The Best Golf Courses on Oahu

For this section, I asked a local golfer for advice on which Oahu golf courses to recommend for visiting tourists. He lives on Oahu and plays a lot of courses here.

Ko'olau Golf Club

Ko'olau Golf Club

This course advertises that it is "The World's Most Challenging Golf Course". From the Black (Tournament) tees it's 7,310 yards with a course rating of 75.7 and slope of 152. Frankly, that's WAY out of my league. I've only played a couple of holes from these tees to enjoy the view. But many other holes from these tees require very long and straight carries over a ravine. The "resort" tees, however, are a much more reasonable 6,406 yards with a course rating of 71.7 and slope of 138.

This course was cut through the Ko'olau mountain range and presents a number of great views and photo opportunities. While it is only a few hundred yards from the H-3 highway, it seems completely secluded. Think of it as golf in Jurassic Park.

You'll want a yardage book to help you navigate some of these holes. Some are better played with a hybrid or iron off the tee and require a longer second shot to the green. You don't have to be a long hitter to score well, but you do need to hit it straight. Otherwise, bring plenty of balls since just about every hole has woods/brush on each side.

Check the forecast before playing here. It's on the Windward side of the island and it gets heavy rain at times. Best to avoid playing in the winter months; it's often too wet and many shots will plug in the soft turf.

Pearl Country Club

Photo courtesy of Pearl Country Club website

Home of the professional "Pearl Open" Golf Tournament, many Japanese and minor league US pros play this course every year. It's also home to the Hawaii State Amateur tournament. From the Championship tees it's over 6,800 yards with a course rating of 72.7 and slope of 136.

They can make this course quite tough by letting the rough grow, placing the tee markers on the edge of the tree line and tucking pins behind deep traps. However, the course is usually set up to accommodate more recreational golfers and is only 6,232 yards with a rating of 70.2 and slope of 131 from the Regular (white) tees.

This is a picturesque course, with many nice views of Pearl Harbor, the Arizona Memorial and Aloha stadium. They cater to both Japanese and Mainland visitors and treat them well. The green fees are quite reasonable, about $75.

You'll also want a range book here. There are a number of fairways that slope severely to one side. It's a great advantage to be able to hit both draws and fades to keep the ball from running away.

The course is in the middle of the island and gets frequent light showers. It's good to have a rain shirt or jacket on hand.


Kapolei Golf Course

Kapolei Golf Course photo courtesy of

This is a true "resort" type course that caters to visitors. They used to host the LPGA Fields Open a while back and they continue to regularly host college and amateur tournaments. From the back tees it's a tough 7,000 yards long with a 74.3 slope and 135 course rating. From the white tees it's only 6,136 yards with a 71.8 slope and 124 course rating.

This course is on the leeward side and is usually sunny and warm. The course is mostly wide open. You can occasionally hit into the wrong fairway and still hit the green on the next shot. There are few trees but a number of water hazards.

The course is usually in very good condition with lush fairways and smooth, true greens. If you're a straight hitter, you can often score very well here. If you're not too straight, you won't get penalized too severely.