Monday, January 31, 2011

Luana Hills Golf Course

I had another "Hawai'i Moment" (times when I look around and realize that I live in a pretty awesome place) during my most recent Furlough Friday when I spent the morning playing golf at Luana Hills near Kailua.  Ever since I brought my golf clubs back with me after Christmas, a co-worker and I have been playing golf every weekend.  Normally we just play for $10 at the Pali Golf Course.  However, last Friday we decided to try Luana Hills.  Nestled between Mount Olomana and the towering Ko'olau Mountains, Luana Hills is one of the most unique and breathtaking golf courses I've ever seen. Carved from tropical rainforest in the heart of lush Maunawili Valley, the course is not only gorgeous, but strikingly difficult.  It might be the hardest course I've ever played, which doesn't say a whole lot, but still.

Signature Hole (#11)
The course itself was designed by golf architect Pete Dye and is a high risk/high rewards course.  Stretching across 6,595 yards from the back tees (5522 from the White), golfers have to consider a lot before they tee up in front of an array of forced carries, bunkers bordered by railroad ties, par-3s over streams and ravines, undulating bent grass, and fairways that slope off into bunkers and ravines. The course's signature hole is set deep in the rainforest along Maunawili Stream where you have to shoot over two fountains and a pond to get to the green.

Set in historic Maunawili Valley, this area was once the meeting place of great Hawaiian warriors and the island's queen.  Now it is home to a variety of wildlife. Native Hawaiian birds like the rare Aku`u nest in the palms and koa trees, and wild boar visit the streams. The hidden valley course is a site for feature films and a frequent stop of celebrities visiting Hawai'i, including both Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Luana Hills is the perfect place for those looking for a quiet escape (but be prepared to lose your golf balls - I literally lost was a long day).

Some Details:
Course Type: 18 holes, par 72
Yardage: 6595/6164/5522/4654
Slope: 136/131/126/139/117/129
Rating: 70.9/68.8/66.2/70.9/61.7/67.4
Price: Kama'aina - $39 weekday/$49 weekend
          Guest/Non-resident - $125 + tax
Golf Carts: yes
Pull Carts: no
Walking Allowed: no
Greens: Bent
Fairways: Bent
Dress Code: proper golf attire
GPS Tracking: no
Lessons: yes
Club House: yes
Pro Shop: yes
Restaurant: yes
Bar: yes
Showers: no
Lockers: yes
Rider Fee: $20
Practice Green: yes
Driving Range: yes
Club Rental: Callaway $50

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