Hualalai Golf Club - Jack Nicklaus golf course - hole 17
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Hualalai Golf Club - Jack Nicklaus golf course - hole 17
The Nicklaus Course at Hualalai Golf Club hosts the Champions Tour. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
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Hualalai Golf Club - Jack Nicklaus golf course - hole 2
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Hualalai Golf Club - Jack Nicklaus golf course - hole 2
Black lava rock surrounds the second green of the Nicklaus Course at Hualalai Golf Club. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Hualalai Golf Club - Jack Nicklaus golf course - hole 3
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Hualalai Golf Club - Jack Nicklaus golf course - hole 3
The third hole of the Nicklaus Course at Hualalai Golf Club features a narrow green that slants away from players. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Hualalai Golf Club - Jack Nicklaus golf course - hole 5
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Hualalai Golf Club - Jack Nicklaus golf course - hole 5
A pond sinks misses on the tough fifth hole of the Nicklaus Course at Hualalai Golf Club. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Hualalai Golf Club - Jack Nicklaus golf course - hole 8
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Hualalai Golf Club - Jack Nicklaus golf course - hole 8
Winds can make selecting clubs tough on the eighth hole of the Nicklaus Course at Hualalai Golf Club. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Hualalai Golf Club - Jack Nicklaus golf course - hole 13
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Hualalai Golf Club - Jack Nicklaus golf course - hole 13
The 13th hole sweeps right on the Nicklaus Course at Hualalai Golf Club. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Hualalai Golf Club - Jack Nicklaus golf course - hole 12
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Hualalai Golf Club - Jack Nicklaus golf course - hole 12
A bunker hides in the middle of a 12th green of the Nicklaus Course at Hualalai Golf Club. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Hualalai Golf Club - Jack Nicklaus golf course - hole 16
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Hualalai Golf Club - Jack Nicklaus golf course - hole 16
The ocean serves as the backdrop to the 16th green of the Nicklaus Course at Hualalai Golf Club. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Hualalai Golf Club - Jack Nicklaus golf course - hole 18
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Hualalai Golf Club - Jack Nicklaus golf course - hole 18
The 18th hole of the Nicklaus Course at Hualalai Golf Club flies over a marsh before turning left toward the green. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor

Hualalai Golf Club's Nicklaus Course serves up five-star service and scenery for Four Seasons Resort guests on the Big Island of Hawaii

KAILUA-KONA, Big Island, Hawaii -- Every January, the Champions Tour honors its recent winners and major champions with an invitation to start their season on the Nicklaus Course at Hualalai Golf Club.

Unlike the spoiled brats of the PGA Tour who skip out on Maui, the old guys cherish coming to the Big Island for guaranteed great weather, a fun and fair course and the amenities of the adjacent Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.

Bernhard Langer won the most recent Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai in 2014. Golfers who want to follow in his footsteps must either stay at the resort or become members to gain access (the private Weiskopf Course serves members as well).

Wide fairways cut through black lava rock and mostly subtle greens keep Hualalai playable for those of us who bring rusty winter swings from the mainland. The whole round comes to a crescendo at the final three holes on the ocean.

The fairway of the 440-yard 16th hole doglegs to the right, often into the breeze. The 164-yard 17th hole can be intimidating, especially when the wind off the water calls for the bold play to aim over the lava rocks on the left, so the ball comes back to the green. No. 18 plays like an epic Cape hole with a tee shot that tempts players to carry a pond to bite off a corner of the dogleg left.

Even golfers who limp home don't feel too bad. A vacation at the Four Seasons isn't exactly roughing it.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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Hualalai Golf Club's Nicklaus Course serves up five-star service and scenery for Four Seasons Resort guests on the Big Island of Hawaii
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