For most people on vacation in Waikiki, Hawaii, playing a round of golf may not be the first thing on their to do list. However, after you’ve had enough ocean water and being on the crowded beaches, golfing may be the next best thing to relax and still enjoy all the beauty that Waikiki and the island of Oahu has to offer.
What are the best golf courses near Waikiki?
- Waialae Country Club
- Royal Hawaiian Golf Course
- Ko Olina Golf Club
- Kapolei Golf Club
- Turtle Bay Resort – Palmer and George Fazio
- Kahuku Golf Course
- Golf Course
- Navy Marine Golf Course
If you love golf, you love the beautiful well-kept greens and lush landscape. Waikiki takes what you love in the golf course and amplifies it with waterfalls, beach-side ocean views, and sights of the stunning mountainsides. Waikiki is home to some of the most gorgeous courses in the world.
Being that Waikiki golf courses are on an island, most of them offer golf club rentals because they know most travelers didn’t bring their own. While it’s not always going to give you your best golf game using clubs you aren’t used to, it is still convenient if you are in the mood to play a few holes. This list, in no particular order, will detail the golf courses we found to be worth checking out.
Waialae Country Club, Honolulu
Waialae Country Club is an amazing golf course situated along 186 ocean front yards in the peaceful neighborhood of Waialae-Kahala. This country club is one of only 40 country clubs in the united states selected to host a certified PGA Tour event, the SONY Open.
The golf course at Waialae Country Club was originally designed by Seth Raynor, a golf course architect, back in 1927 when it was established. Later in 1992 there were additional changes implemented by Desmond Muirhead. Today the golf course boasts kiawe and monkey pod trees, lush landscape, with amazing ocean views at its signature 8th hole. The fairways are wide and forgiving but the course includes both left and right doglegs, keeping it somewhat challenging.
Waialae golf course has a par 70 for the SONY Open, measuring 7,020 yards starting at the Championship tee. It’s only 6,456 yards from the Member tees and those who use the Forward tees will play 5,962 yards. The course has 83 bunkers to challenge every golf player.
The country club also offers a 250-yard practice range, putting and chipping greens. A full snack bar is on sight as well as a multi-functional fitness center. This course is open for members and their guests, and you can rent golf clubs for daily use.
Royal Hawaiian Golf Course, Kailua
Just a 20-minute drive from Waikiki is The Royal Hawaiian Golf Course, surrounded by the stunning Mount Olomana and Ko’Olau mountain and valley views. This par 72 golf course is truly like golfing in a tropical heaven. This course was co-designed by well known golf architects Peter and Perry Dye with later design modifications by Greg Norman. Many have mentioned that the landscaping during the front 9 holes of this course looks like Jurassic Park.
With 18 holes and 6,600 yards, the Royal Hawaiian course is rather challenging for even an avid golfer with its different elevations and terrain, forced off-terrain carriers and bunkers throughout. The challenging course is full of payoffs when you take in the beautiful royal palms, koa and banana trees and small streams filled with colorful Hawaiian fish. Their 2nd hole is their signature hole which is right by a nicely landscaped pond.
Royal Hawaiian golf course has more to offer than just greens. There is a full service restaurant onsite where you can relax over fine dining, taking in the incredible views. You may even get the opportunity to enjoy the hula dancers when you dine. In addition, with the breathtaking grounds at Royal Hawaiian, it makes for an unforgettable wedding backdrop. Their facilities offer full service weddings that can accommodate up to 200 guests. So if you plan to golf here, you may see other events happening on the grounds.
Ko Olina Golf Club, Kaneohe
Located on the west side of Oahu, about 25 to 40 minutes from Waikiki is the ocean front Ko Olina Golf Club. Don’t let the distance deter you though, they actually offer a free shuttle service from Waikiki hotels for non-Hawaii residents. This golf course is part of the Ko Olina Resort and Marina. This is a 642 acre course that hosts the LPGA LOTTE Championship event. This course was designed by golf architect Ted Robinson and has actually been ranked in the top 75 resort golf courses in the United States by Golf Digest. Additionally, the course has been highly reviewed and recommended.
This 18 hole course covers 6,876 yards and par is 72. The landscaping of the Ko Olina course includes 16 different water features on 8 holes. The well placed bunkers and multi-tiered greens will challenge your golf game as you maneuver their difficult par 3s. If you don’t have time for a round, you can always tee off at the driving range.
