Ewa Beach Golf Club on Oahu: Locals enjoy plush conditions, fun layout
EWA BEACH, Hawaii -- To find Ewa Beach Golf Club, it requires a trip through a couple school zones and countless traffic lights. If you're staying in Honolulu on Waikiki Beach, it's not exactly around the corner. But for those looking for a solid daily-fee experience, this local favorite definitely earns a spot on the radar.
Designed by Robin Nelson, who seems to have crafted the majority of the
golf courses in Hawaii, Ewa Beach Golf Club, on Oahu's Ewa Plain, is a reasonably priced option for those looking to take a golf trip to Hawaii's most populated island. Opened in 1992, it was the first golf course in Hawaii covered tee to green in Seashore Paspalum, an environmentally friendly turfgrass that can be irrigated with effluent water.
The golf course sits just a few hundred yards from the Pacific Ocean, although the beach is not visible from any hole.
Instead, Ewa Beach has a real parkland feel to it. It's extremely lush, permeating an eye-popping green unique to island-friendly turfgrass. The only drawback might be the slow nature of the greens, but what they lack in speed, they make up for in consistency.
Water, sand and trees at Ewa Beach Golf Club
Nelson carved Ewa Beach out of a kiawe forest and dotted it with scores of bunkers and water hazards. Several greens are guarded by trees, including a couple of weeping willows around the third hole. The golf course shares at least two links characteristics: It's nine holes out and nine holes back, and the second and 16th holes share a double green.
That's it for the links feel, though.
Played from the tips of four sets of tees, this par 72 measures more than 6,700 yards and seems to play longer because of the lack of roll in the fairway. Players who decide to tackle it from the pro tees will face several forced carries over water and a few long holes.
For example, the par-5 17th measures just less than 600 yards, and a lake runs down entire right side of the second half of the hole. And the 202-yard, par-3 13th is almost all carry over a lake.
While there are some long holes, some good, short par 4s entice long hitters to go for the green. Be forewarned though, missing those greens short in the series of bunkers leads to some difficult, long bunker shots, turning birdie opportunities into bogey possibilities.
Ewa Beach Golf Club: The verdict
At Ewa Beach, you'll find that almost all the players are locals. They know about the excellent conditions, friendly staff and nice clubhouse facilities. And they know how to find the golf course, located on the end of Fort Weaver Drive about a 40-minute drive from Waikiki.
"There are a lot of locals who don't know where we are," said Ricky Maramoto, who works in the golf shop. "It's a real hidden gem."
In truth, the golf course was a pleasant surprise. Conditions rated a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. The only possible negative was the slow greens, but it's difficult to increase green speeds on paspalum, generally a thick-bladed grass.
The golf course also features outstanding practice facilities with a grass range and large short-game area, including a chipping green, putting green and practice bunker. Lessons are available from the professional staff.
Inside the clubhouse, you'll find a large, well-stocked golf shop and a comfortable grill. A halfway house by the 10th tee serves excellent hot dogs and spam musubi, an island favorite and good golf course snack. Overall, it's a great package and worth the drive.
October 14, 2010