Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish are experienced at adding additional nines at properties that already have well-regarded golf courses. Consider the par three Cliffs course they added at the famous Olympic Club in San Francisco. They faced a similar task at the Waikoloa Resort, where much of the property was dedicated to the Robert Trent Jones-designed Beach and Lakes nines, which are traditionally combined for the main 18. Unlike at Olympic, however, Weiskopf and Morrish’s work has usurped the existing course, and their Kings’ nine is considered by many to be the best golf challenge at Waikoloa.
Part of the appeal was its “links” inspiration; although it’s slightly fanciful to imagine creating links on the black lava terrain of Hawai’i, the duo did create wider fairways and deeper bunkers, so that players could take different routes depending on their risk aversion (and potentially suffer for getting too aggressive).
The second hole, a par five, is named “Ho’omanawanui,” which translates to “patience.” Players should exercise that concept on No. 5 as well, since the 330-yard par four beckons big hitters but threatens with lava rock hazards.
Waikoloa Beach Resort is a popular resort development not far north of Kona airport on The Big Island in Hawaii. The resort is home to a number of luxury hotels and condos, has lovely beaches, high end shopping, and of course two 18 hole golf courses.
The Kings' Course was designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish and opened in 1990. They have created a links-style layout at the Kings’ that is playable for all, yet can still challenge the better player.
The course uses a combination of water hazards, bunkering and lava to good effect throughout. While this is very much resort golf, there are some good holes out there:
The 5th hole is the signature hole. A quite distinctive short par four, it measures just 277 yards from the white tees and has lava either side of the fairway. The putting surface is perched eight feet above the fairway and is tucked behind a bunker that protects the left side of the green. The bunker contains a large lava formation which draws the eye. It is a potential birdie hole, but choices need to be made on the tee... It’s a good hole and looks great.
Hole 15 is a short par 3 with a pond challenging the line to the green. The green runs across at an angle with bunkers protecting the rear and a really tight pin position on the front right for those that choose to avoid carrying the water..
Holes 16, 17 & 18 provide a strong finish with water a major factor laterally. Hole 16 & 18 come back to the clubhouse and require two very good shots to hit the greens in regulation. The final hole has a lava field to negotiate off the tee as well!
Waikoloa's King s Course is just a nice place to play on holiday!
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.