Big Island, Big Fairways

April, 15, 2021

Where most people might think of California, Florida or even Scotland as the world’s mecca of golf, true believers keep coming back to hit the links right here on the Big Island.

Some of the world’s top course designers have made their mark on the Big Island. And why not? It’s a unique opportunity to do so on one of the world’s greatest natural settings. Carving out both championship-level fairways and humble municipal sites from the local lava rock has inspired fantastic runs. And being that there are all sorts of terrain and climates here, it could be teeing off a volcano one day and being sprayed by ocean winds the next. If you’re serious about golf, you’re seriously going to love your golfing options here. Ready to get into the swing of things? Here are a few of the best golf courses you will find on the Big Island.

Oceanic Adventure 

Image Courtesy of Mauna Kea Resort

If you think that teeing up next to the Pacific Ocean and enjoying a full day of waterfront views as you make your way down the green sounds like a day well spent, you may want to check out the Mauna Kea Golf Course. Here you will enjoy stunning vistas of nearby coves and resort beaches while you try to beat the par. Recent modernizing efforts mean that the championship course isn’t quite as hard as it was back when it debuted in 1964, but it’s still quite challenging. And if it all looks familiar, don’t be too surprised. This is one of the most widely photographed courses in the world thanks to its unbelievably picturesque setting.

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Lavas to Love 

Image Courtesy of Mauna Lani Golf

The whole mystique of Hawai`i is the world’s largest mountain, bubbling up from the seafloor as a massive mound of volcanic rock gets its own evocation here in golf form. The Mauna Lani Resort South Course has loads of stunning views like many courses around it — but expect a little something more special. Some of the holes actually end up against black lava rocks sticking out of the sea. You don’t see that every day on a back nine! Regardless of the sometimes surreal landscape, it’s a relatively easygoing course to enjoy. You’ll see plenty of ocean blue coming up against the deep green, quite an eyeful you won’t soon forget.

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Classic Pedigree 

Image Courtesy of Four Seasons Hualalai

One of the more storied golf courses here on the Big Island would be Hualalai. This is the very first one that legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus ever designed, and it has truly stood the test of time. Expect some of the more dramatic terrains you will find while swinging clubs on Hawai`i, as jagged black lava flows cut through the green. We won’t blame you if you feel like you’re teeing up in a Lord of the Rings movie!

It’s over 7,100 yards of impeccable play with a nice mix of challenging holes and free and open fairways. It’s a truly unique experience for even the most seasoned of players to enjoy. Another nice perk: exclusivity. If you want to play here, you need to be a local resident or guest of the hotel on the grounds. Once you make it, you’ll have some serious bragging rights!

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Getting Away from it All

If you’re the sort of person who wants to avoid crowds and proximity to more populated areas, then hit up the Makani Golf Club. High up at 2,000 feet of elevation, this is the only place here in Hawai`i that features bentgrass greens thanks to the cooler air. Expect to share your excursion with loads of wild birds and beautiful water features. Created by legendary course designer Perry Dye, it’s one of the loveliest settings to accompany your strokes with amazing views of the neighboring Mauna Kea Volcano, as well as the coastline far down below. Exhilarating and inspiring, this is one of the best golfing experiences you will have on the island, as sublime as it gets!

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For a full list of golf courses on the Big Island visit:

2015 Sony Open in Hawaii

January, 13, 2015

Golf Ball

Golf Ball
Photo by Tord Sollie

The winter months are a great time to migrate to the Hawaiian Islands.  The humpback whales figured this out a long time ago and Canadian and US snowbirds have been doing it since they could easily fly here.  January brings a gentle 78 ºF (25 ºC) to the Hawaiian Islands and it’s the perfect time to take an extended vacation.

January is also the time of year when 144 of the world’s greatest golf professionals descend on the island of Oahu for the Sony Open in Hawaii.  This golf tradition dates back to 1965 when it was simply called the Hawaiian Open.  Fifty years later the name may have changed but golfers and their fans still come to the same course, Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, to be a part of the PGA Tour’s first full-field event of the calendar year.

