Ko'olau Golf Club

4 stars out of 5
(based on 21 reviews)
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45-550 Kionaole Rd
Kaneohe, Oahu, Hawaii 96744
Honolulu County
Phone(s): (808) 236-4653

Tropical splendor stars at Ko'olau Golf Club in eastern Oahu. The Dick Nugent-designed course encompasses three distinct climate zones and is carved out of a tropical rain forest. The course, located on the side of a mountain range, features winding ravines, elevation changes and picturesque views of waterfalls.

Ko'olau GC

Beauty meets tropical splendor at Ko'olau Golf Club in eastern Oahu.

Ko'olau Golf Club encompasses three distinct climate zones and is carved out of a tropical rain forest on the side of a 2,000-foot mountain range. The golf course features winding ravines, memorable elevation changes and exceptional views of waterfalls.

The targets for the holes are ravines, and the rugged landscape also features lush vegetation and gigantic sand bunkers. With a slope rating of 152, the Dick Nugent-designed course is considered the toughest in the nation, and it was named in 1997 by Golf Digest as one of the top two golf courses in Hawaii.

Before you hit the golf course, hone your swing at the five-acre practice facility. Amenities include a natural grass driving range, an elevated chipping green and a two-tier putting green. Golfers can also enjoy an elegant clubhouse that features a full-service pro shop and a golf school. End the day at Honey's, restaurant that's been drawing crowds for years. The eatery was also the career birthplace of Don Ho.

4 stars out of 5
(based on 21 reviews)
See all reviews | Submit your rating

Golf course details

  • Holes: 18
  • Designed by: Brad Bartell, Dick Nugent
  • Public/Private: Public
  • Year opened: 1992
  • Golf Season: Year round
  • Guest Policy: Open
  • Tee times welcomed: Yes
  • Fairways: Bermuda Grass
  • Greens: Seashore Paspalum Grass


  • Pro in house: Yes
  • Driving range: Yes
  • Rental clubs: Yes
  • Rental carts: Yes - included in green fees

Green fees price ranges

Course policies

  • Metal spikes allowed: No
  • Dress code:
  • Credit cards accepted: VISA, MasterCard, Amex, Discover, JCB Welcomed

Length, slope and rating for each tee

Tee Par Yardage Slope Rating
White (W) 72 5735 144 75.2
Gold 72 6797 150 75.4
Blue 72 6406 141 73.7
White 72 5735 131 70.5
Black 72 7310 153 78.2
Red 72 5102 129 72.3

Reader Ratings / Reviews

  • 5 stars out of 5
    by chris smoot
    on April 24th, 2018 14:28
    I learned how to play golf at Ko'olau in the early 2000s. I finally parred 18 once. It was great. The finest course around, unequalled only by Luana Hills.
  • 3.5 stars out of 5
    by S Griffith
    on February 10th, 2017 09:34
    Played Ko'olau twice in the last ten years. One of the best inland course layouts in all the island. Demanding carries on many tee balls and approach shots. I am a 3 handicap and found the layout fun to play. Area gets lots of rain and effects Course Condition which is subpar to many Resort courses in Hawaii. For the money a good deal. If you are not a decent golfer brings some extra balls.
  • 3 stars out of 5
    by Rob
    on January 13th, 2017 20:54
    Course has one of the best views and layout. Its a shame that constant rain in the area ruins the condition. Front 9 is playable but the back 9 is horrendous. Even tee shots landing in the fairways are difficult to find and anything in the longer rough, might as well forget it. Imagine playing in a swamp land with small patch of fairway that is actually playable. You need rain boots to play here since you'll be ankle deep in mud. With the current conditions, they really should only charge 9 hole rates.
  • 2 stars out of 5
    by Drumm
    on December 02nd, 2016 08:48
    I've played the course three times - twice in 2006 and once in June 2016, 10 years later. My handicap is a 5. The layout is as challenging as any course I've played, very scenic and makes you think your way around the golf course. Target golf at its finest.

    Unfortunately, over the years the conditioning has gone downhill - the new owners aren't putting the necessary money into the course to maintain it, and when I played it I lost balls in the fairways because they hadn't been cut in a month. Out of fairness to them, it had been raining, but in talking with locals who play there they told me that the course wasn't in nearly as good a shape as it had been previously.

