Makani Golf Club
Formerly known as Big Island Country Club.
|Forward 1||72||5145 yards||65.4||114|
|Forward 2||72||4803 yards||63.9||110|
|Red (W)||72||4803 yards||68.7||116|
|Pro M: 74.4/140||449||529||376||384||240||557||401||235||459||3630||401||408||542||222||407||281||547||206||472||3486||7116|
|Champion M: 71.7/135||386||500||372||371||220||531||396||180||416||3372||369||380||550||189||388||259||494||153||428||3210||6582|
|Member M: 69.5/126 W: 75.2/132||350||489||345||346||183||485||354||142||401||3095||342||362||499||163||356||242||463||144||346||2917||6012|
|Forward 1 M: 65.4/114 W: 70.2/122||324||440||225||308||144||418||322||110||346||2637||280||302||425||123||310||224||415||107||322||2508||5145|
|Forward 2 M: 63.9/110 W: 68.3/118||310||435||223||299||127||382||262||100||325||2463||241||253||420||117||280||200||414||100||315||2340||4803|
Golf Advisor: Top Courses in Hawaii
Golf Advisor: Top 25 Most Improved U.S. Golf Courses
17th hole Island green Photo submitted by u000006536381 on 12/18/2019
Perfect day, thunder cloud but cleared almost as fast as they arrived. Photo submitted by Bruce6093729 on 11/23/2019
Photo submitted by drunkenb on 04/16/2014
Photo submitted by drunkenb on 04/16/2014
Beautiful flowers,shrubs and suroundings. Photo submitted by Suesam on 05/12/2013
Hole number 1 as a dogleg left, the pin as guarded by 2 turkeys! Photo submitted by drksmith on 11/07/2012
Island green on 17 Photo submitted by drksmith on 11/07/2012
What a great Course!! The Staff were friendly and Helpful. The course itself was very well maintained and offered challenges on several holes - especially number 17!! I made another tee time as soon as I finished the round.
The only downfall was the club l house is actually a tent like structure. You can get a caned or bottled beverage from the cooler - but that's about it. There was no cart service the day I played - But normally there is.
Fun layout with challenging greens
Played for a 2nd time today and enjoyed it more than a week ago. Interesting layout and never did figure out the breaks on the greens..... In good shape and cooler temos than beachside courses.
Great course but...
The cost was worth it. However, the pace of play was very slow. I think it was over booked.
Nice track; not special
First time playing here. Course was in decent shape. Layout was interesting, greens were challenging. Couple holes had distant views of the coast....nice. No restaurant or bar...... On-course snacks very limited.
Very nice course. Friendly and helpful staff. I can only recommend!
Great golf on the big island
Makani (big island) is awesome ......wild life and an island green......fun elevation changes >.<
Wonderful public course
Makani is a hidden gem on Hawaii. It was a wonderful course layout with wonderful challenges for a midrange handicapper. The last two holes are not to be missed.
Round and another round
Today was my first time playing the course. Incredibly nice staff, course was in pretty good conditions (good for the price) and a beautiful setting for a course. A great mix of challenging tight holes and a couple to take a breath but don’t underestimate your approaches. Full wedge approaches necessary to hold. Enjoyed the round so I re-rounded. I will return one day in the future to play again.
Makani Golf Club
This course is a jewel in the wilderness. The course is challenging, but playable. The staff were friendly and helpful. The pace of play was great with little waiting. i would play this course again as it it is scenic and has an array of wildlife seldom seen on most courses.
Spectacular Round of Golf
Value worth the money spent for early afternoon twilight booking. Wild life was plentiful.
I played this course in late October, midWeek. Very few golfers in the morning. The greens were in great shape.
We were surprised to find no food to East and no cart service. We hadn’t had breakfast or coffee. Thankfully they had small coffee maker. Very disappointing. Bring your own food and adult beverage.
Beautiful views up high
Lovely course with combination of rolling terrain and challenging water holes. Cooler temperatures make for comfortable rounds, and beautiful surroundings and views make up for any errant shots.
HAWAII 5.0 (starred review--that is!)