The course was initially designed by Seth Raynor in 1927.  However, changes were made by Desmond Muirhead in 1992.  Today the 18-hole course is known for its wide, forgiving fairways lined with coconut trees.  If you’ve ever watched the course on TV, you’ll probably remember it for its signature hole (the par 3 eighth hole) which boarders on 186 yards of breathtaking ocean.

This year the official tee off of the first round will be January 15th and the final round will finish on the 18th.  If you’re a golf enthusiasts you won’t want to miss watching the pros play across the lush, tropical landscape as the gentle breeze blows in from the coast.  Of course, if you can’t make it to Waialae-Kahala, you can always watch the Open with the other 560 million viewers at home.

Waialae Country Club, in Honolulu
Waialae Country Club, in Honolulu

The Sony Open is the largest, charity, sporting event in Hawaii.  Each year the Open raises over one million dollars, which goes to various none-profit organizations.  Since Sony took over sponsorship in 1999 the event has raised over $14 million for Hawaiian community organizations.

Once you’ve watched the pros you’ll want to head over to the Big Island to play on some of the most amazing and beautiful courses in the world.  (Read Golf, Golf, Golf to find out more.)  From palm tree lined fairways to spectacular ocean vistas your biggest challenge will be concentrating on your swing rather than the velvet green.  Of course, if you do knock one into the Pacific you’ve got a great excuse.  “Everything is just too darn scenic.”

Would you like more information about snowbird homes on the Big Island or details about one of our luxury listings?   Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at MacArthur Sotheby’s International Realty.

Golf, Golf, Golf!

June, 26, 2013

Francis H. Brown South Golf Course, Photo by April & Randy

If you’re planning on spending your vacation on the putting green, then you’re coming to the right place.  The Big Island has some of the most amazing and beautiful courses in the world.  From palm tree lined fairways to spectacular ocean vistas your biggest challenge will be concentrating on your swing rather than the velvet green.  Of course, if you do knock one into the Pacific you’ve got a great excuse.  “Everything is just too darn scenic.”

On our website we offer a variety of vacation rentals.  You can easily choose between ocean view, mountain view, and golf course view.  Here are a few that border on golf courses and a little about the courses in the area.

Mauna Lani Fairways # 905 is a 3 bedroom/ 3 bath condominium on the Francis H. Brown North Golf Course.  This modern vacation rental mixes luxury living with traditional Hawaiian furniture.  Enjoy the resort’s swimming pool, spas, tennis court, beach, and other amenities all while staying in the comfort of a home.  The Francis H. Brown North Golf Course is not for beginners.  You’ll have to avoid the kiawe trees that dot the lush grounds.  Most agree the south course is easier.

Nestled in the foothills of Mauna Kea, Paniolo Greens vacation rental, is a  5 bedroom/ 4 bath  home by Waikoloa Village Golf Course.  If you’re bringing a large family to the Big Island this home is perfect (can sleep 10). With a spacious kitchen and both indoor and outdoor eating areas you’ll have plenty of space for the kids.  Lounge in the resort’s pool or hot tube while taking in the captivating mountains.  What about the golf?  Waikoloa Village Golf Course was designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. to be both challenging for serious golfers, yet fun for beginners.  The 6,791-yard par-72 course is a favorite of local golfers.

Mauna Kea Golf Course, Photo from 46137

Hale Pau Hanain is a vacation estate located near the Mauna Kea Golf Course.  This 5 bedroom/ 6 bath retreat has breathtaking sunsets over the Pacific year round.  Next to your private pool you’ll find a swim-up bar and Jacuzzi.  Throughout the estate you’ll note exquisite furnishings and details.  The award-winning Mauna Kea Golf Course was designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and recently revamped with Tifeagle Bermudagrass on the greens and Tifway 419 hybrid Bermudagrass on the tees.  If you enjoy taking a break mid-round, you’ll love the new Number 3 clubhouse with its relaxing atmosphere and cocktails.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning your golf vacation today. You can browse our other vacation rentals online at, or get in touch with us for more information at, MacArthur Sotheby’s International Realty.