Mauna Kea - Hawaii - USA

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel,
62-100 Mauna Kea Beach Drive,
Kohala Coast,
Hawaii (HI) 96743,
USA


  • +1 (0) 808-882-5400

  • Josh Silliman

  • Robert Trent Jones Senior, Junior and Rees Jones

  • Duane Otte


It was a bold decision to build a five-star hotel at Mauna Kea on the black desolate lava fields of Hawaii’s Big Island. Some thought Laurance Rockefeller was crazy when he commissioned Robert Trent Jones Senior to build the island’s first course, which would stretch the top pros to the absolute limit and create a visually stunning course for visitors, ensuring they would return to the Big Island time and time again.

The original RTJ Senior design proved too challenging for the average golfer, so his son Robert was called in to soften the layout. Nevertheless Mauna Kea remained a tough proposition and the par three 3rd with its green set above volcanic rock some 200 yards away is a classic example. One of the most photographed golf holes in the world where the pounding blue Pacific Ocean combines with black lava rock, blue sky and lush green turf to create a most vivid image. Don’t forget your camera and also don’t forget your all-weather gear as 33 of the world’s 35 climates are reputed to exist on the Big Island of Hawaii.

The Mauna Kea golf course closed for most of 2007 and 2008 for renovation by Rees Jones, the “US Open Doctor” and son of the course’s original architect. The makeover included the addition of new bunkers, tee to green reseeding with new hybrid grasses and, naturally, the course was lengthened. From the tips, Mauna Kea now measures 7,370 yards – 200 extra yards have been added – but with multiple tee boxes the course remains playable for all levels of golfer.

Mauna Kea gets Rees Jones makeover

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Description: Mauna Kea's 3rd is one of the most photographed golf holes in the world where the pounding blue Pacific Ocean combines with black lava rock, blue sky and lush green turf to create a most vivid image. Rating: 4 out of 6 Reviews: 1

The course sits on a crescent-shaped beach where the pure white sand meets the shimmering aqua water. It has dramatic elevation changes, with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and the snow-capped Mauna Kea mountain peak that towers over the island. Sixteen of the 18 holes play inland, but the two ocean-side holes are spectacular. Our favorite was Number 3, a 200-yard hole starting from a cliffside tee above a raging ocean inlet in which surging water races to meet the rocky, lava-strewn shoreline. Number 11 is just as spectacular. The view from the tee, which sits some 100 feet above the green, is breathtaking with the Pacific Ocean as its backdrop. Larry Berle.
4 / 6
Mauna Kea
October 12, 2014


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Keith Baxter
October 12, 2014
The above review is an edited extract from A Golfer’s Dream, which has been reproduced with the author’s kind permission. A Golfer’s Dream, by Larry Berle, tells the story of how a regular guy conquered America’s Top 100 Golf Courses (following Golf Digest’s 2001/2002 list). Larry has exclusively rated for us every course in the hundred, using our golf ball rating system. However, Larry did not rate the 100 courses against every golf course he has played, but instead he rated them in relation to each other within the hundred. Consequently, in some cases, his rating may seem rather low. A Golfer’s Dream is available in Kindle format and also on Kindle Unlimited via Amazon... click the link for more.