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September 01, 2015



The South Course, renowned as the annual site of the Senior Skins Game from 1999 – 2000, snakes through the stark, rugged a’a lava of the prehistoric Kaniku lava flow. Volcano goddess Pele reigns supreme on this course. If she favors you, balls hit into the lava will miraculously bounce back into the fairway. If not, kiss them goodbye. Besides great golf, the challenging course offers the player a panorama of mountain and ocean views. The South Course is home to No. 15 South, one of the most photographed over-the-water golf holes in the world.

Hole 1 A good beginning hole, the wide, flat fairway of this par five dogleg right eases you on to the course. The King's Trail, a curbstone trail built in the late 1800s for horse and cattle movement, lies along the left of the fairway to the dogleg. Two fairway traps lie there, but you have a lot of room. Lava along the right presents most of the trouble from the tees.

Hole 2 Grass mounds line both sides of the fairway on this short par four, slight dogleg right. Use good course management to hit a tee shot favoring the left side to open up the green. Shots to the right could take you into a large grass swale, obscuring the hole.

Hole 3 A Long par three with raised rock wall tees plays into Kona Winds. A brisk trade wind will help. A lava outcropping in the center of the fairway makes the tee shot interesting, but lies well away from the green. Traps flank the left and right of a large clover-shaped, twotiered green. The back to front sloping green allows an array of challenging pin placements.

Hole 4 The "Mother of Long Holes," a par five slight dogleg right, is the longest hole on the course. The fairway narrows and funnels to the long, narrow green, which is heavily guarded by water on the left, and sand and lava on the right. It slopes back to front and has mounds at the rear. Pray for trade winds on this hole. It's a test of endurance as well as skill.

Hole 5 The blue tee on this unpretentious par four hits across a short lava gully. Not a difficult carry, but it looks good to those intimidated by lava. The wide relatively flat fairway has sand on the left along with sand and lava on the right. The medium-sized oval green is guarded by sand traps to the left and rear and deep grass bunkers on the right. The slope of this green makes getting out and close to the pin a big challenge from all surrounding traps - sand or grass. Restrooms located here.

Hole 6 This is not the hole on which to miss your tee shot. Landing short of the plateaued fairway leaves you hitting up to a table. There is no sand on this hole, but wicked grass bunkers guard the bottleneck entrance to the long narrow green.

Hole 7 On-shore wind comes into play on this charming downhill par three. Blue tee shots must carry over 200 yards of shoreline lava cliff. Any shot to the left of the large two-tiered green will land in sand, lava or the deep blue sea. Go with gut instinct when putting long; calculating grain and roll could drive you mad. Ripples on the green mirror the ocean waves. Windswept Kiawe backdrop this intimate, breathtaking hole.

Hole 8 On this par four slight dogleg left, the gently rolling fairway sports grass ridges and swales on the right, sand and lava on the left. Some claim there's a ball magnet installed in the base of a large lava rock in front of the sand trap to the right of the green. This is a good green to chip to, but if you overshoot the hole, you face a severe downhill putt.

Hole 9 A split fairway offers some interesting choices on this hole. From the upper tee box you're faced with two routes: A) Take the safer but longer route down the upper fairway, or – B) Cut diagonally across a long lava spit to the lower fairway where a long sand trap awaits you. From the lower tee boxes, your tee shot must negotiate a narrow lava-lined chute with that same long sand trap on the right - errant golfers, beware! Once in the approach zone, the orientation of the long, narrow, fairly flat green offers a range of approach shots. Sand guards the green on the left, back, and right rear.

Hole 10 This long par five gentle dogleg left fairway is littered with sand, lava and grass gullies on both sides. Two sentinels guard the approach zone where the fairway narrows: A large lava mound surrounded by sand on the left, and a sleeping lava dragon on the right. The right of the small undulating green is guarded by a sand trap which spills into a lava outcrop. Large grass bunkers at the rear.

Hole 11 A par four sharp dogleg left. Tee shots should watch for sand traps both left and right. The fairway is fairly wide and flat. Big hitters with confidence can try cutting the corner over lava. A three-acre lake lies behind the large flat green. Sand traps left rear and right. Pin placement at the back right of the green makes for a challenging approach shot over the sand.

