Get blown away on 27 holes at Hawaii Prince Golf Club on Oahu
EWA BEACH, Hawaii -- Enjoying the 27-hole Hawaii Prince Golf Club is as simple as A-B-C.
Each of the three nines -- named A, B and C -- are wonderfully playable and well conditioned. The sun shines on this leeward side of the island almost constantly, serving up perfect tropical weather for those mainlanders who come to escape their snow-bound homes. Its location -- about 40 minutes from the Hawaii Price Hotel Waikiki -- is good for those wanting to escape the busy, bustling Waikiki, too. It's one of the rare courses that's popular with locals and tourists, mainly because it's affordable and fun to play.
"Compared to all the other courses on the island, this is one of the best manicured," said Justin Neal, who lives nearby. "It is a course easy enough to enjoy with shorter par 4s. You still have to think out there. I love that it's 27 holes. It is like playing a different course each time out. (Rotating the nines) keeps it fresh."
Hawaii Prince Golf Club: The course
Arnold Palmer and long-time associate architect Ed Seay designed the club in 1992 as an amenity of the Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki. A complimentary shuttle transports guests the 40-minute ride between the club and the hotel.
Hawaii Prince's "A" loop is the easiest, where palm trees line wide landing areas. The two par 5s are noteworthy on the front nine. Both feature water ready to strike on the approach shot, to the right of the second green and the left of the ninth green.
The fairway corridors significantly shrink on the "B" nine, choked by a thick layer of more traditional trees. Two demanding par 4s highlight this stretch. Water pinches the left side of the fifth green. The ninth hole plays directly into the wind. Even a great drive will leave a long iron or hybrid over water to the green.
Ponds add drama to seven holes on the "C," the last nine at Hawaii Prince. In total, 10 water hazards dot the landscape, but even average players can play around them to avoid calamity.
Ted McAneeley, the corporate director of golf for Prince Resorts Hawaii, said most players prefer Hawaii Prince's B-C combination. "Any skill level can play here because of the design," he added. "It is resort friendly."
When tradewinds kick up, though, look out. These steady ocean breezes make selecting clubs difficult and certain holes play long and demanding.
"It is windy out here," Neal said. "It's predictable (direction-wise), as long as you learn to deal with it."
Hawaii Prince Golf Club: The verdict
Golfers on holiday will love Hawaii Prince Golf Club. Between the wind and the water, there's enough challenge to keep better players interested.
Higher handicaps can still spray it and not lose a ball. If golfers can get a groove on a calm day, a low score -- and possibly even a career round -- might make their Oahu golf trip even more memorable.
September 4, 2013