Top Hawaii Golf Courses to Check Out on Your Next Vacation

The chance to play golf in Hawaii can be as enticing as being able to play in its famous beaches or ride its legendary surf. For one, the terrains at Hawaii golf courses are diverse and stunning—from cliffside fairways looking out to the sea, to black volcanic rock surrounding the green, to greens in the middle of fruit plantations. Whether you're a serious golfer who likes to play competitively or you're the laid-back type who savors the scenery just as much as the game, there's an ideal Hawaii golf course out there for you.

Hawaii golf courses in Maui

If you want to be seen playing alongside a visiting pro, you can check out Hawaii golf courses in Maui. Maui has 14 championship-level golf courses that have hosted many a pro tour, including PGA's annual Tournament of Champions. Staying focused on your game can be challenging in itself, though, with the views of the sea and ancient lava flows creating otherworldly scenery on the fairway.

The King Kamehameha Golf Club

The King Kamehameha Golf Club boasts a clubhouse designed by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The clubhouse isn't the only thing you get to admire while playing at this 18-hole Hawaii golf course, though—the elevated greens offer clear and unhindered views of Mt. Haleakala and the sea beyond.

Wailea Golf Club

Wailea Golf Club is a regular item on lists of the best golf courses in Hawaii. All 3 of its courses feature lush, palm tree-lined fairways with sweeping views of the ocean. Every hole has strategically placed tee boxes, so you can easily tailor the course to your skill level, whether you're a beginner or a seasoned player.

Big Island, Hawaii golf courses

The Big Island is often dubbed Hawaii's golf capital, and it's easy to see why. Along the island's mild-weathered Kohala Coast, you'll find world-class golf courses designed by some of the sport's luminaries, including Arnold Palmer and Robert Trent Jones, Sr. The layout of the holes can challenge even veteran players, but the contrast the black lava flows make against the verdant fairways, along with the sound of the Pacific waves crashing, can be just as distracting.

Mauna Kea Golf Course

The Mauna Kea Golf Course spreads over what was once a field of black lava. But thanks to the original designs of Robert Trent Jones, Sr., this Hawaii golf course is now an 18-hole championship course with Bermuda grass and 99 sand bunkers. You can still see the black lava poking out at the fairways' edges.

Makani Golf Club

Makani Golf Club is unique in that it's the only course on the Big Island that features fairways with bent grass. Landscaping this course with this type of colder-climate grass is made possible by Makani's elevated location on the foothills of the Mauna Kea volcano. Additionally, because of this elevation, you can play this 18-hole championship course with the mountain air and the sweeping ocean views keeping you cool.

Hawaii golf experiences in Oahu

Hawaii's most populated island is also home to more golf courses than any other island in the state—40 to be exact. And these Hawaii golf courses offer a wide range of choices depending on what you're in the mood for. If you feel like challenging yourself or hobnobbing with the pros, you can find championship-level golf courses on Oahu where you're required to focus on your game despite the distractions the scenery poses. But if you just want to play a casual round or work on your swing, you can find plenty of public golf courses where you can enjoy the views no matter what your scorecard says.

Ko Olina Golf Club

The 18-hole Ko Olina Golf Club is a frequent host of various LPGA championship events. This 18-hole Hawaii golf course sprawls on 642 acres on Oahu's west coast. Designed by golf architect Ted Robinson, Ko Olina's holes feature wide fairways, tiered greens, and multiple water features, including eye-catching waterfalls.

Ko'olau Golf Club

Ko'olau Golf Club has earned a reputation for being one of the toughest places to play golf in the US. The game can indeed get rough in this Hawaii golf course, even for seasoned players. You can be forced to drive through dense woodland, or target the hole across deep ravines. You'll also find the dark Ko'olau Mountains always looming over your shoulder. Still, this golf course can bring out the best in your play as long as you don't get distracted by the wild scenery.