Oahu offers challenging and beautiful golf courses from the famous North Shore to the rainforests on the windward side.
Keep in mind that Windward and Leeward golf courses play differently because of the prevailing winds. It might be beautiful and sunny on the Leeward side while raining on the windward side. If playing the windward side, we always recommend a later start time to let courses dry out a bit as they usually get night rains.
The main courses we like to recommend are Ko'olau, the most beautiful course to play, making you feel you are playing in Jurassic Park (bring a lot of balls), Kapolei Golf Course and Waikele Golf Course. The closest one to Waikiki is Ala Wai Golf Course, considered to be the busiest golf course in America, so would not recommend that one.
As a money-saving tip, many Oahu courses offer twilight rates if you're willing to tee off in the afternoon, usually between 1 and 3 p.m.
Luana Hills Country Club
Perhaps the most beautiful golf course on Oahu, Luana Hills is a one-of-a-kind creation, sculpted by Pete/Perry Dye Design in 1994. Situated only 20 minutes from Honolulu in the Ko'olau Mountains. The narrow fairways place a premium on shot accuracy. The greens are small, undulating, and sloped. The signature hole is #10, a par 3, requiring a tee shot to an island green. The 5,522-yard men's tee also has a ladies' course rating of 70.9 and slope of 139. The 4,654-yard ladies' tee also has a men's course rating of 61.7 and slope of 117.
Ko Olina has been recognized by Golf Digest as one of the "Top 75 Resort Courses in the U.S.". The course includes 16 water features on 8 different holes, multi-tiered greens, and well-manicured fairways. Ko Olina will challenge golfers to use every club in the bag with its demanding par 3's, well bunkered greens and gentle trade winds. Ko Olina is the annual home for The LPGA Fields Open (February 2007). Water is the defining feature at the beautiful Ko Olina Golf Club, located only 25 miles from Honolulu on Oahu's sunny southwest tip. Ted Robinson, a designer best known for his "waterscapes," took former sugar cane lands and moved more than a million cubic yards of dirt to create Ko Olina. He added mountings and contours, elevated tees and greens, and planted more than a thousand stately coconut palms and other trees. And, true to his trademark, he added lots of water. Waterfalls feed into streams that widen into pools that become lakes From the back tees Ko Olina measures 6,867 yards and is superbly maintained, with wide fairways and well-bunkered, multi-tiered greens.
Nestled along the Ewa Plain, this course will provide a challenging test to golfers of all skill levels. The course was designed to expose natural coral rock formations in cliff-like structures, which adds to the beauty of the terrain. Water comes into play on thirteen holes, with six of the lakes fully lined with coral reefs, and interconnected by a coral creek. One of Coral Creek's eighteen signature holes is #18, a short 381-yard, par 4, which is uncommon for a finishing hole because it features a challenging island green lying thirty feet below the natural ground surface. The course has been divided into five vastly different "flower neighborhoods," each exclusively showcasing red, green and yellow flowers as well as native Hawaiian and palm vegetation.
Located on Oahu's scenic North Shore, the Arnold Palmer Course is home of the PGA Champion's Tour Turtle Bay Championship held every January and the LPGA's SBS Open held every February. Ranked by Golf Digest as one of the top courses in Hawaii, this 36-hole resort features two outstanding 18-hole regulation courses, designed by Arnold Palmer and George Fazio. The prevailing winds and many sand bunkers make the Fazio course demanding for even the best players. This layout has broad fairways, deep bunkers, and large, gently rolling greens. The Palmer Course was expanded to a full 18-holes in 1992. This 7,199-yard track was named one of GOLF MAGAZINE's Top 10 You Can Play. Its front nine plays through open, rolling terrain, and the back nine winds through ironwood trees and wetlands.
Considered to be "The World's Most Challenging Golf Course" from the back tees, Ko'olau promises a memorable golf experience for golfers of all skill levels. Rated in Golf Magazine's "Top 100 Courses to Play" and named the "#1 Golf Course on Oahu" by Golf Digest. Carved out of a magnificent tropical forest, Ko'olau Golf Club is one of the most inspiring golf experiences you will play - anywhere in the world. Ko'olau is nestled below Oahu's historic and popular Pali Lookout. Koolau offers breathtaking views of the majestic 2,000-foot-high cliffs of the Ko'olau Mountain Range, cascading waterfalls and commanding views of the Pacific Ocean and the beautiful windward side of Oahu. Ko'olau's natural setting provided master golf course architect Dick Nugent the opportunity to create a gem of a golf course that encompasses over 280 acres of spectacular terrain with a scenic 7,310-yard, par-72 layout unlike any other in the world. Ko'olau features impeccable conditioning and some of the most extraordinary scenery in the world.
Ideally located in the beautiful Windward community of Waimanalo, a scenic 30 minute drive from Waikiki. Olomana offers two distinctly different nines, each equally challenging. Their front nine features level fairways with a formidable water hazard at each hole while the back nine's irregular rolling hills are stippled with sand bunkers. Olomana, has always been a favourite course for the locals living in Oahu. The course has great views of the Ko'olau Mountains. Next time you you are on the Windward side of Oahu, come enjoy Olamana Golf Links.
