By Mark Rolfing
For five decades now, Hawaii Island has been a pioneer for spectacular seaside golf built on a lava flow. It all began back in the early 1960’s, when Robert Trent Jones carved the first ever golf course out of a lava flow at Mauna Kea. Nearly 30 years later, Arnold Palmer added the dramatic Hapuna Golf Course as a beautiful, but totally different sister to Mauna Kea. It was in the 1970’s that legendary amateur, Francis II Brown founded the famed Mauna Lani Resort, which today, features two magnificent layouts with some of the most jaw-dropping, eceanfront golf to be found anywhere in Hawaii. And in the 1980’s, architects Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Tom Weiskopf / Jay Moorish combined to create two magnificent and stunning course at the sprawling Waikoloa Beach Resort.
But Hawaii Island’s phenomenal golf development run did not end there. The decade of the 90’s saw an incredible resort come to life further to the south along the coastline, when the Jack Nicklaus design at Hualalai debuted to rave reviews, and immediately became the home of the season opening event on the a Champions Tour. And finally, after the turn of the century, the son of the man who started it all, Rees Jones, completed what is arguably one of the finest stretches of coastline golf in the world, when he crafted a gem at at fabulous Kohanaiki.
And this is only a part of the series of golf adventures, you can experience on Hawaii Island. The wide array of courses comes in all shapes and sizes and can be found on all parts of the island.