Nanea - Hawaii - USA

Nanea Golf Club,
72-2921 Kaupulehu Road,
Kailua Kona,
Hawaii (HI) 96740,
USA


  • +1 (0) 808 930 1310

  • 7 miles NE of Kona International Airport

  • Members and their guests only

  • Not known

  • David McLay Kidd

  • Clint Tolbert


The Island of Hawaii, or Big Island as it is also known, is an extraordinary place to visit. It’s naturally Hawaii’s largest island where numerous different climate zones create bizarre extremes, including lush rain forests, black sandy beaches, arid deserts and even a snow-capped volcano called Mauna Kea, which is actually a dormant volcano that last erupted some 4,000 years ago. However, it’s also the world’s tallest mountain when measured from the foot of the ocean floor. Big Island is perhaps more famous for it’s active volcano “Kilauea” but, for the benefit of the world of golf, the island really should be better known as home to Nanea Golf Club, Hawaii’s best course.

Opened in 2003 and designed by David McLay Kidd for Charles Schwab and Safeway magnate George Roberts, Nanea Golf Club is the most exclusive club in Hawaii. "Our selection David McLay Kidd to design our course was based on his creativity and his flair for creating outstanding links golf courses, the determination of his entire team to produce the best results, and of course his Scottish brogue." Stated Charles Schwab & George Roberts.

Nanea Golf Club is so exclusive that it shuns publicity. Membership is by invitation only and consequently you’ll have to befriend one of the lucky few to get a game here. Alternatively, you could try and make it into nearby Kealakehe High School’s golf team who are allowed to practice and play home matches here.

The clubhouse was designed to resemble the island’s five volcanoes and the course itself was laid out on a thick lava mantle with the heart of British seaside links at its roots.

We’d love to hear from anyone who has played the course. Better still, why not write a review and let the world know what they’ve been missing.

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Reviews for Nanea

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: Nanea Golf Club is so exclusive that it shuns publicity. The course was laid out on a thick lava mantle by David McLay Kidd with the heart of British seaside links at its roots. Rating: 6 out of 6 Reviews: 4

I have played several fantastic golf courses including Pebble Beach, Spyglass, Sawgrass, Kings Creek, Harbortown and in Hawaii, Kapalua, Prince, Manele, Wailea, etc. I have also visited Augusta National for the Masters, so I’ve seen and played great courses. Nanea is in Nanea Golf Course - Photo by reviewer another whole class than ALL of the courses named above, and in many ways is similar to Augusta National in terms of its exclusivity and in the perfection of its conditioning. There was nary a ball mark on the greens and every blade of grass was mowed to perfection. Pro V1s on the superb driving range and a wonderful and entertaining caddie named Channing who has caddied for pro golfers on that course who I would only have to say their first name and you would know who they are. Anyway, it is the best course I have ever played on and I was thrilled to shoot an 82 as well. A memory I will never forget!

6 / 6
Nanea
April 28, 2018


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My name is SFC Zachary B Conklin stationed at FT Bragg North Carolina with 1 Brigade 82nd Airborne Division. Nanea Golf Course - Photo by reviewerAfter redeploying from Afghanistan recently I was blessed to take part in the Hualalai Champions Tour Pro Am with Fred Funk, and was invited to play Nanea on January 19th 2013 by a member. As soon as you reach the club at the top of the hill, where there are no signs or GPS reference to the club, you realize you can reach out and touch heaven. The course is the Augusta National of the Pacific, impeccably maintained, un questioned beauty, and very challenging course also. Be prepared for wind, and listen to the members and caddie, as there is no real grain to read on the greens. Once completed enjoy a Kobe steak wrap and a long board. An absolute bucket list event, a must play. I hope I get another chance in my life.
6 / 6
Nanea
May 06, 2013


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Fraser Van Asch
May 08, 2017

Nanea Golf Course - Photo by reviewerMy son and I played Nanea twice. Here, we ventured up to the "caddie tee" on the 9th hole for a great view.

I was lucky enough to play Nanea twice in December. It is obvious that the club is not interested in rankings, as it should be in the top 10 in the US, perhaps even in the world. (I have not played all top 10 courses in US, but Nanea is definetely better than Pebble Beach and Pacific Dunes (although I love all the Bandon courses...). I would put it in my world top 5 along with St Andrews, Turnberry, Royal Portrush and RCD. Although it is one of the most exclusive clubs in the US, it was very warm, welcoming and relaxed. The concept of a British style links course on a hillside in Hawaii seems far fetched, but McLay Kidd really pulled it off. Stunning!
6 / 6
Nanea
May 31, 2011


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Fergal OLeary
May 31, 2011
I wrote the initial review of Nanea below, and am happy to see that another lucky person had the pleasure of Nanea. Our experiences were the exact same. I've now completed the top 100 in the US and have a handful left on the World list (not bad for a 28 year old Irishman!) - and I still hold the opinion that Nanea is World top 25 material. I fondly remember the look of anxiety on the professionals face when I told him I loved to review golf courses. Nanea is the most under-rated course in the US.
I played Nanea twice in January. To put things into perspective, I'm currently playing the Top 100 golf courses in the US and the World and am almost finished with the challenge. When I stepped onto the first tee at Nanea, I had a similar reaction to how Monty describes Loch Lomond: "Wherever Nanea is ranked, it should be higher". The clubhouse facilities and golf staff are immaculate and reserved for the fortunate few who grace the marble floors. The golf course is as pristine as Augusta with greens which are significantly influenced by the nearby mountains. The pull of gravity will blow your mind depending on where the mountain is in relation to the direction you are putting. There is a great sense of privacy and it was an honour to experience the club for a day. In future rankings, I would expect to see Nanea in the top 25 courses in the US. The club doesn't want raters on the course, hence it's ranking doesn't reflect how good the course is. The changes in elevation, challenging doglegs, mind-blowing greens and superb bunkering will make you want to play the course every week. I can honestly say that the course doesn't have a bad hole and you actually get excited on the tee boxes while looking out at what is in front of you. David Kidd did a tremendous job and I expect this course to leap-frog so many others if it is given the chance. Top marks to Nanea.
6 / 6
Nanea
September 25, 2009


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Jim McCann
September 25, 2009
I'd be really interested to find out how you would rank the Top100 courses relative to each other when you finish your quest - maybe you could email the Top100 website and share your thoughts when you're finished?
AngelDevil666
April 11, 2018

I played Nanea a few weeks ago with a client whose a member and it is easily a top 10 course in the US. Dramatic holes but not repetitive. I have played all the top 10 and Nanea is on par with National Golf Links of America or Shinnecock.