Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pali Golf Course

As I mentioned before, I brought my golf clubs back with me when I returned from vacation.  I figured if I am going to live in a place where I can play golf year 'round, I might as well take full advantage.  Hawaii is also one of the best places to play golf if you're a resident.  While tourists and guests pay anywhere from $40-$140 per round, I played golf at an amazing County-operated course (Pali Golf Course) for $8 on Friday afternoon. Located at the foot of the lush Koolau Mountains, the par-72 (par 74 for women) layout of the Pali Golf Course is outstanding.

To be fair, I played at 3:00, which meant that we paid the twilight rate and could play as many holes as we could fit in before dark.  I think a normal 18-hole round is around $20.  Those prices are also only for residents.  That's right, the completely (in my opinion) unconstitutional Kama'aina Discount works on most Hawaii golf courses here.  It drastically reduces the price of greens fees and makes it a phenomenal deal to play anytime you want.  If you are a non-resident, it costs $40 for a normal 18-hole round ($15 more for a cart) and around $21 for twilight (no carts, must walk).

It's hard to describe the golf course in great detail, but my avid readers will remember that Pali means "cliff."  They may also remember the famous Pali Lookout where Kamehameha through some people off the cliffs.  The Pali golf course is located right at the base of the mountains and is maybe a 25 minute drive from Waikiki.  Here's my review of the place:  if you're just visiting for a few days and you want to play golf, there are much nicer courses.  The Pali golf course is a municipal course operated by the State of Hawaii.  In other words, you get what you pay for.  The greens were in decent shape (no divets all over the place or even too many ball marks), but a little inconsistent, which made gauging them difficult (or, I am making excuses for my abysmal front 9).  The course itself is laid out beautifully.  It is mostly straight and narrow with trees lined along all the fairways.  The biggest problem was the fairways.  The grass in the middle of the fairway was long and not well kept.  It was like playing in the short rough most of the day.  Despite the course's flaws, it is still one of the most gorgeous scenic courses I've played.  There is not a lot to the course itself (i.e. no waterfalls or gazebos), but the mountains surround every hole and as you approach hole 8, you tee off facing the ocean.

Golfers may want to know the following statistics: 72 par | 6,524 yards | 126 slope | 70.4 rating | Bermuda grass.  There is no driving range, but there is a putting green.  They have a bar and restaurant at the club house and the automated tee time number for this course is (808) 296-2000.  The way to get there is to take H-1 West, take the Pali Highway, and follow that all the way toward Kailua.  When you reach the traffic light at the end of the highway, you'll see a sign for Kaneohe.  Follow that sign (take a left turn) and the course is on the left.  It's literally like 3-4 turns from Waikiki.

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