A team of Oyster reporters spent a month exploring 92 top resort hotels on the islands of Oahu, Maui, and Kauai. We slept in the beds, lounged on the beaches, ate in the restaurants, and even danced some hula, all with an eye toward selecting the most distinguished properties. Here’s our list of the best hotel golf courses in Hawaii.
The Wailea Golf Club's three world-class, 18-hole courses -- two of them designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. -- overlook the town's beaches and resorts and offer discounted pricing to Wailea resort guests. The nearby Makena Golf Course offers even more challenging holes.
Wailea is home to some of Hawaii's best golf. As the highest-elevated course on Maui's south shore, Makena Beach and Golf Resort's Makena Golf Course gives players stunning views of Mount Haleakala, the island's dormant volcano, and the Molokini and Lanai islands. Like the Wailea Golf Club's Emerald and Gold courses, the 18-hole Makena course is designed by famed golf architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. But the 6,914-yard Makena, with its narrow fairways, is considered the most challenging of the three.
Kapalua Resort is home to two 18-hole courses: the Arnold Palmer and Francis Duane-designed Bay Course and the Plantation Course, designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore. Both are oceanfront and located on opposite sides of the Ritz-Carlton resort, facing different sides of the Kapalua Coast. It was also named the 15th best Golf Resort in North America by Golf Digest.
Turle Bay often makes, but doesn't top, lists of the best golf resorts in Hawaii. The more notable of its two 18-hole golf courses is the Arnold Palmer course, designed by Ed Seay and Arnold himself. With narrow fairways and sneaky bunkers, it's a challenging course. It's also a beautiful one, surrounded by jungle and a wetland bird sanctuary. The course's signature hole, the 17th, offers stunning ocean views from a plateau 100 feet above the sea, but the course lacks the oceanfront yardage of Kauai's top courses. The second and older Fazio course by respected designer Tom Fazio is easier both on the player and the pocketbook.