The Ko Olina Golf Club has a pro shop and club house on site. Their full service award winning restaurant from chef Roy Yamaguchi will satisfy that appetite you worked up on the greens. For the new golf player, or someone who just wants to improve their game, they have a golf academy that provides a variety of options in golfing lessons.
Kapolei Golf Club, Kapolei
Previously hosting PGA and LPGA championship tournaments during the past 20 years, the Kapolei Golf Club in Kapolei is still just as beautiful and amazing. This golf course is just a short 30 to 40 minute drive from Waikiki. Ted Robinson was the golf architect that gave this golf course it’s great water features. Kapolei has a variety of elevated greens, five lakes and 80 bunkers to provide some strategic challenges along the way. Golfers of all playing skills will find this course enjoyable with its generous green-side, chipping areas, and wide fairways.
With a 12,000 square foot modern clubhouse, Kapolei Golf Club can provide a location for you to unwind when you aren’t swinging your clubs. They also have a full service restaurant, private locker rooms, and a pro golf shop with all of your favorite name brands and golfing merchandise. Additionally, for your convenience, they have a snack bar on the far end of the golf course to stop by for a mid-round treat.
Turtle Bay Resort – Palmer and George Fazio, Kahuku
If you have time to make it to the North side of Oahu, just under an hour’s drive from Waikiki, you will find some amazing beaches and an area famous for some of the largest surfing waves in the world. It’s also the quite side of the island, where you will get that true Hawaiian type feel. However, you’ll also find the only resort on this side of the island, Turtle Bay Resort, situated right on the ocean front. If you have golfing in mind you must stop in and check out both their golf courses. One course is their Arnold Palmer course and the other is named the George Fazio course.
One of the nicest golf courses you’ll find is the Arnold Palmer course, and it’s ranked within the top 100 golf courses in the United States according to Golf Digest. It’s named after Arnold Palmer because he designed the course in 1992. This is a par 72 course and covers 6,225 yards from the resort tees.
The layout of the Palmer course incorporates a lot of the landscapes natural plant life and water features, in fact there is a water feature at 14 of the 18 holes. The course also meanders through the natural forest which helps to protect your golf swing from all the wind near the ocean. However, you do get to finish the course along the ocean side with amazing views of the beautiful blue sea at the 17th hole. This hole also features nine bunkers to challenge every level of golfer that attempts it.
The Palmer course is more challenging then the George Fazio course. So, for those who are just getting started or like a more forgiving course the George Fazio course, designed by George Fazio, will be perfect. This course opened in 1972 and has been the host to many great golfers including Arnold Palmer before he designed the other course at Turtle Bay, in the first Champions Tour Skin Games. The George Fazio course has also hosted the LGPA Tour Hawaii Open in the past.
There are amazing ocean front views on the front and the back end of the George Fazio course. The course is a 72 par course and covers 6,769 yards with mostly open greens on the front. Turtle Bay resort offers a shared club house, chipping greens, driving range, and a large putting green for visitors to both the George Fazio or Arnold Palmer golf courses.
Kahuku Golf Course, Kahuku
On the north eastern coast of Oahu you’ll find a hidden gem, the Kahuku Golf Course. If you don’t have time, or the desire, to play a full 18 hole course, this walking only 9 hole course is very well rated and definitely worth playing a round. It’s beautifully set right along the ocean side, but this does end up creating some challenges at times with the wind the comes in off the sea. It is also know as a more affordable golf course, and its enjoyable to play according to nearly everyone who attempt it, but really gets its attention due to the surrounding ocean and beach views.
You can still rent golf clubs and a hand cart at Kahuku golf course, but there is not a clubhouse or restaurant on site. There’s a clubhouse with some vending machines, however, to get you through the 9 holes. Many have found the available picnic tables perfect for an ocean view lunch when they bring along their own food.
Mililani Golf Course, Mililiani
Located in the middle of the Oahu island, nestled in the Waianae mountainside is the beautiful and natural Mililani Golf Course. Just a short 30 minute drive from Waikiki, this 72 par, 6,455 yard golf course opened in 1966 by Bob Baldock and has been impressing patrons ever since.
