The Ocean Course at Hokuala was designed by legend Jack Nicklaus, and it’s almost as if the course were created for his personal enjoyment. Challenging holes weave through a natural amphitheater that buttresses the ocean — and sometimes seems as if it wants to throw your ball in.
The Ocean Course that Nicklaus designed is not for the timid golfer. Be prepared for holes with narrow passages, fairways that go straight into the wind, and blind legs to the right. These features are true PGA-level challenges, and they’re what makes this course so fun for the accomplished golfer. Those who aren’t as experienced might want to bring a few boxes of balls along or skip select holes in favor of capturing the scenery via camera.
The inherent design challenges that The Ocean Course at Hokuala include are made only more difficult by the terrain of the course. Situated in a natural amphitheater, cliffs, the ocean, and hills all permeate the holes. The strong and swirling breezes only add to all of that excitement.
A few of our favorite features at The Ocean Course at Hokuala include:
13th to 15th Holes
The back nine is where the ocean views are, and they really come into view starting at Hole 13. Take plenty of time to admire the sea by Hole 15, because you’ll need to be on-game for the two that follow.
The fact that a PGA Championed designed a 253-yard hole that’s only par 4 should tip you off to something. The 16th Hole has more than initially meets the eye — quite literally. A leg to the right is hidden from view, and you likely won’t initially know where your ball lands. Oh, and the ocean lies to the left in case you thought of favoring that side of the leg.
The winds on the back nine are especially strong, and the 17th Hole heads straight into them. Stick with a low shot to maximize distance, and be prepared for it to fall short of the target. There’s a drop to the ocean that makes those short shots even more problematic.
The pro shop is staffed with lifetime golfers, many of whom have been working here for decades. Don’t just ask about the best clubs and other equipment, but seek out some tips on how to manage the back nine — you’ll be glad for any help you’ve gleaned once you get there.
The Snack Shack’s menu at The Ocean Course is fairly typical for a golf course in this area. The food is anything but typical, however. The musubi in particular, is often regarded as the best you can get on the island.
Prices here at The Ocean Course aren’t cheap, but the charges are reasonable when you consider the quality and location. If you’re in search of an unforgettable experience that few courses can match, The Ocean Course at Hokuala is a hole-in-one.
Bring a pair of binoculars with you to scan those ocean views. Whales can often be seen in the distance at The Ocean Course, and a pod of dolphins resides in the bay.