Mauna Kea Golf Course, Big Island, Hawaii

Photo of Mauna Kea Golf Course
Photo Courtesy of Mauna Kea Golf Resort

The old Mauna Kea golf course on the Big Island was designed by Robert Trent Jones in 1964 on a tract of land reckoned to be one of the most beautiful spots on the planet. Jones himself was convinced of this: quote - "Mr. Rockefeller, if you allow me to build a golf course here, this'll be the most beautiful hole in the world." This he said of the 3rd hole site. And so it remained for more than 40 years until, in 2007, Rees Jones, son of the original designer, was employed to upgrade the famous layout.

The renovations to the Mauna Kea golf course were completed in 2008.

The greens, tees, fairways and rough at Mauna Kea have all been replaced with new hybrids of turf that can be groomed for the skill levels of both resort and professional golfers. The bunkers have been restored to their original look with all the sand replaced. The greens have been rebuilt to USGA standards and specifications, without changing their original strategy and challenge. Jones' vision was to maintain the integrity of his father's design, while utilizing today's technology for a more efficient in caring for the course.

I think he has achieved just that. The greens are now dwarf Tifeagle Bermudagrass, the fairways and tees Tifway 419 hybrid Bermudagrass.

The 18-hole championship golf course at the Mauna Kea Resort was designed by Rees Jones and plays a long 7,370 yards from the back/Black tees for a par of 72, a course rating of 77.2 and a slope of 136. The Mauna Kea golf course first opened for play in 2008.

Green Fees: 18 holes - Resort Guests $110 to $225, depending upon the time of day. Non-resort guests $250. Tee times can be booked in advance: call the number listed below.


Mauna Kea Golf Course, 62-100 Mauna Kea Beach Dr,. Kohala Coast, HI 96743-9706; (808) 882-5400; Fax: (808) 882-5410

Where to Stay:

There are, of course, quite a few resort options on the Big Island but, if you're going to play the golf course, it makes sense to stay where you get resort privileges. I suggest you stay at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, "the landmark of luxury on the Big Island's golden Kohala Coast."

Amenities at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel:

  • 252 luxury guestrooms and suites, some offering serene golf vistas or ocean-view baths
  • Natural white sand Kauna‘oa Beach, one of Hawaii's best ranked beaches by top travel authorities
  • Enhanced beach and pool services, padded chaise lounges, beach umbrellas, cabanas, thick orange beach towels, new beach activities and equipment
  • Manta & Pavilion Wine Bar, with dramatic exhibition kitchen and extensive wine program, including the innovative Enomatic wine experience
  • Twice weekly Luau, traditional Sunday Brunch and Clambake on the beach
  • Hau Tree Beachside at Kauna‘oa for casual breakfast, lunch, or dinner, snacks, sweets and cocktails
  • 11-court Seaside Tennis Club
  • 2,500 square-foot fitness center with 43 Life Fitness exercise machines
  • The Mauna Kea Salon for beautiful hair and nails
  • Boutique shopping enclave along meandering koi ponds
  • Hawaiian culture shared through lei-making, hula, crafting classes, music, luau and more
  • Indoor and outdoor group function spaces and meeting rooms, as well as picture-perfect wedding sites for a Big Island wedding
  • Museum-quality Pacific and Asian art collection, over 1,600 pieces gathered by Mr. Rockefeller and Davis Allen for The Mauna Kea in 1965
  • Soul-soothing therapies and body treatments at the Mauna Kea Spa by Mandara

In the restaurants, exciting new sights, sounds, scents and sensational tastes elevate the experience of dining in this luxurious Big Island, Hawaii hotel. As of this writing, however, the iconic Copper Bar was undergoing an exciting transformation, but was expected to reopen in Mid-December "as a beautifully reimagined dining and cocktail experience. "

How to Get There:

Kona International Airport (KOA) is the primary airport on the Island of Hawaii. It serves international, overseas and interisland flights.

Looking for more ideas? How about these? Scotland, Florida, the American SouthwestBermuda, the Bahamas, all over the Caribbean and Mexico and many more. For up-to-date golf travel news and information, be sure to Subscribe to my weekly Newsletter.

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