Best Golf Courses in Oahu

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Best Golf Courses in Oahu

Paul LiberatorePaul Liberatore

Paul Liberatore






Golf in Hawaii.  It’s something most every golfer dreams about but only a lucky few actually get to experience.  I’ve been fortunate enough to play quite a bit of golf in Hawaii.  Everything from the munis in the city, to some of the finest resort courses anywhere in the world.  And I’ve never had a round I didn’t enjoy.

With that being said, I’ve yet to play golf on Oahu.  The northernmost island is known for its world class surfing but, I’m told there’s plenty of great golf to be played too.  True to form, our readers had plenty to say about Oahu golf and it’s with their help that we’ve created a list of the ten best public courses for your reading pleasure.




Kapolei Golf Club

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Formerly home to both LPGA and Champions Tour events, Kapolei Golf Club is one of the finest public facilities in all of Hawaii. 

Designed by the infamous Ted Robinson, this track’s fertile fairways are accented by majestic tropical gardens and crystalline water hazards. 

The course sits on 190 acres of what used to be a sugar cane plantation. 
If you haven’t played Kapolei, you should.  It’s been voted the “People’s Choice” on Oahu more than once.



Ko Olina Golf Club

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Another Ted Robinson design, Ko Olina is ranked as one of Golf Digest’s “Top 75 Resort Courses in the U.S.”

In typical Robinson fashion, this course makes use of distinctive water features and multi-tiered greens to challenge golfers of all levels.

The good news is the fairways are wide so you can let it eat off the tee.

The clubhouse and resort amenities have to be seen to be believed, too. 

Ko Olina is where Michelle Wie-West grew up playing.  Not to mention it’s the current home of the LPGA Lotte Championship.  Why wouldn’t you want to give it a shot?



The Palmer Course at Turtle Bay Resort

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Here we go again with my favorite architect, Arnold Palmer.  His addition to the collection of courses at Turtle Bay is regarded as one of the best on Oahu. 

This track is the tale of two nines.  The front nine is a Scottish links layout with expansive fairways and plenty of bunkers.  The back nine meanders through a tropical rainforest and borders the Punaho’olapa marsh.

The signature 17th hole offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.  Don’t get too caught up in the views though, nine bunkers are waiting to punish wayward shots. 

If you only get a chance to play one round at Turtle Bay, the consensus is the Palmer Course is your best choice.


Makaha Valley Country Club

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Designed by William F. Bell, this track winds its way through the lowlands of the Makaha Valley.

Rolling terrain keeps players on their toes with club choices that aren’t always straightforward. 

Doglegs, both left and right, mean you’ll have to shape the ball if you want to leave it in the fairway for an open shot to the green.

This is an old-style Hawaii design that’s one of the best values on Oahu.


Hawaii Country Club

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When I think about golf in Hawaii, I think of verdant seaside fairways carved into majestic lava that gives way to the Pacific.  While these types of courses seem “natural,” the reality is that a lot of earth was moved in their creation. 

It’s the exact opposite at Hawaii Country Club.  This is mountain golf.  And with that, comes awe-inspiring views stretching all the way from Pearl Harbor to Diamondhead. 

Even though the Bermuda greens aren’t overly fast, they’re undulating.  Stay below the hole. No houses, hotels, or other concrete edifices to be found here.  Just pure golf in a setting you won’t forget.



Hawaii Kai Champions Course

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Sure, there’s plenty of great resort courses to play for a pretty penny on Oahu.  But what about my favorite – the muni?

Welcome to the Hawaii Kai Champions Course.  Located a short drive east of Waikiki, this track is meant for the everyman.  You’ll find locals, tourists, cops, CEO’s and just about everyone else here. 

The course is straightforward but offers plenty of challenge for all players with numerous doglegs and elevation changes. 

If you’re looking for a great round of public golf at a reasonable price, this is it on Oahu.



Ewa Beach Golf Club

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Located at the distant edge of the Ewa plains, you’ll find the hidden gem of Ewa Beach Golf Club. 

Known for having the truest greens on Oahu, the track is worth the trek. 

Opened in 1992, Ewa Beach resembles a links layout even though it’s in the heart of a tropical paradise. 

Unlike most courses in Hawaii that employ Bermuda grass, the fairways and greens here are Paspalum which has a lot less grain.

This course sounds like it’s right up my alley, so you’d better believe I’m putting it on my list.



Pearl Country Club

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Pearl Country Club is one of the oldest courses on Oahu.  That’s reflected in its design.Tree lined fairways and parallel holes make this parkland layout feel like the classic it is. 

Narrow fairways and elevation changes add to Pearl’s character and keep you on your toes.

The official home to Michelle Wie-West, this public track is said to be one of the better values on the island considering its quality.

If you’re in the Waikiki area, it’s worth making the short drive to Pearl Country Club.


Royal Hawaiian Golf Club

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Lush and beautiful.  Those are the words our readers used to describe Royal Hawaiian Golf Club. 

Even though this course is only a 20-minute drive from Waikiki, it’s hidden in the verdant surroundings of the Maunawili Valley.  You feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere.

Having recently undergone a renovation by Greg Norman, the course features more native Hawaiian plants than you can count, and several streams chalked full of native fish. 

This is a ball striker’s golf course, especially off the tee.  Forced carries and fairways that slope into bunkers and deep ravines make you keep it in the short in order to score. 

Even though it’s little off the beaten path, Royal Hawaiian isn’t a course you’ll want to miss.


Mililani Golf Club

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If you’re looking for a relaxing round of golf that won’t break the bank, check out this track.

You won’t find much pretention at Mililani Golf Club.  As they like to say, you’re on Hawaiian time here.

The golf course isn’t to be denied.  A variety of holes and opportunities for risk and reward make for an enjoyable round. 

Regardless of how you’re playing, you can look forward to a home cooked Hawaiian meal at the course’s restaurant, Paliuli, when you’re done.  The menu is diverse, fresh, and all ingredients are locally sourced.  It sounds like people come from miles around just to dine here.


As I write this article on the day before Thanksgiving, my mind wanders to Hawaii.  What I’d give to be sipping a Mai Tai under a palm tree after playing a round of golf.  The waves crashing against the rocks, the sun setting west over the Pacific, warm island breezes running through my hair… Ok, enough is enough but, you can’t blame me for losing my train of thought.

Oahu is the one island I’ve yet to visit but, you can bet I’m going whether my wife says I can or not.  From what our readers have told me, it’s a must-see place for golf and everything else. 

What do you love most about Oahu and its golf?  You’re welcome to daydream with us in the comments below.  Thanks for reading!