Hole 12 A long, challenging par three, often into wind. Blue and white tee shots must carry water to the well-guarded large flat green. Use old balls for this tee shot! Gold tee gets a break on this hole by avoiding the water carry. Hole Par Black Blue White Gold 13 4 380 336 300 249 Tee shot on this par four dogleg right plays straight to the ocean. Sand traps on the left make a good target for medium hitters - reachable by long-hitters. Traps on the right come into play. Lava on the right is out of bounds. Take two strokes and hit again. Three traps on the right nail a lot of slice-happy golfers on the approach to the large front to back sloping green. Use extreme caution if you should find pin placement at the back left of the green. Even a near miss can send your ball over the cliff and into the water.

Hole 14 The tee shot on this par four is crucial. Try to drop your shot in front of the huge lava hill. The lava on the left is OB, and there is sand on the right. At the turn of this slight dogleg left, the fairway rolls down to a wide, shallow green. Try not to overshoot this green; lava across the entire rear could swallow your ball. There is sand on the left. A low but significant mound guards the front. The entire hole requires well-placed shots; main trouble is lava, lava everywhere.

Hole 15  This is the ocean hole even non-golfers recognize as Mauna Lani's signature hole. The famed par three is enough to challenge the steadiest nerves. Blue and white tee shots must carry crashing surf, but don't be intimidated. The large two-tiered green is heavily guarded by sand all the way around. Cross-winds come into play. During the winter, whale activity in deep waters to the left slows play as golfers stop to admire the graceful, cavorting aquatic giants.

Hole 16  What this relatively short par four lacks in distance, it makes up for in difficulty. Play your tee shot to the left side of the fairway. The slight dogleg right leads to a narrow undulating green with very strategically located bunkers and a huge lava hill behind.

Hole 17 The very wide, gently rolling fairway slopes right to left on this fairly long par four straightaway. Consequently, your ball usually lies left of where you think it landed. Traps at the front, right and back guard the flat green. A small patch of lava on the left of the green often comes into play.

Hole 18 Kona Winds can make this a birdie hole. Trade winds could turn it into a marathon par five. The wide fairway has traps on the left and right. Sand traps on the right and left front of the large, flat green snag a lot of balls. There are also traps at the back left. Pin placement at the far left or far right require a deft and delicate approach shot. Total 36 3440 3160 2875 2507 72 6938 6436 5940 5028

The North Course, although a resort course, is excellent for tournament play. Built on a lava bed much older than the Kaniku flow (on which the South Course lies), it is characterized by rolling terrain punctuated by Kiawe (mesquite) forests. Trees often come into play on this course. No. 17 North, a par three tucked into a natural lava amphitheater, is the resort’s second signature hole and a favorite “I was here” photo spot. A 230-acre protected archaeological district lies on the northern boundary of the course. Herds of feral goats frequent the entire course, moving from hole to hole throughout the day.

Hole 1 The slight downhill tee shot on this long par four dogleg right - a challenging beginning hole - will get your golf energy flowing. Long hitters can cut the corner, but with risk from lava and Kiawe. Tee shot must avoid a well-placed tree at the dogleg in the middle of the fairway. Sand traps to the left at the dogleg are a good target for gold tee golfers. At the dogleg, the fairway inclines gently uphill to a wide opening to the long, flat green. Wind direction is a factor on this hole - Kona winds favor, trades lengthen the distance.

Hole 2 This par five straightaway plays directly to the ocean. A wide fairway is lined with Kiawe trees and lava on the right most of the way down. Lava on the left at 250 yards out is out of bounds. There are two little pot bunkers on the right in the approach zone. Sand on the left of a big sloping (back to front) green. Wind conditions dictate how this hole is played – which changes without notice. If you reach this hole in two, please notify the golf shop!

Hole 3 The blue tee shot on this par four dogleg left is made through a tree-lined chute. Wellplaced fairway trees will provoke complacent golfers. White tee shot must either carry over or avoid the tall Kiawe tree right in line with the green. If you choose to go right to avoid the tree, two fairway traps and yet another tree await you. Gold tees are treated to a nice open shot on this hole. Sand traps on the right and left of a big circular green.

Hole 4 A wide straightaway par four from elevated tees. The back tee shot has to be heroic when trade winds are strong; must carry a gully designated as an archaeological preserve. Grass bunkers on the left of the fairway. Approach shot to the elevated green is made interesting by two large amorphous traps in front.

Hole 5 Tee shot on this pretty little par three must carry over water along the entire front of the green. Plays straight into the trade winds. The large green looks farther than it actually is. Two traps guard the back of the green and one protects the front left. A small waterfall backdrops the hole and feeds a streambed running along the right side of the green.

