Getting on the green

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


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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 # 1, Wailua Golf Course, Lihue, HI

Hole # 1 par 5, 520 yards

If you’re looking to play an ocean course at a reasonable rate then head out to Wailua Golf Course on Kauai. Just 10 minutes north of Lihue and before Kapaa, the Wailua Golf Course is a pleasure to play. First of, you can’t go wrong with a $50 green fee in the afternoon. Second, you play right next to the ocean on holes # 1 and # 2.

Hole # 1 is a beautiful long par 5, slight dogleg right. When you tee off, you think you’re hitting toward the ocean but you’re actually playing parallel with the beach. Try to keep your tee shot straight. If you happen to slice it off the tee, your ball will come to rest among the trees that line the fairway. In most cases, you’ll find your ball because it isn’t a dense forest that is on your right.

The fairway is free of sand bunkers so blast away. There are only two sand bunkers at the green but there’s an entire beach on the whole left side of the fairway. The wind can play havoc on your shot so take that in account on club selection.

If you hit the green in three then you’re in for some easy putting. The greens are relatively slow and if it’s raining, it’s slower than molasses.


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Hole # 5, Dunes at Maui Lani, Maui, HI

Hole # 5, par 4, Blue tees, 334 yards 

When you’re talking to your buddies, 334 yards sounds like a short par 4. But tell them to play the Dunes at Maui Lani and see if they stay dry. Hole # 5 is one tough hole because off the tee, you don’t see that your tee shot can easily go swimming. From the tee box, all you can see is undulating fairways. Little do you know it, the lake is easily reachable. From the blue tees, water comes into play at 213 yards.

With the wind against my face, I chose to hit a 3-wood. Luckily it didn’t balloon and stayed low to the ground. By the time we drove up, my ball had settled about 10 yards from the lake. It was close and I had to take a deep sigh of relief. I had about 130 yards to the green so I chose my 9-iron with a slight draw. It bounced in front of the green and rolled on. I would have a 10 foot putt for birdie.

Dunes at Maui Lani is a beautiful course to play. It doesn’t get much traffic because everyone is playing the Kaanapali and Wailea courses near the ocean. If you’re looking for some good advice including playing lessons for this course and pretty pictures, be sure to visit our website.


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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.


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Hole # 17, Big Island GC, Kailua Kona, HI

Hole # 17, par 3, White tees, 144 yards

Island Green, # 17

Island Green, # 17

Off the tourist track and into residential communities, the Big Island Golf Club is a really nice course to play. Just click on the link and check out the fly over. When you drive up to the course, there’s a hidden gem sitting off to your right. Shrouded in a forest of trees is an island green – hole #17 awaits you.

Only 144 yards from the white tees, this island green is hard to hit. But if you do play it, try to get out in afternoon when there are less members bearing down on you. To get on the green, you need to be in Zen mode. Relax, take a deep breath and don’t try to look up. Trust your swing and let it go. Keep your head down and hear your ball land softly on the green.

I chose a 8-iron and it carried the water to the middle of the green. My wife had only 107 yards from the green tees so she used a 9-iron to get there. It’s a rush when you get on so enjoy the walk to the green. Close your eyes and feel as though you just played the island green at TPC Sawgrass in the Players’ Championship. Same as on the Big Island GC, the signature #17 hole is the most memorable and most recognizable hole on the whole golf course.


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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.