Hex the Polar Vortex: Hawai’i Beckons

Escape the Polar Vortex and Head to Hawai'i

If anything can take the chill off subzero winter cold, it’s a heavy dose of watching HD-broadcasted images of beach-crashing tides, swaying palm trees and sun-kissed fairways. Maybe it’s masochistic, but nothing takes the mind away from a back-yard blizzard like watching PGA Tour players hula-dance their Titleists, Nikes and Callaways on Hawaiʻi’s near-perfect golf courses.

Pictured: Wailea Emerald Course

This week the pros are at venerable Waialae Country Club on the island of Oahu, competing for best-farmer-tan bragging rights and a $5.6 million purse at the Sony Open. The salty, bougainvillea-scented trade winds are almost palatable. More so, the event is a heady motivation to pack the bags and leave behind that polar vortex bite… for at least for a week, maybe two.

But where to go? Here are four of our favorite Hawaiian golf stops:

  1. On Kauaʻi, Princeville Resort offers eye-candy landscapes, the singular Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed Prince Course – which in 2012 received a dramatic $5 million makeover – and a prickly new 13-acre, par-3 practice facility that’s been dubbed “Mini Prince.”
  2. Wailea Resort’s riches are mostly hidden among the foothills of Mount Haleakala on Maui, but golfers will uncover its sensational trio of courses: the Gold, Old Blue and awe-inspiring Emerald, which presents thrilling views of Molokini Crater.
  3. Ihilani Resort & Marina on O‘ahu is celebrated for, well, celebrities. It also shines at fabulous Ko Olina Golf Club, home of the LPGA LOTTE Championship and infamous for fairway-hugging lagoons and palm-frond breaking Kona winds that turn easy par-fours into dreaded “others.”
  4. Situated on Lānaʻi, the Lodge at Koele offers magical services and facilities, among them a spectacular Greg Norman and Ted Robinson designed mountain course, zipline, tennis, sporting clays, horseback riding, Jeep rides, croquet, lawn bowling, hiking and an array of nearby beach activities.

Pictured: A beautiful Wailea Beach sky



While there are dozens of golf courses worth playing in Hawai’i, there’s no better Big Kahuna experience like a side trip to historic Pa’ia, located on Maui’s north shore along the legendary Hana Highway.

Pāʻia’s environs are famous for two unabashed legacies: surfing and counterculture. The latter reference might be a push, especially for those coming from cannabis-friendly Colorado, but the city limits sign does in fact declare: “Welcome to Pāʻia. Do Not Feed the Hippies.”

On any given day, there might be dozens of wave riders and boogie-boarders braving the breakers off Baldwin State Park. And witnessing a speeding Porsche 911 with a surfboard poking out the roof – as I did – pretty much underscores Pa’ia’s grin-inducing attraction.

Pictured: Historic Pāʻia

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.