    Still a GREAT golf course, but now you are taking your chance with conditioning.
  • 3 stars out of 5
    by scott a
    on March 19th, 2016 15:14
    I'm between a 5 to 9 handicap depending upon my play volume and golf conditioning, and believe the Koolau golf experience depends upon your expectations that day and course conditions. I've played it a dozen times and scored from 70's to 90's with the same handicap. Course condition is a huge factor, which was raw on some back nine fairways and various greens in Fall 2015.The staff is great.Often local music on Friday or Sat night in restaurant. The specific location is both the blessing and difficulty. It's spectacular topography, magnificent views, multi-tiered greens, fairways tight but good shot placing rewarded. The views and topography are worth the trip independent of the golf. Saw two wild boars last time! It's a high elevation rain forest course and unique in Hawaii for a great cost.
  • 1 stars out of 5
    by RB
    on January 16th, 2016 13:06
    Course was in poor shape. Not much grass in the fairways. The greens had a lot of weeds in them. Great layout, but such poor shape I could only give 1 star
  • 4.5 stars out of 5
    by Charles
    on January 03rd, 2013 03:02
    I've heard about the difficulty of this course, but found it to be challenging but playable. We received free transportation from Waikiki through HiGolfGuide, and our driver gave us some good tips. The views on this course are unbelievable, and unlike anything we've ever seen before. The greens were on the slow side but very smooth. Course is very lush and green. It had rained the day before so the course was kind of muddy. If you only had one round of golf to play on Oahu, I would recommend playing here. It will definitely be an experience you will never forget!
  • 4 stars out of 5
    by w. hasseler
    on July 22nd, 2011 16:58
    If you love golf. you gotta go! The local 'rule' is; you will lose as many golf balls as your hdcp. I'm an 11 and lost three,so I hit it straight. There is a 170 - 180yd. carry from guest tees to MANY fairways,cart paths take you on jungle tours as you travel to your tee shots. High tropical covered cliffs are along West side of course. There are features one would seldom find on a golf course. More than worth the fees!
  • 5 stars out of 5
    by Jim Nuovo
    on December 28th, 2010 07:48
    What a special place. Teed of with a 2 iron most of the day playing from the blue's. I played it on a Tuesday and had to go back on Thursday for a second flogging. My son tried to get me to hit it over the tree's on 18.(no way) Shot 86 then 82 and felt like a super star. I would recommend this course to any one that enjoys a good old fashion butt whipping.
  • 5 stars out of 5
    by Jeremy Ehardt
    on November 22nd, 2010 12:35
    My friend lives in Kane'ohe and I frequent the course anytime I am there. I am a scratch golfer and this course is a ton of fun. As my frined told me the first time I played there, bring some extra balls. YOu will likely lose a few the first time you play
  • 2.5 stars out of 5
    by George Amey
    on October 09th, 2010 15:43
    Do you realize 14 of the 18 holes have forced carries of at least 100 yds.. The 18th hole is diabolical; even laying up a second shot leaves you with another really tough shot or again play to safety in front of green. With all this it is still a great course. Enjoy!
  • 5 stars out of 5
    by ezgolfer
    on October 08th, 2010 11:57
    Not knowing what to expect, and playing to a 9 handicap, I shot 96 my first time and lost 6 balls. Second time, 86 and lost 1 ball. Third time 81 from the blue tees, none lost. It's a magnificent golf course that must be experienced regardless of your abilities.

    The sooner you learn not to challenge this course the fewer balls you'll lose. The real challenge here is controlling your game, and when you can do that, the course is easy and absolutely beautiful.

    Beware! The slope from the whites is 138, blues 145. But don't miss it.
  • 5 stars out of 5
    by Len
    on September 25th, 2010 14:08
    The course is like the most beautiful woman in the world, but today she was in a bad mood.

    Great course and I see why it is one of the hardest and most beauiful course in the country.
  • 5 stars out of 5
    by Jamie
    on August 13th, 2010 13:22
    Nasty. Diabolical. Evil. Perfection.

    Set amid a majestic rainforest, Koolau is golfing heaven disguised as golfing hell. Every hole is a potential card wrecker, every shot a knee trembling experience. It features shots even good golfers squirm at. Highlights are 7, 8, 11, 16 & 17. Play this place to enjoy it and try not to pay too much attention to your card, it will be a harrowing experience if you do
  • 5 stars out of 5
    by Lewis Greer
    on June 11th, 2010 14:09
    If you love beautiful and challenging golf courses, you have to play Ko'olau.

    I'd read for years about just how tough it was and frankly was a little intimidated, but decided I had to see for myself. I am glad I did.

    On the first hole I pulled one left into a hazard, dropped a ball with a penalty stroke, and played the rest of the day with that ball. A moral victory!

    The course was not crowded at all (weekday), so I also took several pictures on the first and second holes. I could have done that all the way around, because the holes and the vistas were amazing.

    I played the first 14 alone and the last four with a local. He said a lot of the locals don't play there because it is too difficult. It holds its own, but it is fair. Just keep the ball in front of you and enjoy the views.

    The course was in excellent condition, the staff was very friendly and helpful, and I can't wait to go back again.
  • 5 stars out of 5
    by j long
    on April 21st, 2010 12:11
    best golf course ive ever played i have now traveled back to oahu 5 times in the past 5 years. the one reason why is ko'olau golf club.
  • 4 stars out of 5
    by Scott
    on March 27th, 2010 20:41
    Without a doubt the hardest course I have ever played. This course challenges every part of your game instead of gripping and ripping you have to be smart and leave the driver in the bag on alot of holes. I now know why the professionals avoid this place. I had the time of my life though and will be back out to play it again "SOON".
  • 4.5 stars out of 5
    by Wm. Lin
    on March 05th, 2010 11:19
    Superb challenge...every hole unique...best deal on the island for locals and visitors alike. The course provides a good measure for your game. Current management team is doing a good job on improving playability and making the course an enjoyable experience. Never a bad choice to play Ko'olau Golf Course.
  • 5 stars out of 5
    by Ho Chien Mien
    on February 21st, 2010 19:35
    Played there in 2004. It was the most spectacular course I played in Oahu. Very scenic and very challenging. Very reasonably priced too for such a fantastic golf course.
  • 4.5 stars out of 5
    by young kim
    on January 17th, 2010 18:46
    we played twice in this course. absolute gem with beautiful scenery.
    other than dampness during wet winter season, I will rate this one better than other well known, over- priced courses around other islands.
  • 4 stars out of 5
    by David Dimmich
    on January 08th, 2010 07:18
    We played Ko'olau during the winter, which is the wet season, so the course was damp, but absolutely the most scenic track I've ever been on. It's very difficult, but I knew that going in, and I was there for the experience, not the score. Some of the holes are simply breathtaking, and you often catch yourself just standing and looking around, instead of concentrating on your game.

    It's the only course I've ever played in the islands, but I'd play it again in a heartbeat.
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