Located just 30 minutes from Waikiki beach, Royal Hawaiian Golf Club was designed by Pete & Perry Dye, and opened for play in 1993.
Greg Norman has subsequently remodelled the course
The setting is gorgeous, tucked into a rugged mountain site in the north east of Oahu overlooked by the imposing Ko'olau Mountain Range.
Royal Hawaiian demands your attention from the start as the golf course is routed through tropical jungle with significant elevation change.
The holes twist and turn through Jurassic Park like terrain- you just never know what is around the next corner!
No two holes are alike, and the two nines are also quite distinctly different.
The front nine is set in thick tropical rainforest, and involves some blind shots.
It can be a little claustrophic at times- however each hole is quite spectacular in its own way with chasms to carry, and water in play.
It really is quite exciting…
The back nine is clearly related in form and shape but opens up a little.
Everything is a little more visible, and it seems the fairways are more forgiving
It is still a magic nine holes and a lovely complement to the front nine
Before we get too carried away we should note however that there are a few possible demerit points for RH.
- Weather- due to its location, RH it is subject to wet and windy weather, and heavy cloud cover
- Conditioning- due to the weather- the course does get lots of rain and cloud, and at times fairways can play damp.
- RH is a testing layout. You will need to play it off an appropriate tee because a number of holes require longish carries AND accuracy OR a ball will be lost in the jungle. You do need to take lots of balls!
- It is a cart course with long distances between some greens and tees
- It can be a very testing course, so it may not suit some golfers
All this aside I loved the course and would return over and over
Notable holes include:
- the boarded Dye signature par 3 second hole
- the dramatic par 4 fourth hole with huge carry off the tee
- the wonderful winding par 5 fifth hole with water carry to a green tucked around a corner
- the delightful turning dipping short par 4 sixth
- the dramatic downhill par 4 ninth- see pic top of page
- the stonewall Dye signature hole par 3 twelfth hole
Royal Hawaiian should be included on every golfing tour to Oahu. Do Not miss it!
The Travelling Golfer can tailor a golf trip to Hawaii to suit your group. For itinerary suggestions see Destinations: Hawaii
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