Oahu - Golf Courses

Oahu is golf country, with 5 municipal, 9 military, and 20 private courses to choose from. The courses range from 9-hole municipals, perfect for beginners, to championship courses that stump even the pros.

Ko Olina Golf Club (tel. 808/676-5300): Here's a course that's not only in a beautiful setting, but is also downright challenging. In fact, Golf Digest named this 6,867-yard, par-72 course one of "America's Top 75 Resort Courses" when it opened in 1992. The rolling fairways and elevated tees and a few too many water features (always where you don't want them) will definitely improve your game or humble your attitude.

Hilton at Turtle Bay Resort (tel. 808/293-8574): Of the two courses to choose from here, we recommend the 18-hole Arnold Palmer Course (formerly the Links at Kuilima), designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay; Golf Digest rated it the fourth best new resort course in 1994. Palmer and Seay never meant for golfers to get off too easy--this is a challenging course. The front nine holes, with rolling terrain, only a few trees, and lots of wind, play like a course on the British Isles. The back nine holes have narrower, tree-lined fairways and water. In addition to ocean views, the course circles Punahoolapa Marsh, a protected wetland for endangered Hawaiian waterfowl.

Makaha Golf Club (tel. 800/757-8060 or 808/695-9544): The readers of a local city magazine recently named this challenging course "The Best Golf Course on Oahu," and the readers of Golfweek rated it one of Hawaii's top 10. Away from the crowds of Honolulu and about an hour's drive, this William Bell-designed course is in Makaha Valley on the leeward side of the island. Incredibly beautiful, sheer, 1,500-foot volcanic walls tower over the course, and swaying palm trees and neon-bright bougainvillea surround it; an occasional peacock even struts across the fairways. "I was distracted by the beauty" is a great excuse for your score at the end of the day.

Olomana Golf Links (tel. 808/259-7926): This is a gorgeous course located in Waimanalo, on the other side of the island from Waikiki. The low-handicap golfer may not find this course difficult, but the striking views of the craggy Koolau mountain ridges are worth the greens fees alone. The par-72, 6,326-yard course is popular with local residents and visitors. The course starts off a bit hilly on the front nine, but flattens out by the back nine. The back nine have their own special surprises, including tricky water hazards.