Mililani means “beloved heaven” in the Hawaiian language. Which isn’t surprising considering how gorgeous this course is, lined with Norfolk Pines, African Tulip trees, Eucalyptus trees and other natural foliage. The fairways are nice and wide, and lined with trees. Plenty of water features give this course some character, as well as the bunkers and doglegs.
The golf course also provides a well rated restaurant, two putting greens, a relaxing club house, driving range and chipping greens for your golfing convenience. They have tournament package deals, loyalty deals, and offer discounts to the locals.
Ko’Olau Golf Course, Kaneohe
About a half an hour from Waikiki is the Ko’Olau Golf Course, noted by Golf Magazine as one of the top 100 golf courses to play. Also, between 2008 and 2012 Golflink.com ranked this course 7th among the top 100 courses in the United States. Those are pretty prestigious titles, and it’s well deserved by this unique and gorgeous golf course.
Renowned golf architect Dick Nugent designed this course within the natural rain forest in 1992, designing it to cover 7,310 yards. You’ll be impressed how he maintained a lot of the land’s natural beauty and features. For instance, some of the natural ravines in the land are used for the holes. Ko’Olau golf course has 5 total sets of tees so that you can decide what level you want to play from; however, this course is known to be rather challenging if you decide to play from the back tees.
The clubhouse at Ko’Olau golf course can be used to schedule events, so you may see a wedding or other type of venue happening while you are there. You can relax and take in views of the ocean during your golf outing. Or take some time to wander through their Pro Golf Shop, their full service restaurant and banquet facility, or even the KMR School of Golf where you can get some lessons from top PGA golf instructors. Ko’Olau definitely has the full service golf course.
Navy Marine Golf Course, Hickam Field
For those in the or retired, the Navy-Marine Golf Course is located just under one mile from Pearl Harbor, only 25 minutes from Waikiki. This might be a convenient golf course to check out while you are also visiting some of the most recommended tourist attractions around Waikiki. This golf course is rated among the top 10 military golf courses in the world.
The course has recently been renovated, so you’ll enjoy impressive greens, bunkers and tees. Three of the holes include water features and the landscape and layout is well maintained. This golf course also has a pro shop, a driving range, and offers golf lessons. You’ll have access to enjoy a snack bar onsite, and coming soon is a new dining concept. While this golf course is highly reviewed and recommended, it is only open to MWR patrons, which is usually just military members, government civilians, and their families.
Mauna Kea Golf Course, Waimea – The Big Island
It’s fairly common for travelers visiting Waikiki to also island hop to another nearby Hawaiian island. If you plan to hop over to the Big Island, you have to stop in to Mauna Kea Golf Course at the Mauna Kea Resort. This golf course is an award winning, championship golf course that has raised the bar for other golf courses in all of Hawaii. Robert Trent Jones Sr created this golf course in 1964, as one of the very first golf course on the island. You would not have recognized this amazing ocean front golf course back then as it was once a field of black lava rocks. Residing on seaside cliffs, you have amazing views of the Pacific and the beautiful Big Island. Those cliffs bring mighty ocean winds that force precision on the course, and the course provides a unique 3rd hole requiring a drive that goes over the ocean.
One more unique feature provided at Mauna Kea that you won’t find at many other courses yet are their Golfboards! Designed by laird Hamilton, surfing legend, golf boards are a new way to enjoy a round of golf on a surf-like simulated board. This feature adds a new challenge, not to mention a new kind of fun, to your golf game. In addition, being at a resort there are many other facilities and amenities to this golf course available.
Of all the places in the world you can choose to golf, there is no doubt that the islands of Hawaii are going to bring you some of the most beautiful and memorable golf course views, experiences, and enjoyment in the world. If you enjoy golf and are visiting Waikiki, Oahu, you owe it to yourself to get out there and enjoy one of these amazing golf courses while you are there.
How much does it cost to rent golf clubs at Waikiki golf courses?
Golf club rentals in Waikiki range in price from one golf course to the next. However, prices generally range from $30 to $65. So, plan for that extra cost in your budget and you’ll be ready to play.
Do you have to be a resident or member at Hawaii golf courses to play?
Some golf courses do require a membership, or to be a guest of a member in order to play their course. However, there’s plenty of courses that allow the general public to play a round, you just may want to check with that course before going there.