Makani Golf Club is set on a spectacularly beautiful site: its first tee view highlights the Kohala Coast, miles away and 2,000 feet below; its holes slide up and down over rolling and hilly terrain; its ponds and colorful, tropical trees add definition to both fairways and green complexes. The palm-lined drive into the parking lot feature's the course's signature and most aesthetic hole, the island-green 17th, perched above a serene pond and encircled by flowering bushes and trees. It's hard to imagine a more enticing setting for a relaxed game of golf. But—to quote a sage—“ay, there’s the rub.” This Perry Dye course, though equitable in almost all respects, will test your every club in your bag. From the blue (“Champion”) tees its rating is 72.2 against par 72, sloping at 137 over its 6,528 yards; the slope maxes out at 142 from the tips, rated at 74.6 (!) for 7,116 yards. Amazingly enough, the slope is still 116 when played at 4803 yards. My son and I played the course seven days straight, having chosen the ‘vacation membership package’ when staying at the Big Island for some 11 days total (some sightseeing was also necessary, aside from the golf).
Makani’s first test is one of straight driving. Landing zones are often generous, but straying far from them will often mean deep trouble. Errant approaches may be even more problematic: a slightly loose shot will often meet with one of several greenside troubles: a deep bunker; a testy slope or large knoll; a drop-off or upslope; a water hazard (eight greens have water hazards in their vicinities). And unless your greenside chip or pitch shot comes from somewhere relatively close to the putting surface, it will be a labored one.
But the course is far from 'all work and no play.' What makes it exciting and even thrilling is its extraordinary variety of holes, holes which continually demand careful planning and precision if your tee-to-green game is to succeed. A perfect example is the par-5 second, a nearly straightaway but long hole, demanding a drive best placed on the right side of a sloping, right-to-left fairway, which affords you an ideal angle for the second shot—if, that is, a gaping right side bunker is to be avoided. The third shot, likely a wedge, is hardly routine: it must find a narrow green that slopes away from the player. The green is guarded by a magnetic left-side bunker; its right side falloff is steep.
No simple classification contains the architect's Dye's style: it combines the strategic, heroic and penal; it is at once classic and modern; its hybrid nature favors simplicity in some places, then complexity in others; it varies the dramatic with the subdued and straightforward. Most shot values are quite balanced, and Dye does not resort to tricks and gimmicks to make them interesting (though I'm sure some will disagree on this point regarding the island-hole). From tee to green, it is the variety of hazards and their changing placement, from hole to hole, that keeps things lively: there is no repetition or dullness here. Dye adeptly uses bunkers of all sizes and shapes, mounds, knobs, hills and ridges, swales, hillsides near greens, bowl-shaped and undulating fairways, carefully-placed trees or impinging groups of them, and, especially, water hazards. And all of these constantly hold our attention. For sheer variety, this layout equaled anything I've ever played, and that alone was energizing.
As Makani contains not a single weak or predictable hole, our attempts to select its memorable ones may be a matter of personal preference. That said, 5 and 9 are, in my judgment, the singular holes on the front nine. The former is a ghoulish, long, downhill par-three whose green is threatened by a meandering stream on its left flank (it also wraps around the back) along with a prodigious bunker to the right. It left me playing a drawn five-wood tee shot and not always liking the results. It is a tall order to par this hole with regularity. Hole 9 is a classic, understated, and long par-four of 428 yards, culminating in an amphitheatre-like green with tall mounding around its left side and back, along with water lurking to the right. Two stout and true blows will be necessary to land on the putting surface here.
On the back nine, holes 13 and 15 were two standouts. A world-class par-3’s and, to my mind, the course's best hole, the 175-yard number 13, while not quite a juggernaut, is downhill, dramatic, and reminiscent of the famous Redan hole in North Berwick, Scotland. It is fortified by a massive, fortress-like downslope on its right side, at the base of which lies a deep bunker. Another sizeable trap looms behind the green. You can still run the ball on from the left, but the green seems endlessly long (it measures some 40 yards) and sweeps downhill. Needless to say, chipping, pitching and putting here can be nothing less than terrifying, but when you pull off a pitch- and-run from long range, do congratulate yourself heartily. Hole 15, a bowl-shaped par-4, features a tee perched atop a hill, from which bold golfers will risk a carry over a gaping, rock-faced water hazard to the narrow, hilltop green 258 yards distant. The slightly less adventurous will aim for the narrow strip of fairway on the right, preferring to run the ball onto the small and contoured green. The conventional route, which I invariably took, was to safely drive the ball out to the widest, leftward strip of fairway, enabling a pitch from the dell up onto the green. Even this posed difficulties.
