If you’ve always dreamed of golfing your way through paradise, start planning your Mauna Lani Golf experience. Their courses meander along the northwestern coast near their Big Island resort, creating the perfect setting for the golf game of a lifetime. Vivid green fairways sit atop jet black lava rock terrain, while kiawe trees dot the landscape. Ocean views dominate the scenery, although the truly stunning mountainside refuses to fade into the background.
The South Course sits upon ancient Kaniku lava flows, which served to guide its iconic layout that snakes its way across the landscape. The design came about through a collaboration between three talented architects, Raymond Cain, Robin Nelson, and Homer Flint, in 1981. Par 72 overall, this course brings on the big challenges, including sand traps galore and wicked trade winds. As the only par 3s, the 7th and 15th holes demand the most concentration, although the entire course will have you strategizing like mad to come in under par.
In 1988, Cane, Nelson, and Flint came back together once again to design the North Course. During its design, they had to work with even older lava flows plus move along protected lands to the north. Unexpected elevation changes are the norm as a result, as surprise hazards in the form of feral goats. Multitudes of kiawe trees seemingly complicate matters even more yet serve as much-needed windbreaks here and there. The 17th hole serves as the most challenging of the lot, demanding that you maneuver through the elevated tees without coming in over par 3.
Both of their 18-hole courses earned an instant following at their inception. Their exceptional designs made them challenging enough for the pros without leaving beginners in the dust. As a result, their courses work well for families looking to make lasting memories on the fairways along with all the golf legends as well. In fact, the South Course long served as the venue of choice for the Senior Skins Game. Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, and many other greats sought to conquer the course over the years. Big and small tournaments continue to land at their courses to this day, treating the newest pros to exhilarating gameplay with the views to match.
As for families, the 9-hole Wikiwiki course is the ideal place to go nowadays. Short and sweet, this course offers about an hour’s worth of gameplay, leaving plenty of time in the day for other island explorations. Designed much in the same way as their two main courses, this short stretch offers many challenges for golfers of all skill levels. You can come back, again and again, to master each hole if you wish – or just cross it off your bucket list and move on to the many other courses in paradise.
If you’d like other quick golfing experiences, sign up for their Sunset Golf Tour as well. During that experience, you get to play three holes as the sun goes down over the horizon. The ocean views don’t get much better than that, so it’s well worth enjoying at least once in your life.
Although their golf courses serve as the main attraction, of course, their offerings do not end there. Onsite, you’ll also find a fully stocked Golf Shop with all the best golf equipment to buy and rent. Want to make good use of your Callaway club rentals? Ask about their golf lessons as well. Seasoned pros await the chance to help visitors strategize their shots and perfect every swing. They even offer golf demonstration clinics on the regular, allowing you to see how the pros approach the game.
-Are you staying at the Mauna Lani Resort or Fairmont Orchid? Request their value rates when booking your tee times.
-Want to introduce your kids to the game of golf? Ask about their discounts and complimentary club rentals for children.