Experience the Awesome Golf, Amazing Beaches and More
Avid golfers know Hawai’i is heavenly November through mid-December. The temperatures dip, courses and beaches become less crowded, and resorts swing some sweet off-season packages. That’s when we go full-on aloha and visit one of our favorite destinations—the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, a 350-room luxury property on the Big Island’s sunny Kohala Coast.
Hapuna (“springs of life”) is the sister property of Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, a GOLF Magazine Silver Medal mainstay built on the same site 49 years ago by Laurance Rockefeller. But whereas Mauna Kea understates its elegance, Hapuna celebrates its glorious charm with a grand lobby bedecked in white columns, imported Chinese slate walkways, museum-quality Pacific and Asian art, and glass-fenced lanais back-dropped by elevated views of the hotel gardens, expansive swimming pool and famous Hapuna Beach.
The recently rejuvenated guest rooms are equally opulent, spacious and well appointed, highlighted by louvered balcony doors that reveal a private lanai and sumptuous views of the Pacific Ocean. Outside indulgences include helicopter tours of Volcanoes National Park, hiking the Waipio Valley rain forest, snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, whale watching and deep-sea fishing. The resort’s five restaurants serve up everything from steak to sushi.
Anchoring this world-class property is the Hapuna Golf Course, a 6,875-yard par-72 layout that like many Big Island courses has been routed over kaiwe scrub and jagged, shoe-slicing black lava. Utilizing only 75 acres of irrigated turf, designers Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay were brilliant in doing more with less.
Despite the turf limitation, the course is contiguously grassed, while the site’s dense foliage and steep escarpments—a thriving habitat for rare birds like pu’eo (Hawaiian owl) and wild American turkey—reveal little evidence of earthmoving. A visual bonus: The non-returning front nine climbs 700 feet, offering stunning views of volcanic peaks as well as the neighboring island of Maui.
After playing Hapuna, book a tee time at neighboring Mauna Kea Golf Course, the 7,370-yard par-72 jewel designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. (and recently updated by son and esteemed course architect, Rees Jones). Known as the grand dame of all Hawaiian golf courses, Jones Sr. transformed a barren lava field into a rowdy, top-ranked adventure enhanced by par-busting greensites, seaside cliffs, verdant native foliage and breathtaking views of the Kohala Coast.
Aloha… and mahalo. princeresortshawaii.com
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.