Makalei Golf Club is a multifaceted mountain course with a colorful landscape located in the Kona District of Hawaii. This is a great public golf course to go to when you want something close to the West Coast, something affordable, and something with a good challenge amidst a beautiful layout.
You will find the Makalei Golf Club on the northern outskirts of Kalaoa along Mamalahoa Highway, a location that makes it close to the Kona International Airport as well as many of the biggest resorts and destinations in this part of Hawaii. This is a par 72 course that is best known for its lush mountain ridge landscapes. The entirety of the course sits atop an elevation range varying between 1,800 and 2,850 feet and its layout was done in order to best emphasize this region and altitude’s unique beauty. This means that as golfers make their way through each hole, they will experience moving through a variety of Hawaiian landscapes that include native forests, lava tubes, and cinder cones. And it’s not just flora, fauna, and rock formations! Makalei Golf Club’s course is renowned for its resident wildlife which includes pheasants, wild turkeys, and wild peacocks (including a feisty king named Paul Revere).
The course at Makalei Golf Club was designed by architect Dick Nugent to be welcoming for golf players of every skill level. But don’t confuse welcoming with easy. This is going to be a challenging course as many of its design aspects were built around and in cooperation with the existing natural landscapes. Over the course of the eighteen holes, golfers will walk through an elevation change of 1,000 feet and enjoy outstanding views that stretch all the way out to the ocean on one side and the towering Mount Haleakala on another. The signature hole for this course is hole number fifteen.
Unlike some other public courses on the Big Island, Makalei Golf Club does include both an onsite restaurant and a fully-equipped pro shop. The pro shop includes a massive selection of golf wear and equipment available for purchase with rental clubs available upon request. This shop is a great place to pick up accessories and branded apparel to bring home as a souvenir of your time playing on the slopes of Mount Haleakala. You will find a driving range, chipping area, and two practice putting greens just behind this pro golf shop — all of which are fantastic places to hone your skills before a big round. You can also enroll in lessons if you’re just getting started with the game.
The Peacock Grille (named after the friendly birds frequently cited preening on and off the course) is a nice casual Americana bistro. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu items with daily specials each day of the week. While probably not a restaurant you would go out of your way for, this place does provide a nice array of food options and boasts the convenience of being right next door to the Makalei Golf Club. Plus, they have a fantastic patio area atop which you can enjoy a cup of coffee before you head out for your game.
The beverage cart for this course currently runs at odd times, available some weeks only on the weekends. While that might be frustrating for some, the Makalei Golf Club does offer a nice trade-off for it. Since the start of this year, the club has allowed all golfers to bring their own coolers with non-alcoholic beverages.