This facility has an eighteen hole regulation course and an eighteen hole executive course. The Executive Course, which is a long par 3 course, allows walking. There are ocean views from every tee. The Championship Course has two hidden lakes that come into play. This course does not allow nine hole weekend play. The courses are enjoyable and very popular.
This club has three nine hole courses that are played in three eighteen hole combinations. There are 270 acres of stunning views of the rain-carved Waianae Mountains. Ten scenic lakes protect many of the well-manicured greens. The club hosts several celebrity tournaments and the Super Pro Am. These courses are suited for both the beginning and above average golfer. The Hawaii Prince Golf Academy is located on premises.
Kapolei Golf Course was the home of the 1996-2001 LPGA Ladies Hawaiian Open and was rated as one of the best courses on Oahu by both Golf Digest Magazine & the Zagat Survey. Located west of Pearl Harbor, in Sunny Kapolei, Oahu's second city, the par-72 championship layout is beautifully landscaped with floral gardens, thousands of coconut palms, and five expansive lakes. Architect Ted Robinson, who is known for his creative use of water, moved massive amounts of dirt to create the lakes and to provide elevation and contouring for the course. Altogether the lakes come into play on 12 holes, and, in addition to being aesthetically pleasing, serve an important environmental function, catching storm run-off from the surrounding terrain. Kapolei measures 7,001 yards from the back tees, but with multiple tee positions the course can be enjoyed by all levels of golfers. More than 80 bunkers, elevated greens, and gently contoured fairways add to the challenge.
The Makaha Golf Club is a combination of picturesque tropical beauty and a brilliantly designed layout make Makaha Resort Golf Club one of Oahu's most alluring courses. Forty-five miles from the glitter of Waikiki in western Oahu, the Makaha Resort offers all the tranquility of a secluded country estate. Golfers will enjoy not only the challenging play but the beautifully landscaped links. Strutting peacocks and well-placed ponds, palm trees, and bougainvillea provide constant visual delights. The course takes full advantage of the natural splendors of the Makaha Valley, following the valley's graceful contours, and winding past fern-covered glens. The jewel- like course is framed by the Waianae Mountain Range, with the awesome Mt. Kaala, which rises almost vertically for more than 5,000 feet above the valley floor, visible from every hole. You will also find some strange phenomena on the course. The terrain appears to rise up when it's actually sloping down and players experience other visual distortions when standing on the greens. These anomalies may be contributed to "the slope of the valley, the mountain shadows, or even perhaps Makaha's ghost."
This course overlooks Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial. The course is hilly, resulting in some challenging lies. The fairways are wide and tree lined, and water hazards come into play on three holes. Sand bunkers also come into play on nearly every hole throughout the design. The well-maintained greens are large, undulating, fast and difficult to read. The signature hole is #7, a 335-yard, par 4, featuring an elevated tee, out-of-bounds on the left and right sides of the landing zone, and a green that is protected by two sand bunkers on the right side and a water hazard in front.
Royal Kunia has been described as the best new course in Oahu. The course was re-opened in 2003 and has been a local favorite ever since. The course is blessed with great views of Pearl Harbor and the city of Honolulu. Situated only 35 minutes from Waikiki, the course offers a great golfing experience for the beginner to low handicapper. The par 5 ninth hole is the signature hole of the course measuring 621 yards from the back tees. From the tee's one gets a panoramic view of the entire south shore of Oahu. Come play Oahu's newest course and experience a golf pleasure few will ever have. On your next visit to Oahu, play the course the locals waited 10 years to play.
Waikele Golf Club is the perfect choice for families staying in Waikiki. Golfers can play a great game of golf while their families shop at the near by Waikele premier factory outlet. Designed by internationally renowned golf course architect Ted Robinson, Waikele is just 30 minutes west of Waikiki in a region of exceptional beauty. The course overlooks Pearl Harbor and the blue Pacific. Turn, and your gaze sweeps from Diamond Head to the sculpted slopes of the Ko'olau and Waianae mountains. Waikele Golf Club provides challenges and enjoyment to players of all skill levels from beginner to pro through the use of water features and special topography. Surrounding the course are spectacular views of Diamond Head, Pearl Harbor, and the Ko'olau and Waianae mountains. Beautiful water features, rolling fairways, undulating TifEagle greens and strategically placed bunkers round out Waikele's unique design.
Located minutes from Waikiki, the Ala Wai Golf Course is a city-run municipal course popular with locals and visitors alike. This course is ranked by locals as being the busiest course in the state. The course was redesigned by Bob Baldock in 1962 and by Robin Nelson in 1986. The terrain is predominantly flat, but there are some mounds around the greens and fairways that will cause uneven lies. Additionally, there is a canal that comes into play on three holes. Fun course and features views of Diamond Head, the Koolau Mountain Range, and the Waikiki skyline."