Ginella is high on Maui's Coore-Crenshaw design, the Plantation Course at Kapalua. (Matt Ginella/GolfAdvisor) The signature par-3 third at Mauna Kea Golf Course on the Big Island is a hole you'll never forget. (Mike Bailey/GolfAdvisor) A bird's-eye view from a helicopter of no. 17 on Turtle Bay's Arnold Palmer Course. (Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor)

Ginella's Top 5 golf courses to play in Hawaii (and the best value on each island)

Updated January 2nd, 2018.

It's a long trip from the east coast of the United States, but I've been fortunate enough to spend a lot of time in Hawaii.

I have family on the North Shore, who I visit each holiday season, and I've played golf on every island.

As the PGA Tour kicks off its calendar year in the Aloha State, I shared my Top 5 courses to play in Hawaii on Golf Channel's Morning Drive.

Hawaii isn't a cheap golf destination by any stretch, but each island has at least one great bargain course. So below I've also shared my best value course on each island.

Ginella's Top 5 Golf Courses to play in Hawaii

5. Palmer Course at Turtle Bay


4. Nicklaus Course at Hualalai Country Club

Big Island

3. Mauna Kea, Big Island

Big Island

2. Challenge at Manele


1. Plantation Course at Kapalua


Ginella's best value on each Hawaiian Island

Kauai: Wailua Municipal Golf Course

Oahu: Kahuku Golf Course

Maui: Kahili Golf Course

Big Island: Big Island Country Club

Lanai: Cavendish Golf Club

What's your favorite golf course in Hawaii? Let us know in the comments below or review it yourself in our course guide.

Ginella's Journeys: Visiting Lanai

Jan 02, 2018

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Jade's avatar
Jade wrote at 2018-01-11 10:47:09+00:00:

Everyone should try the 9 hole Walter Nagorski golf course, run by U.S. Army. This little 9 holer will eat you up. Great rates and fun to play.

Lori's avatar
Lori wrote at 2018-01-10 00:08:49+00:00:

As a frequent visitor to Kauai, the Prince course was always our favorite, and definitely one of the best in Hawaii. Thankfully the development they closed the course for is not going forward and we may get the course back!! Wailua is a great choice for affordable golf. The course runs right along the ocean and the back nine is very special.

John's avatar
John wrote at 2018-01-09 18:35:50+00:00:

I've been to Hawaii twice and played on all islands except Oahu, therefore I cannot comment on the Palmer course. The golf is so spectacular that is almost impossible to select only five. I do agree that the Challenge at Manele was on my top five and way up there. I was surprised that Kauai courses did not make it. My favorite was Kauai Lagoons (now Ocean Course). Amazing ocean views and great layout. Also, I must mention the Prince Course, one of the most difficult course that I have ever played. As for the number one choice, I played Kapalua and would place that a bit down on the list.

Peter T's avatar
Peter T wrote at 2018-01-09 18:10:59+00:00:

Just got back from a months in Hawaii - 2 weeks on Maui and 2 on Oahu. Played Kahili, but price has gone up the past couple of years. Maui Nui and "The Puke" (Pukalani), at half the price of Kahili, are the best deals. On Oahu, the military courses are the best deals (if you can get on), Was lucky enough to play Kaneohe Klipper and Mamala Bay, which are tough to get on, but Navy Marine and Leilahua are both open to the public at great rates. But if you hunt around you can pick up some great deals. My new favorite is Royal Kunia, a good challenge and some good online deals.

Adam's avatar
Adam wrote at 2018-01-06 13:50:26+00:00:

Royal Hawaiian on Oahu is a unique experience. No ocean views, but instead you really feel like you are playing golf in the Jurassic Park mountains of Hawaii. Palmer course at Turtle Bay is fun, but the course doesn't have as much of a Hawaiian feel to it.

Larry's avatar
Larry wrote at 2018-01-05 16:51:13+00:00:

Kahili was not the best deal in November when I was there. The greens were not in that good of shape. Pukalani was the best deal and in the best shape. Next was Maui Nui which was also in good shape

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Matt Ginella

Special Contributor

Matt Ginella is Golf Channel's resident travel insider. He writes for and appears weekly on "Morning Drive." Before Golf Channel, Ginella was senior travel editor for Golf Digest and Golf World from 2007-2012 and covered courses, resorts and the avid amateur golfer's annual buddies trips to over 60 destinations around the country. Ginella graduated from St. Mary's College (Calif.) in 1995 and earned a masters degree in journalism from Columbia University in 2003. Follow Matt on Twitter at @mattginellagc and on Instagram at @Matt_Ginella.