Playing golf in Hawaii is a pretty great experience. There are not too many course I have played where you have a volcano in the background while overlooking the ocean. Yes, I know there are gorgeous courses around the world, but I imagine that they are pretty exclusive. The courses in Hawaii are great because they are, largely, accessible to the public.
That being said, I was not a tremendous fan of the Hawaii Kai golf course. Located at 8902 Kalanianaole Highway Honolulu, HI 96825-2821 - map here), it is basically across the street from Sandy's Beach Park and the Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail. From the outside it looks like the perfect place to play. Koko Head Crater and the pacific ocean are both visible from almost every hole of the Championship Course (there is also a par 3 executive course). Driving in, though, the parking lot looks like it hasn't been paved in about 30 years. Some of the fairways and greens look well cared for, but others look like they haven't watered anything in months. There are lots of patches of dead and brown grass. The greens were probably the most disappointing part of the entire course. The greens were in pretty terrible shape. They had a lot of unrepaired ball marks and there were patches completely missing in certain areas. One of the tee boxes wasn't even grass. They had the carpet that you'd see on a driving range.
Those were the negatives. On the positive side, the course is beautifully laid out, especially the surrounding scenery. It was also not tremendously difficult. It was nothing like Luana Hills, for example. I didn't lose a single golf ball all day (a real feat for me). Also, at $48/person (Kama'aina rate, including cart), it was a pretty decent deal. There were a few times we looked around to just enjoy the surrounding views of the ocean and/or mountains.
Getting there is pretty easy, too. Take H1 East which leads to Kalanianaole Highway (Route 72). Continue on, passing Hanauma Bay, Halona Blowhole and Sandy Beach on your right. About a mile past Sandy Beach you will see a two-story building, the Hawaii Kai Club House on your left. A sign indicates the entrance to the golf course.