Oahu offers challenging play and lots of it.
Golf courses on Oahu may lack the drama of some of their Neighbor Island counterparts—there are no ancient lava flows or exhilarating tee shots over spectacular bays—but they do have what golfers are seeking: challenging play and lots of it.
Oahu has more than 30 golf courses, running the gamut from public and municipal offerings to private, semi-private, resort and military courses.
Waikiki is home to one of the busiest municipal courses in the U.S. More than 500 rounds of golf are played daily at the Ala Wai Golf Course, located mauka (inland) of the Ala Wai Canal. The terrain here is predominately flat, but there are also some imposing mounds around the greens to challenge advanced golfers.
Head to the island’s west side for more golf adventures. The Ko Olina Golf Course was designed by course architect Ted Robinson and presents a number of challenges. The Hawaii Prince Gold Course, meanwhile, was built on former sugar land on the Ewa plain. This 27-hole course was designed by Ed Seay and the legendary Arnold Palmer. The three nines here feature large, receptively cupped greens. The newest golf offering on the island is the Coral Creek Golf Course in Ewa, a 6,870-yard layout that includes natural coral rock formations in cliff-like structures. And the Makaha Resort Golf Club’s championship course requires a variety of shots that will utilize just about every club in your bag.
Eastern End (Windward)
Windward Oahu on the island’s eastern end offers several worthwhile golf adventures. The Luana Hills Country Club in Kailua is a spectacular 18-hole, par-72 layout tucked within the valley between Kailua and Waimanalo and ringed by the Koolau Mountains. The Koolau Golf Club, meanwhile, is carved out of a tropical rain forest on the side of the Koolau Ridge mountain range. It’s considered the toughest course in the nation from the back tees (with a slope rating of 162). The course winds through three distinct climate zones and features deep ravines, dramatic elevation changes, and gorgeous waterfalls.
The Turtle Bay Resort Golf Club on the North Shore is the only resort course on Oahu that boasts 36 holes. The Arnold Palmer course is reminiscent of Scottish Links with its sand, water, wind and rolling terrain. The George Fazio Course has generous fairways, deep bunkers, and immaculately sculpted greens. The Turtle Bay Championship is an annual PGA Champions Tour event featuring the top senior players on the pro circuit.
Each January, the private Waialae Country Club in Kahala hosts the Sony Open, an annual PGA TOUR event featuring the sport’s top professionals.