Kona Country Club
15 years ago, while playing indoor golf on a golf simulator, we were playing a course in Hawaii that had old lava fields for rough surrounding most of the fairways. It was then I added playing golf on one of these courses onto my bucket list. I was able to cross this off my bucket list thanks to Kona Country Club located on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Kona Country Club was everything I hoped it would be! The course was challenging, well maintained and had spectacular views. Located just 6 miles from downtown Kona, Kona Country Club offers top notch facilities with ocean side golf. In 2016, Kona Country Club celebrated their 50th anniversary! Designed by William Bell, this course had challenging par 3s, stunning par 4s and a few par 5s that just begged you to go for the green in two! The course is challenging enough to host the LPGA Takefuli Classic in both 2000 and 2001.
My sister and I arrived early for our 7:00am tee time. I always debate whether I should travel with my own clubs or not, since I only had one round booked in Hawaii, I decided not to lug my clubs across the US. It was nice to have pretty much new Taylor Made rental clubs. I like having the option of choosing the shaft and loft of my driver and irons. By showing up early, we took advantage of Kona’s driving range, putting and chipping areas. I was amazed at how well the course was maintained as it rained about 3 inches the night before. I was expecting puddles everywhere, but the course was dry and the greens were still fast.
I played from the blue tees that measures out a little over 6200 yards, my sister who is no slouch, played from the red tees measuring 5243 yards. Although I have dreamed about playing a course where lava plays a role in your shot selection, I certainly didn’t want to drive my ball into the lava. I was fortunate enough to stay out of the lava all round, but was able to witness a ball being hit as my sister shanked her drive on a par 4. I’m pretty sure the ball is still bouncing around somewhere on Hawaii!
The signature 13th hole borders the Pacific ocean. Along the shoreline is a blow hole known as “puka” in Hawaiian. The Kona Country Club website (www.konacountryclub.com) boasts that Humpback whales can be seen during the months of November through March. Since we visited in August, all we saw was my sisters stray drives in the ocean! I can’t give her too hard of a time as we both shot a 47 on the front 9. I tore up the back nine shooting a 39 which featured a chip in from the green side bunker for birdie on the par 3 17th hole.
We played a very fast 18 and was finished before the Amici Vista Grill was opened. I wanted to make sure we ate there, so we returned the next day. The restaurant has a fully stocked bar, and we opted for their pizza which was delicious. Overlooking the course and the Pacific ocean, if you are not a golfer, I would still recommend stopping in for lunch for great food and views!
The course has a handful of awards from top magazines and travel websites. I have played on courses that have had these awards and not been kept up. Kona Country Club was everything I hoped it would be. For just turning 50 (like me) the course was in great shape. The course offers challeges for every range of golfer, but still offers a great round of golf. If you are visiting the Big Island of Hawaii, I would recommend a stop at Kona Country Club. For golf, or just a great lunch, the views were beautiful and everyone I encounter at the course was extremely friendly! Visit www.konacountryclub.com for more information, rates and to book a tee time, you will be glad you did!