Getting on the green

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


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Hole # 16, Makalei GC, Big Island, HI

Hole # 16, par 4, Blue tees, 423 yards

Peacock at Makalei

Peacock at Makalei

If you are a bird watcher and love nature then you have to make it out to Makalei GC on the Big Island in Hawaii. One of the things that you will remember about playing here is the amount of peacocks, both male and female walking around. There’s even the occasional wild turkey and quail, along with NeNe, Hawaii’s state bird.

There’s a lot of locals playing here but not much tourists. I’m a tourist and I love playing here because of the ocean vistas, wildlife and the great course layout. Holes # 14, 15 and 16 all share the same water hazard but on hole # 16, water hardly comes into play because you’re teeing off away from the lake. It’s a slight dogleg right and you can literally bomb it out there.

Hit a straight tee shot and you’ll be in good shape for your approach to the green. At 423 yards, you’ll have a hybrid to a green that is well protected with sand bunkers. Sometimes to make a play, it’s a good idea to hit a shorter iron to lay up then leave yourself a wedge to the green. I know, no GIR but it gives you a chance to par the hole. Par is a good score for this hole.


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Hole # 16, Hapuna Golf Course, Big Island, HI

Hole # 16, par 3, Regular tees, 157 yards

Hapuna Golf

Hapuna Golf

Some holes are plain simple. Now that’s not saying Hapuna Golf Course on the Big Island, Hawaii is easy. This course is not easy but hole # 16 can be. At 157 yards from the regular tees, it is not usually my favourite 6-iron shot. Today the wind isn’t as strong so I can go for the pin. Other days, the wind can blow off the ocean and there’s no way to get it close.

Pin placement is important too. I don’t like it when it is #2 because it is right up front. I like to draw my shots so having the pin in the back helps me with a roll. Luckily, I hit it sweet today and the ball is short but it hops up to the green. I’m putting again for a birdie after double bogeying the last two holes.

Did I make the putt? Yes I did. I end up with a 44 on the front nine and 44 on the back nine for a 88 score. I’m proud of myself for doing that.

How did you do? Let me know by leaving me a comment.


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Hole # 7, Hapuna GC, Big Island, HI

Hole # 7, par 3, Regular tees, 135 yards

Some holes are plain simple. Now that’s not saying Hapuna Golf Course on the Big Island, Hawaii is easy. This course is not easy but hole # 7 is. At 135 yards from the regular tees, it is usually my favourite 9-iron shot. Today the wind isn’t as strong so I can go for the pin. Other days, the wind can blow off the ocean and there’s no way to get it on the green.

Pin placement is important too. I like it when it is #2 because it is in the back. I like to draw my shots so having the pin in the back helps me with a roll. Luckily, I hit it sweet today and the ball curls around the green towards the pin. I’m putting for a birdie after bogeying the last two holes.

Did I make the putt? Yes I did. I end up with a 44 on the front nine and 44 on the back nine for a 88 score. I’m proud of myself for doing that.

How did you do? Let me know by leaving me a comment.


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Hole # 12, Kona CC, Ocean Course, Big Island, HI

Hole # 12, par 3, Ladies tees, 133 yards

Kona CC, Ocean Course

Kona CC, Ocean Course

Teeing off on the Ocean Course in Kona CC is a treat because the hole parallels the ocean. With a stiff breeze, 133 yards plays longer than it is. This is one course that if your spouse doesn’t play, it’s worth paying $25 for the rider’s fee because some of the holes plays alongside the ocean and the views are spectacular.

I’ve played other ocean courses before but this one is my favourite. Right before the “puka” hole which is hole # 13, the short par 3 on # 12 is easy for the ladies. I hit onto the green with my 8-iron. Two putt for an easy par. My husband has it harder as he has 167 yards from the white tees. He’s not hitting his 6-iron very well these days so he comes up right of the green. He has a tricky chip because he can’t keep his eyes off the surf. It’s too much for him so he duffs the shot. Two putts later, he walks away disappointed with a double bogey.


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Hole # 6, Makena Golf Course, Maui, Hi

Hole # 6, par 4, White tees, 364 yards

P1080964Choices, choices, choices. That’s what runs through your mind when you play hole # 6 on Makena. Off the tee box, you can see that there’s two landing spots. The reason is because there is a natural ravine that cuts the fairway in half. Left side versus right side. I think it takes both sides of your brain to think this one through.

Driving the ball to the left side makes sense because the green is also on that side. However, the ravine looks wide and deep and I’m not sure if I can hit it that far. On the right side, the ravine doesn’t look so far away but it will leave a hard shot to an elevated green. I’m going to choose the right side today. I tee up the ball and take one more look, just to visualize my shot as it flies over the ravine. I hit it sweet and surely, the ball drops safely on the right side of the fairway. I gather up my nerves and get into the cart.

My ball ended up alittle more right than I wanted, but then it is safe. I’m left with 160 yards to the green, not my favourite club to get a GIR with. I wished I drove it further to leave me with a 8-iron or a 9-iron but no luck. My second shot comes up short, probably because of the cross wind that blows constantly on the island of Maui. I have to chip on and try to save par. I fail and end up with a bogey.


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Hole # 6, Puakea GC, Kauai, HI

Hole # 6, par 3, White tees, 156 yards

Elevated Par 3

Elevated Par 3 – Hole # 6

If you didn’t get your feet wet on hole # 5 on Puakea, you will get a second chance on hole # 6. From the white tees, the yardage is only 156 yards but with the elevation drop, it’s about 125 yards. I have to admit, it takes guts to hit a 9-iron to the green when you think you have to carry 156 yards. It’s almost better not to know the distance and just use your intuition.

Worst case is that you hit too much club and end up at the back of the green or off. A PW is definitely too little for me to reach the green so I choose a 9-iron. I setup and keep my head down.  A pull or push would have easily landed me in one of those greenside bunkers. And coming up short would be wet. A nice easy swing and the ball is on the green for a birdie opportunity.

We drive down the slope carefully and four balls await us. Greens are pretty fast here so we take our time and take aim. Four balls, three birdies and one par – not a bad day.

Have you played Puakea before? If so, please add your comments on hole # 6.