona Country Club and The View Bar & Grill. The golf pro shop boasts an exciting collection of golfing items that includes branded shoes, apparel, and accessories. They also have rental clubs available for visitors. The onsite restaurant of The View Bar & Grill is not exceptional, but they do make a solid breakfast and offer a nice outdoor area for enjoying a light lunch and drink after a hardy game.

Insider Tips:
-Not all Hawaii golf clubs are serious about keeping to their dress code, but Kona Country Club is. Collared shirts are a must for both men and women, jeans and bathing suit attire are prohibited, and golf shoes are a must for anyone stepping out onto the fairways (yes, even if you’re not technically playing). Parties will be turned away if they have members who do not comply.
-Unlike other golf courses, the personal golf carts are fully outfitted (cooler packed with ice and bottled water, GPS system, etc.) and you can rely on a ready beverage cart coming around throughout your game. In other words, don’t worry about bringing your own items.