5 World-Class Properties to Play This Winter
There are dozens of reasons why the PGA Tour schedules eight days of golf in Hawai’i this month—specifically this week’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua and immediately after the Sony Open in Honolulu. Simply, there is no resisting the fabulously warm weather, sun-drenched beaches, emerald green forests, lava-spewing volcanoes … or the more than off chance to don some very chic Hawaiian shirts.
The 50th State boasts 80-plus golf courses, many of which are regarded among the very best on the planet. Here are five favorites:
1. Nestled among the Big Island’s verdant backdrops and historic landmarks, the oceanfront Four Seasons Resort Hualalai is a showpiece luxury resort featuring an astonishing, black lava-encrusted golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus. Further, the 243 expansive rooms and suites are a graceful homage to Hawai’i’s golden age, underscored by nature-inspired décor, open-air living spaces and a vast art collection,.
2. On Maui, few properties are more inspirational or memorable than the 22,000-acre resort community of Kapalua. Whether you vacation at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, Kapalua Villas or the Residences of Kapalua, the experience is the same—first class opulence. Golf is equally Eden-esque, comprising the PGA Tour-hosting Plantation Course designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw; the Bay Course, an Arnold Palmer/Francis Duane-crafted 18 once favored by the LPGA Tour; and the Kapalua Golf Academy, rated among the best instruction facilities in America.
3. While attending the Sony Open on O’ahu, indulge yourself in grand fashion at Ko Olina Resort & Marina, a 642-acre master-planned community that offers four premier hoteliers including the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa, Ko Olina Beach Villas Resort, the new Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa. Ted Robinson designed Ko Olina Golf Club, the highly rated tournament venue for the LPGA LOTTE Championship played in April.
4. More five-star pampering is in store on Lanai at the newly transformed Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay. In addition to 220 renovated guest rooms and suites, the property also has completed major upgrades to its Nicklaus-designed Manele Golf Course. [Traveler’s note: Manele Bay’s sister 18, the Robinson/Greg Norman-crafted Koele Golf Course, is closed for renovations.]
5. Even after 50 years, venerable Mauna Kea Beach Hotel defines the Hawaiian island golf experience. Mauna Kea’s recently updated championship course was crafted atop a 5,000-year-old lava field by Robert Trent Jones Sr., just one of a many enviable amenities and services that entice travelers to the Big Island’s Kona Kohala Coast.
Chris Duthie is a contributor to Colorado AvidGolfer, the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it. It publishes eight issues annually and proudly delivers daily content via www.coloradoavidgolfer.com.