Getting on the green

Blogging about some of the world's best golf holes.

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Hole # 5, Kona CC, Kona, HI

Hole # 5, Mountain Course, par 3, 148 yards

After playing the Mountain course at Kona Country Club, I can tell you that I was pleasantly surprised. Green fees were considerably less than that of the sister course which plays along the ocean but the views were unmatched. Instead of playing next to blowholes and lava rocks, take to the hills and enjoy hillside views of Kona below and ancient lava flows.

Hole # 5 on the Mountain course is a short par 3, at least it looks that way. Remember the air in Hawaii makes everything look closer than it is. At 148 yards, I trusted the distance and chose an 8-iron. After watching the head pro hit his tee shot towards the green from the back tees, I ran up to the white tees to hit. My ball would hit a slope located just in front of the green. It bounced on and rolled towards the hole. I would have a 10 foot putt for birdie.

Chris was next. He chose a 7-iron but his ball came up short of the green. He would chip on and close too. First to putt was Jason. He would two putt for a par. I would follow suit. Now it was Chris’ turn to do the same. He would mis-putt and end up with a bogey.

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Hole # 7, Kona CC, Kona, HI

Hole # 7, par 4, 373 yards

Hole # 7

Hole # 7

Playing golf in Hawaii is always memorable, especially when you can play with Head Professional, Jason Souza at the Kona Country Club. If it wasn’t for running out of electricity, we wouldn’t have had the chance of meeting Jason nor playing a few holes with him. If you do play the ocean course and plan to play the mountain course back-to-back, be sure to change carts at the turn. Stupid us, we didn’t and paid for it on hole # 4. The unthinkable happened – our cart died in the middle of the fairway.

Hole # 7 is the hardest hole on the Mountain course. It plays 373 yards from the white tees and requires a good drive. Jason played from the back tees because he was a pro and he sailed it down the hill. From the back tees, you really couldn’t see the fairway below. Jason told me to aim right of the palm tree that was situated on the left side of the fairway. With a clear purpose, I hit a good drive and it went down the middle. However, I didn’t see it land but Jason was smiling at me so I presume it was good. Chris was next. I could see that he was nervous and he ended up leaving most of his weight on his right side. His ball flew left, straight for someone’s back yard. He would hit a provisional just in case he couldn’t find his first ball.

Jason went looking for Chris’ ball but couldn’t find it after 10 minutes. It was deemed lost. Chris decided to play his second ball which ended up right of the fairway. He had a long way to go and had to clear a lake on the right hand side. Chris played it safe and decided to lay up.

I found my ball in the middle of the fairway with just 120 yards to the green. Jason’s ball was just a few feet behind mine. It was his turn. He chose a wedge and hit it high. His ball landed at the back of the green. Chris was next. At 150 yards, Chris hit a low boring shot to the green and cleared the water. He would end up with a double bogey. I was next up. I chose my 9-iron and hit it crisp. It sailed in the air and landed at the back of the green, next to Jason’s ball.

I would watch Jason’s roll and see that it would break left. I followed and two putted in for a par. Jason congratulated me for scoring a par on the #1 handicap hole.

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Hole # 17, Kona CC, Kona, HI

Hole # 17 on the Mountain Course, par 3, 172 yards

Hole # 17

Chris @ Hole # 17

Between the two courses at Kona Country Club on the Big Island in Hawaii, the ocean course is the most popular and gets the most play because golfers like to tee it up next to crashing waves and see an errant drive fly into the ocean. That’s a stroke penalty to say the least and there’s no chance to find it nor retrieve it.

Hole # 17 on the Mountain course is a long par 3. With our Callaway rangefinder, it’s playing 189 yards. We are teeing off at the top of a mountain and down below is water guarding the green. It’s spectacular up here with views of Kailua-Kona below and ocean. I don’t know whether to grab my camera or my hybrid.

I hit first and concentrate on making a smooth takeaway. As I bring my club down, I could hear the sound of a sweet shot as my ball sails towards the green. It has a bit of air time before it sits and settles on the green just a few feet from the hole. My playing partner also from Calgary decides to hit his hybrid. He isn’t so lucky because his ball finds the water. He winds up for his third shot, laying down another Pro V1 ball on a tee. He tries to calm his nerves by telling me, “This can get expensive at $5 a ball”. He hit it thick and the ball travels half the distance. Unfortunately it’s wet. “One more time” he insists. Another Pro V1 ball and this makes it across the lake and over by my ball. We are now ready to head to the green.

He wanted me to putt out first even though his ball was away.  I obliged. I took a look at the green before putting. No breaks, just a smooth stroke. It was in for a birdie. Fist pumped – it felt good! Chris two putted and ended up with a 7.

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Hole # 18, Waikoloa Village GC, Big Island, HI

Hole # 18, par 5, Regular tees, 497 yards

Waikoloa Village GC

Waikoloa Village GC

If you’ve played either one of the two Waikoloa golf courses, either the King’s Course or the Beach Course, don’t think the village course is just around the corner because it isn’t. It is another 20-30 minutes away so leave yourself some time to get there. Get back on highway 19 and head north then turn right on Waikoloa Road. Drive east until you’ve reached Paniolo Street. Make a left then another left to get to the course.

The Waikoloa Village golf course is nothing like the King’s or Beach course because it is more for the locals than the tourists. Because it is more inland, you will get some ocean vistas but you’re pretty much away from the ocean shores. Hole # 18 is a nice finish to a good round. First time playing here, I was surprised by the layout. It was actually pretty enjoyable and I will surely return for another round.

Reaching the tee box, you have to hit a straight drive because there’s water all on the right side. It appears really narrow so I botched up my drive. Next time, I would hit a 3-wood but this time, I would end up hitting 2 shots to get about 120 yards from the green. The green is sitting across the canal, almost like an island green so it’s intimidating. I would miss my GIR but I have one putt to make a par. I would miss and settle for a bogey which I was happy on getting. I really didn’t deserve a par for playing so badly on this hole. But like I said, I would return on a heart beat.