Waikoloa Beach Golf Club is home to Hawaii’s golf courses – The Beach Course and The Kings’ Course. Carved out of ancient lava fields the contrast between the emerald green fairways and shimmering blue lakes provides a unique golf experience. Each course presents different challenges and hazards, yet neither fails to provide a rewarding and fun golf experience that beckons each golfer to return.
Beach course at Waikoloa Beach Golf Club:
Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., the Beach Course at Waikoloa Beach Golf Club winds its way along historic lava flows near Anaehoomalu Bay, almost distracting even avid golfers with hypnotic ocean views, swaying coconut palms and tropical trade winds. Immaculate greens are well-guarded by numerous white sand bunkers and strategically placed, shimmering water features, but the ultimate Big Island golf experience may be the Beach Course’s 502-yard par 5 seventh—known throughout the islands as the most spectacular oceanfront par-five in Hawaii. Not only is it a challenging golf hole, its rocky point over the breakers is an awesome place to spot humpback whales and misty, distant views of other Hawaiian Islands.
But what makes the Beach Course one of the most popular on Hawaii Island is the amazing views, particularly as players reach No. 7 tee box. The Pacific Ocean is straight before you, while lava fields border the fairway on the left and right. A good tee ball should find the wide fairway, but beware, the wind can blow harder here by the shoreline than elsewhere on the course, so aim wisely. From the landing zone, the par-5 hole doglegs hard left, and a smart layup will leave you a short wedge to a putting surface ringed by swaying coconut palms and crashing waves. Putt out for par and then pose for a selfie with your companions on this most scenic hole.
Throughout this enjoyable course, designer Jones made creative use of lava and water, taking into account the prevailing trade winds. Better players have the opportunity to go low and make birdies, but families and new golfers will also enjoy the course for the sheer fun it allows.
King’s Course at Waikoloa Beach Golf Club:
Waikoloa Beach Resort Golf reaches a crescendo at the Kings’ Course, which delivers a memorable round from the first tee to the 18th green. It is a “player’s course” in the sense that low-handicappers can tee it up from 7,000-plus yards and have all the length and strategy they can handle; while mid- and high-handicap players can select a tee that will provide the same excitement and challenge, but at a length that suites their game.
Designers Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish crafted a Scottish links-style layout at the Kings’ that fits with Weiskopf philosophy of demanding the best from the golfer, yet doing so in a way that does not overly penalize miss-hit shots. “My courses do not intimidate,” he says. “Instead, they encourage the player to play well and become more open to the enjoyable aspects of the game.”
One trademark of a Weiskopf design is the drivable par-4, and that hole at Kings’ is No. 5. Though it plays just 277 yards from the white tees, the putting surface is perched eight feet above the fairway and tucked behind a massive sand trap that stretches almost from the tee to the green on the left, with a large lava boulder smack dab in the middle. Anything less than the perfect drive can land players in trouble on this seemingly mild-mannered hole, and what may have seemed like a birdie or eagle opportunity suddenly becomes a struggle for par.
The home holes on the Kings’ Course rank among the strongest on the island, with No. 17 requiring two strong shots into the prevailing wind to reach the green; while the par-5 18th must avoid a lava field on the left off the tee, and negotiate a narrow neck to reach the sloping putting surface. Par is often a good score on this hole, and sometimes enough to win a close match. Hawaii Island golf doesn’t get any better than this!