The 18th is a fitting finale to this complex course, firstly because its driving zone presents the intimidating prospect of a lengthy and wide pond that must be traversed to reach the hazard-dotted and rolling landing zone. Equally daunting, the second shot re-crosses the same hazard in search of the hole's raised and well-shielded green. The pond itself has tall sidewalls constructed of massive, heavy-looking timbers that rise above the plane of the fairway, but not the green. Very Dye-ish, and your golf ball may be dying in watery grave when, after even the slightest cut or push, it crashes off one of these planks. The green itself is surrounded by a Murderer's Row (they're not really in a row, but this seems apt) of thuggish hazards: the mega-pond to the left; a frontal upslope with a large, raised, and high-lipped bunker; and, to the rear, various knobs and swales that make pitching a joy. A par made at eighteen, then, is a par ruggedly and fully earned.
These were the best holes on the golf course, in my opinion, but I could see, too, how a case could be made for great par-4’s here such 4, 7, 11, and 14; or for the other two par 5’s, both excellent; or the very testy par-3 that is eight, featuring a water-edged green to its right and a swale leftward, serving as a bail-out zone. Not to mention the signature seventeenth.
But, to mention—and ruminate a bit—on 17, it actually turned out to be a semi-routine hole, but only when the tee shot was solidly hit. (Can a great hole be somewhat routine? At times.) Because this is something of a replica of father Pete's s 17th at TPC Sawgrass, we must certainly get a sense of what the pros feel when they play that nerve-jangling approach shot onto the isle. Knowing that I was hitting a 7 or 8-iron, not an easy wedge, to a target I could not afford to miss, my sensations were definite nervousness but also great anticipation every time I played it. Watching the ball land on the island always brought a sigh of relief, but also a state of pure joyousness. Such a sense is augmented by the feeling that one is in a setting as beautiful as a Japanese garden. In the beauty-contest aspect, then, Makani is absolutely one-up on Sawgrass.
Makani's greens run at crowd-pleasing speeds of medium to medium-fast. Conditioning of fairways is above average, while tee boxes and greens (save for a few) are excellent. The rest of the layout, including the rough, is impressively manicured. The clubhouse is not a 'house,' as such, but rather a large, very sturdy, tent-like building that does not appear all that tent-like inside. It contains a very good pro-shop with indoor seating, along with an excellent outdoor patio adjacent to it. The best part of the Makani environment, however, is the friendly staff, whom my son and I came to know and like over our seven days here. The cart attendants and rangers—Jim, Robin, and Mike—were all outstanding; all pro shop attendants, especially Sandy, were polite, helpful, and professional. Terrific service!
One of my central reasons for choosing to play Makani stemmed from getting a sense (on the website) of its spectacular Big Island surroundings, including Mauna Kea as part of the backdrop. Stand on the fifteenth tee here and you can immerse yourself in the panoramic views of the intensely beautiful tropical island that is Hawaii. One curiosity among these striking views was seeing the goats on the side of hole 16 (they were in temporary pens) but it came as something of a neat surprise, and I was informed that their purpose is to serve—in places—as assistant lawn-mowers. I read recently that the great Irish course Lahinch takes things a step further: there, goats roam freely over the links.
Perry Dye perhaps summarizes his own course best: “If you played every golf course in the islands, or even the just every course on the Big Island, you would know there is no place like Big Island Country Club [Makani Golf Club]…Totally different, better golf weather, stunning ocean and mountain views. If you could live there, it would be golf paradise.” While there is no golf Shangri-la, this does come close.
Fun course hidden in the hills of the Big Island, great layout for all skill levels! Great mock-up of 17 at TPC Sawgrass is the 17th here as well. Exceptional experience all around and a special thanks to Erin in the Pro Shop who made sure to take care of us.
Great course on the Big Island tucked up in the hills. 17th is a fabulous mock-up of 17 at TPC Sawgrass, wonderful diverse layout that is fun for all level golfers. Special thanks to Erin in the Pro Shop for her accommodation. Excellent experience all around!
Worth the trip up from the beach
I’d love to give Makani five stars because it has so much going for it, but.... First the good points: some very challenging, well thought out and scenic holes, good overall conditions, greens, bunkers, fairways, all good, friendly staff, decent value, especially afternoon rates. Next the shortfalls: no clubhouse or dining area, meager pro shop, mats for the range, range is a bowl so it’s hard to judge distances, first tee is at least 500 yards from the proshop, some of the holes are tricky to find with poor signage and finally my biggest issue, the 17th & 18th holes. I’m not a fan of island greens and 17 is one of the tackiest right next to the drive into the place with waterfalls-just a showpiece. 18 features a 200-300 yard long water hazard bisected the hole which would be fine if it didn’t feel so obviously contrived. The architect laid out 16 nice holes that worked pretty well with the landscape and showed off some nice views all the way down to the coast and then threw in two “signature” holes that stood out like sore thumbs. Those last two holes probably cost more to build than the rest of the 16.