Hole 6 A relatively straight, flat medium-length par four. A large sand trap on the left stretches well into the fairway. The water on the right is a psychological tweak. The green is guarded by water, and sand and grass bunkers. Restrooms located here.

Hole 7 A fairly long par five with rolling fairway - mounds on both sides. Big hitters can reach the green in two if the wind is favorable. Careful consideration is required when setting up the approach shot - three well-placed traps on the right, and a trap and lava on the left. Once the approach shot is set up, the golfer has only one sand trap on the left of the fairly large green to contend with.

Hole 8 Elevated tees hit downhill to a small, elevated green. Traps guard the left and back of the green. Blue tee shot must carry a lava and baffle grass gully. Anything short of the green requires a chip up to the plateau-like green.

Hole 9 A long par four straightaway with a wide fairway. Green guarded by a tidal pond and sand on the right and on the left. Admire the scenery as you go down the fairway: Blue ocean and storm-tossed salt and pepper rock beach contrasts with dark lava - highlighted with lush beach heliotrope trees. If a Kona Wind is blowing, the orientation of the narrow green is very interesting!

Hole 10 Tee island in a two-acre tidal pond - Mauna Kea dominates the view from the tees. Fairly flat wide fairway bordered by dense Kiawe forest on left and small, scattered sand traps make getting to the approach zone easy. At the approach zone, a tight undulating green and heavy frontline guard of sand and grass bunkers compensate for the easy fairway. You might even consider overshooting the green and coming in the back door!

Hole 11 Four elevated tees offer spectacular mountain views. Crosswinds liven up the straightaway fairway. Most of the trouble is on the right side down the fairway. Only one sand trap guards the left front of the long, narrow green.

Hole 12 Elevated tees overlook a natural lava bank running along the entire left side of this long par four. The fairway, with sand traps on the left and grass mounds on the right, ripples up to an elevated green at the approach zone. There is a small sand trap to the right of the twotiered green.

Hole 13 On the left side, a lava bluff nudges the fairway. Jack Nicklaus landed here during the first Senior Skins Game at Mauna Lani, so don't feel bad if you hook it in there. At 150 yards out, a forked tree stands in the right center of the fairway looking like Goliath to shots from behind. Sand traps left, right and back guard the long green which slopes toward the lava bluff in which it nestles. A tree punctuates the sand on the left and comes into play when approaching from the left. Restrooms located here.

Hole 14 A short par three with tees on a bluff overlooking the well protected green about 30' lower. Water is significant! Most tee shots must carry that water. Sand guards the left and back, water guards the front and right. Pin placement is also a factor - if in the right half of the green, there is waterfront and back.

Hole 15 Big hitters may cut the corner on the tee shot and hit over the trio of trees at the dogleg. From the white tees that's a carry of about 230 yards. Cautious players should drop a tee shot into the bowl-shaped landing area. After the dogleg, the fairway slopes left to right and all fairway lies are downhill for right-handers. Setting up your approach on the left magically opens up the long narrow green, guarded by sand all around. Well-placed traps on the left of the approach zone call for caution. Approaching from the right, water and a big, steep sand trap loom before you. Pin placement on the right is all the more reason to approach from the left. Definitely a gambler's hole!

Hole 16 This long par four dogleg left follows the leading edge of the massive Kaniku lava flow. The wide fairway is relatively flat and becomes slightly downhill at the turn. Fairway traps lie left and right. A three-pronged tree smack in front of the gold tees may cause palpitations during the tee shot. It also comes into play on the white tee shot. Sand traps at the left and right and lava at the back guard the light bulb-shaped green. The green lies against dark rocky backdrop, helping player's depth perception. Because of the sand, tough pin placement would be at the back right of the green. You do, however, have a little leeway if you overshoot that target.

Hole 17 This short par three amphitheater will appeal to the artist in everyone. At the bottom of a deep lava bowl, the signature hole is charming. The hole is fairly sheltered from the wind. An intimidating pin placement would be to the left of the green behind the huge lava rock surrounded by sand at the front of the green. Sand at the back of the green is only a mental factor. Get out your camera.

Hole 18 This long par four dogleg left sports fairway sand traps on the left and right of a wide fairway. The elevated tees offer a panoramic view toward the ocean. On the right of the fairway, a lava gargoyle sits under a tree contemplating balls sacrificed over the edge. The large long well-guarded (sand at the left, right and rear) green rests in front of King's Trail.

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