Naniloa Golf Course

Naniloa Golf Course -- Fun Nine Hole Golf Course in North Hilo
Local Expert's Rating:
3 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Are you looking for a fun, fast, and affordable round of golf in North Hilo? If so, you're looking for Naniloa Golf Course. Naniloa Golf Course is partnered with the Grand Naniloa Hotel and Resort operated by Hilton DoubleTree and offers a fun round of nine holes, as well as a putting green and driving range. 

- The Local Expert Team

The recently renovated Naniloa Golf Course, also often referred to as the Banyan Golf Course, offers a fun and fast 9-hole game on the Big Island. This is a great place to go when you want to enjoy an enjoyable and affordable round of golf. 

This golf course’s two names refer to its location. The more common name of Nanilola Golf Course refers to it being a part of the Grand Naniloa Hotel and Resort operated by Hilton DoubleTree, while the name Banyan Golf Course refers to the roadway of Banyan Drive that wraps around most of the fairways. Banyan Drive is pretty well-known in its own right for being a beautiful tree-lined street that is also called the “Hilo Walk of Fame” due to several of those banyans being planted by celebrities, including Babe Ruth. Think of it as the Hawaiian version of Hollywood’s terrazzo and brass stars. 

Naniloa Golf Course was originally designed by Alexander Kahapea and first opened to the public in 1970 as a resort golf course. It exchanged hands several times in the subsequent years until finally landing as a part of the Hilton DoubleTree’s operation of the Grand Naniloa Hotel and Resort. This golf course underwent a significant renovation when Hilton DoubleTree first took over the multiple properties in 2016 and today is seen as a significantly improved course over earlier years. 

Situated in the heart of a little outcropping of land, the Naniloa Golf Course is a compact little course. While it did undergo a number of quality renovations, including landscaping and improved grading, this still isn’t going to be the prettiest or most challenging golf course on the Big Island. Do not go here expecting fantastic ocean vistas and stunning views around every corner. Do go here for a fun vibe and to enjoy plenty of nearby attractions.

There are three ways to play this course: Championship, Middle, and Forward. All of these features a par 35 with a couple of challenging water hazards and nearly a dozen sand traps. Guests of the Grand Naniloa Hotel and Resort do get to enjoy outstanding discounts here, with a nine-hole round being $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and a golf cart rental for just $10 when staying with Hilton. You can also opt to complete the nine holes twice, making for an 18-hole game for just a slight surcharge across the board. Rental clubs and range balls are also available. 

The Naniloa Golf Course also sports a putting green and driving range, both of these are likewise open for public use. However, you will generally find that due to the big discounts for resort guests, the golf course, putting green, and driving range are all primarily used by resort guests. You can reserve your use of any of these facilities by calling the main number at the Grand Naniloa Resort. 

Note that if you came to this course prior to 2019, you might have come here for a round of disc golf. Disc golf was quite popular during the aughts and ’10s, but DoubleTree operators chose to remove the baskets in 2019 to improve golfer access and experiences. 

Insider Tips:
-The Naniloa Golf Course might be on a peninsula surrounded by water, but it isn’t quite on the water. The good news is that you can walk just a block away to the beautiful Liliuokalani Gardens to enjoy beautiful waterscapes. Liluokalani Gardens is a special Japanese garden that features Edo-style landscapes just off the bay 
-The Banyan Drive we talked about earlier also provides an interesting walking adventure. Just in front of each banyan tree is a wooden plaque that lists who planted the tree and when. You’ll find the names of film stars, big-name athletes, and even presidents along this green Hilo Walk of Fame.