Trip Planner: Hawaii
In the Aloha State, less than a six-hour flight from L.A., it's eighty degrees year-round, the golf is world-class and the beaches and waters are pristine. In other words, it's the ideal vacation spot. Below is a roundup of where the author played plus other notable Hawaiian golf courses and resorts.
Where to Play
The Challenge at Manele, Manele Bay, Lanai. 808-565-2000, fourseasons.com/lanai.
Greens Fee: $185.
Jack Nicklaus's Challenge, set atop 200-foot cliffs with magnificent ocean views even by Hawaiian standards, guarantees a memorable round. None other than Bill Gates chose the twelfth tee as the site of his wedding ceremony.
Kapalua Maui Resort (Plantation course), Maui. 877-527-2582, kapaluamaui.com. Greens Fee: $295.Koolau Golf Club, Kaneohe, Oahu. 808-247-7088, koolaugolfclub.com. Greens Fees: $79$135.
A rain forest monster that the survivors on the TV show Lost might appreciate, the back tees at Koolau, with their epic slope of 162 (the highest in America), are often sought out by masochistic low handicappers. Whether this is your desired vibe while on vacation might be another story altogether.
Makena Golf Courses (North course), Makena, Maui. 808-879-3344, makenagolf.com. Greens Fees: $115$160.
Mauna Kea Resort (Mauna Kea course), Kohala Coast, Big Island. 808-882-7222, maunakearesort.com. Greens Fees: $135$195.
Mauna Lani Resort (South course), Kohala Coast, Big Island. 808-885-6622, maunalani.com. Greens Fees: $140$205.
Volcano Golf and Country Club, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Big Island. 808-967-7331, volcanogolfshop.com. Greens Fees: $51$64.
Waikoloa Beach Resort (Beach and Kings courses), Kohala Coast, Big Island. 877-924-5656, waikoloabeachresort.com. Greens Fees: $130$185.
Wailea Golf Club (Gold course), Wailea, Maui. 888-328-6284, waileagolf.com. Greens Fees: $135$170.
Where to Stay
Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay, Lanai City, Lanai. 808-565-2000,
fourseasons.com/manelebay. Room Rates: $395$2,200.
Don't be fooled by the Lanai City address—this old plantation town, population 2,800, is the only settlement of note on this tiny Hawaiian island. The air of secluded luxury at the Four Seasons is complemented by terrific sporting opportunities, including deep-sea fishing, whale watching and the aforementioned Challenge at Manele.
JW Marriott Ihilani Resort and Spa at Ko Olina, Kapolei, Oahu. 808-679-0079, ihilani.com. Room Rates: $425$1,500.
Only half an hour from Honolulu, the 387-room resort features one of the best Japanese restaurants in Hawaii, Ushio-Tei, which serves artfully prepared sushi and sashimi in a peaceful setting.
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Kohala Coast, Big Island. 808-882-7222, maunakeabeachhotel.com. Room Rates: $370$1,600. Enjoy the fragrant island breezes throughout this open-air hotel, or from the private lanais standard to each guest room. Founding hotelier Laurance Rockefeller's collection of Asian antiques and artwork lend another note of tranquility to the "Grand Dame of the Kohala Coast."
Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, Maui. 800-262-8440, ritzcarlton.com. Room Rates: $450$945.The relaxed and luxurious atmosphere of the Ritz-Carlton might occasionally make it hard to take one's lumps on the three golf courses. Relax by the three-tier swimming pool, or visit the historic town of Lahaina for a whale-watching excursion.