Mauna Lani Resort is located on the Kohala Coast on The Big Island and is approximately 23 miles north of the Kona International Airport. It features two wonderful resort courses.
The site was originally identified and acquired by local Francis H I'i Brown
The History of FRANCIS H I'I BROWN & Mauna Lani
Francis H I'i Brown was a territorial representative, extraordinary golfer, adventurer and sports fisherman-and he began acquiring the property in the early 1930s. Kalahuipua'a, as the area is known, had always been considered sacred land by the Hawaiian people. Kamehameha I, the great Hawaiian king who united the islands, was said to have had a small fishing village and canoe landing here. When he had completed his acquisition of the land in 1936, Brown took special care to ensure that Kalahuipua'a would remain a uniquely "Hawaiian" place forever.
During the years of his stewardship, he restored ponds, built roads and retaining walls and planted many of the of palms that still stand today. He sold the property to Mauna Lani Resort in 1972.
Francis Brown was a renowned and gifted athlete. He loved boating and fishing, but his skill as a golfer was legendary. He participated in Bing Crosby's Pebble Beach Clambake-and held the Hawaii golf course record at the Old Course at St. Andrews for many years with a 62 in a practice round prior to the 1924 British Amateur. At one point he concurrently was the amateur champion of Hawaii, Japan and California.
The Original Golf Course at Mauna Lani
The original 18 hole course was opened in 1981, designed by Homer Flint and Raymond Cain. It was a visually spectacular golf course that featured one par 3 hole crossing a wide Pacific inlet, another par 3 playing into a colosseum of lava, and many holes whose primary challenge was just to hit the verdant fairways and greens, avoiding the lava formations in the landing areas on both sides of the fairways. The golf course received rave reviews from the moment it opened.
However in 1991 architects Robin Nelson and Rod Wright expanded the 18 holes to 36, creating the North & South Courses
Mauna Lani Resort -North Course
The North Course does not have the luxury of the spectacular ocean holes that the South Course has. It plays longer and tighter than the South and is usually the preference of the better golfer. The course is built in a lava bed older than 16th century Kaniku flow on the south course, and is a classic Hawaiian lava based course. Because the terrain is older it has developed more vegetation and some fairways move through forests of palm and kiawe trees. In fact some of the kiawe trees are fairly centrally located in the middle of the fairways, adding a different type of hazard.
While the course also features a number of water hazards, it is the ever present black lava that dominates- no more so than the 'signature' hole- the magnificent par 3 seventeenth hole. It is a mid length par 3 set in it's own ampitheatre of lava- it is just a majestic setting for a golf hole , and absolutely unique in the world of golf.
Another notable hole is the dog leg par 5 fifteenth hole with a tee elevated in the jungle requiring a long straight tee shot to open up the shot to the green. And that approach is a demanding one with water and jungle growth all factors in your decision to go for the green or lay up. It's a good hole
The north does have one advantage on it's southern sister- because it is more inland- it has less exposure to the trade winds- which can be a nice thing!
The North Course at Mauna Lani is quality Hawaiian lava based golf, and for visitors to The Big Island it is a game of golf that should not be missed
The Travelling Golfer can tailor a golf trip to Hawaii to suit your group. For itinerary suggestions please see Great Golf Destinations: Hawaii- Golf on The Big Island
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