Best Oahu Golf Holes
1 hide detailDifficult Course, Idyllic Location
Golf Digest named this 6,867-yard, par-72 course one of "America's Top 75 Resort Courses" in 1992. The Ted Robinson-designed course has rolling fairways and elevated tee and water features. The signature hole -- the 12th, a par-3 -- has an elevated tee that sits on a rock garden with a cascading waterfall. Wait until you get to the 18th hole, where you'll see and hear water all around you -- seven pools begin on the right side of the fairway and slope down to a lake. A waterfall is on your left off the elevated green. You'll have no choice but to play the left and approach the green over the water. Book in advance; this course is crowded all the time. Facilities include a driving range, locker rooms, Jacuzzi, steam rooms, and restaurant and bar. Lessons are available.
2 hide detail200 acres of tropical jungle golfing
This par-72 golf course has been given many accolades through the years including "#1 Golf Course on Oahu" by Golf Digest and among the "Top 100 Courses" in Golf Magazine. It is also frequently regarded as "The World's Most Challenging Golf Course," and you might understand why if you take a close look at the layout. Says Golf Digest, "You won't need a caddie so much as a backcountry guide. The roughs are tropical rain forests, the hazards mostly uncharted ravines filled with jungle and undiscovered reptilian life forms." This course stretches over 200 acres of tropical terrain amid a green, mountainous rain forest.
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This North Shore resort is home to two of Hawaii's top golf courses. The 18-hole Arnold Palmer Course (formerly the Links at Kuilima) was designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay. Turtle Bay used to be labeled a "wind tunnel"; it still is one, though the casuarina (ironwood) trees have matured and dampened the wind somewhat. But Palmer and Seay never meant for golfers to get off too easy; this is a challenging course. The front 9, with rolling terrain, only a few trees, and lots of wind, play like a British Isles course. The back 9 have narrower, tree-lined fairways and water. The course circles Punahoolapa Marsh, a protected wetland for endangered Hawaiian waterfowl.
Another option is the George Fazio Course -- the only one Fazio designed in Hawaii -- a par-71, 6,200-yard course. Larry Keil, a pro at Turtle Bay, says that people like the Fazio course because it's more of a forgiving resort course, without the water hazards and bunkers of the more challenging Palmer course. The 6th hole has two greens so you can play the hole as a par-3 or a par-4. The toughest hole has to be the par-3, 176-yard 2nd hole, where you tee off across a lake with the trade winds creating a mean crosswind. The most scenic hole is the 7th, where the ocean is on your left; if you're lucky, you'll see whales cavorting in the winter months. Facilities include a pro shop, driving range, putting and chipping green, and snack bar. Weekdays are best for tee times.