When you think of booking the perfect golf trip, few think of Hawaii. Known for its rolling beaches, gorgeous seas, and amazing people – Hawaii is a nirvana. What few know is that hidden in all of this beauty is a golfing paradise. The best golf courses in Oahu would rival any in the world and if you are after a unique golfing experience this could be the place for you.
Hawaii is one of my favorite places on earth. I love the atmosphere, the surf and the fishing (make sure you leave room for a fishing line in your suitcase!). However, when I first arrived in Oahu little did I know that the best thing about this place was the amazing golf!
So let’s dive in to my best golf courses in Oahu!
When talking about the best golf courses in Oahu, Ko Olina Golf Club is the top of most people’s lists. It has, in my opinion, one of the most stunning holes in all of golf – the 12th named waterfall. I have included a picture below and you can see the magnificence of this wonderful golf course in that picture.
This is one of the few courses in the world where the walk and surroundings are the main events and the golf almost becomes secondary. This course is not designed for beginners who may struggle to keep up with the length and design of each hole but if you are up for a challenge this course is for you. Another aspect of this course is the wind. This can pick up adding another layer to this three-tiered course.
Overall, this is just a must-visit when deciding which of the best golf courses in Oahu to visit.
Turtle Bay is a course that has something to offer all golfers. The Arnold Palmer championship course offers breathtaking fairways, deep bunkers, and incredible ocean views. What I love about this course is the variety it offers. The front nine will challenge golfers with a Scottish Links style layout, while the back nine has a more tropical setting as it works its way through a tropical jungle. Water comes into play on 14 of the Palmer holes which will challenge even the best golfers. On the 17th, the signature hole offers panoramic Pacific ocean views from the green but don’t get distracted as the fairway has 9 greens dotted down it which are waiting to catch you out.
This is regarded as the toughest course in all of Oahu, whilst be rated as the 3rd best by golfers digest. The Ko’olau Golf Club is carved out of the rainforest and blends effortlessly into its natural surroundings to provide a wonderful all-round experience.
On this course, you will be hitting tee shots to tight fairways with no margin for error (unless you enjoy looking for golf balls in the jungle) and approaching well-protected greens with no leeway for misplaced shots. Your main concern playing this course is not getting lost in the jungle but losing your golf game somewhere around this tough course.
Don’t let this put you off though, this course is stunning and the surroundings are magnificent – also, there aren’t many people who can say they have weaved their way around a jungle whilst playing golf.
Ultimately, who doesn’t love a challenge and when you are walking down 18 on this course you will know you have competed against one of the hardest courses in the world (ranked 3rd toughest according to CNN).
Another great golf course which you can get lost in nature whilst playing is the Royal Hawaiian Golf Club. It features all the things you expect from a top-notch course including a variety of forced carries off the tee, bunkers bordered by railroad ties, par-3’s over water to island greens, and fairways that fall off steeply into bunkers and ravines. The front nine is played along the base of Mount Olomana which stands, intimidatingly, above the course, whilst the back nine goes through the rainforest offering unbelievable scenery whilst you tailback to the clubhouse.
Home to the Sony Open in Hawaii, Waialae Country Club is one of only 40 country club courses throughout the nation chosen to host a sanctioned PGA Tour event. The wind sweeps across the course and can offer a stern challenge to golfers who are struggling to keep their ball under control. The signature hole is the par 3 eighth, as is bordered along its full 186 yards by the Pacific Ocean.
Now, if you fancy a hit on the Wai’alae you are going to have to stump up for a membership or get in with a current member as guests are the only ‘non-members’ allowed on the course.