Architect Rees Jones built the 18-hole layout at the exclusive Kohanaiki Golf Club on the Big Island while renovating the Mauna Kea course in 2008. Unfortunately, adverse economic conditions delayed the opening for five years, before the course was finally unveiled in May 2013.
The course is the mainstay sporting element of a luxury 450-acre residential development that lies along one and half miles of shoreline just south of Kona international airport and it’s the private playground of property owners and their guests, though there is limited public play for Hawaiian residents one day a week.
Kohanaiki occupies a rather unique environmental location, where fourteen Ahu rock shrines and more than two hundred anchialine ponds are dotted around the black lava landscape. These sacred pools connect to the ocean through lava tubes and water in these ponds rises and falls with the tide.
On the back nine, the SeaDwarf Paspalum fairways are routed around these Hawaiian cultural sites and numerous natural pools so that six of the holes lie along the Pacific coastline, starting at the long par five 12th, playing directly towards the Ocean, with an intimidating 240-yard carry from the black tees.
Four fabulous holes (two par threes and two par fours) nestle into the shoreline and they each require heroic shots across swathes of black volcanic rock. The par four 14th is easily the best of this quartet, its fairway fading slightly right to an island green complex that’s completely surrounded by a sea of solidified lava.