Ko Olina Golf Club
On a recent quick trip to Oahu, I decided to give the golf scene a go at Ko Olina Golf Club. Having golfed in Hawaii once before in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii, I think I had my hopes pretty high as Hapuna Golf Course and Waikoloa Beach Golf Course were the ideal Hawaiian golf dream.
Oahu is home to a PGA Tour event, the Sony Open, it otherwise isn’t as well known for golf.
I decided to put this to the test by playing Ko Olina Golf Club. Keep reading to see if it lives up to the Hawaiian golf hype!
Ko Olina Golf Club is located on the southwestern corner of Oahu. It is a 30 minute drive from the airport before 3pm and then it can take almost an hour with rush hour traffic.
From Waikiki, it can take about 45 minutes to an hour so make sure to budget time in for the trek.
If you decide to stay in Ko Olina, it is a short walk or drive from your resort as they are situated very close to the course.
Course Views: 9/10
Although the course is near the beach, you only get views of the ocean from one hole. Otherwise, it is lined with palm trees, lagoons, and tropical foliage. It certainly gives off the Hawaiian vibe and you’ll feel very relaxed as you make your way through the course no matter how you’re playing.
Pro Shop: 5/5
The Pro Shop is loaded with tons of fun branded items. You’ll be tempted to find a souvenir to take home with the famous ladybug logo.
Practice Facilities: 10/10
The driving range is located behind the clubhouse and range balls are complimentary with a tee time. There is a large practice green next to it and the chipping area is actually closer to the parking lot. I was able to chip early in the morning when the practice green was empty but it would be hard to get away with this when it is busier. There are also lockers and shower facilities available.
The clubhouse hosts Roy’s Restaurant as it’s main place. I did not have time to eat here but rather grabbed a quick bite down the street at MonkeyPod which is famous for its Mai Tai’s, and let me say, they live up to the hype.
The staff were extremely friendly and welcoming. The course can get quite busy at times and the staff were very flexible and accommodating.
Rentals/Golf Cart: 5/5
Rental clubs are the brand new TaylorMade SIM Max clubs which are in great shape. Golf carts come with GPS built into the cart and complimentary waters.
Fairway Condition: 7/10
The fairways at Ko Olina Golf Club were in decent shape. While the brown spots were few and far between, the grass felt a bit dry. It was more than playable but didn’t have that lush feel to it that you might expect. Divots were prevalent and not repaired or sanded in most spots.
Rough Condition: 7/10
The rough was also in decent shape. It also felt a bit on the dry/airy side of things and wasn’t too lush. Around the green, things were more well kept.
Sand Trap Condition: 6/10
The sand traps were very inconsistent around the course unfortunately. You had some (mostly fairway bunkers) that were very dry and firm while most of the green-side bunkers were more well kept and in better shape.
Greens Conditions: 4/5
The greens at Ko Olina Golf Club were in pretty good shape. They were nicely watered and had good pace to them. The greens rolled a bit slower than they looked, especially on the hills. Ball marks were infrequent and the greens played fairly firm.
Fringe conditions were great at Ko Olina Golf Club. There was a nice blend from fairway or rough to the fringe and then to the green. It was a surface that you could putt from or chip. Well maintained.
Par 3's: 4/5
The Par 3’s were quite fun to play. Two of the four featured water in some fashion and wind definitely was a factor. Bunkers protected them on the sides with no bunkers in front of the green. Once you get past the intimidation of the water, they’re fairly straight forward to play.
For the steep price of $225 off-resort, it’s hard to justify playing the course. While the palm trees around every green made for a “Hawaiian experience”, I was looking for a bit more interaction with the ocean and sea views. The conditions all around were average and the bunker condition really killed things. I’d be interested to see how other courses on Oahu stack up in terms of value.
Final Rating: 81/100
Ko Olina Golf Club is a top rated golf course both in the US and Hawaii. It certainly gives off a Hawaiian vibe with its location and foliage and has some great course conditions. It plays at a steep price but if you’re willing to pay it, you’ll certainly be in for an enjoyable round.
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