The PGA Tour is off and running in Hawaii, and this week it's on Oahu with the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club. Defending champion Mark Wilson will lead the first field event of the season this week at the private country club located in Honolulu.
While getting on this 1927 design by Seth Raynor and Charles Banks isn't easy for tourists, Oahu has more affordable options than any of the other island in Hawaii.
Notice that I didn't say 'cheap.' After all, we are talking Hawaii in the middle of winter. But one of the differences between Oahu and the other islands is that it isn't laden with high-end resorts. One reason is because the island is highly populated (Honolulu's count is more than 800,000) and there are plenty of local golfers. The residents get special rates at a number of excellent courses. While tourists may not get the same bargains, they can do OK, especially if you're willing to drive around a little.
For example, you can play Hawaii Prince Golf Club right now for as little as $99. This 27-hole Arnold Palmer design has all the elements of tropical golf: wind, sun, plenty of palm trees and one nine that's even somewhat forested.
Another favorite is Ewa Beach Golf Club, an all-paspalum course that's one of the greenest and plushest layouts you'll ever experience. While normal green can run $140 for visitors, you can find tee times in the middle of the week for half that much on either GolfNow or HawaiiGolf.com.
Or, check out Royal Kunia Country Club, located just down the road from Ewa Beach. You can play it for as little as $100 and you can’t beat the views. From most points on the course you can see Honolulu, Diamond Head and Pearl Harbor, as well as the Ko'olau and Waianae mountain ranges.
If you're looking for challenging, it doesn't get much tougher or panoramic than the 7,300-yard tropical Ko'olau Golf Club, which can be had for as little as $95 in the early afternoon on some days through GolfNow.
There are plenty of other inexpensive options as well. Coral Creek, a splendid 6,800-yard Robin Nelson design can be found online for as little as $80. And U.S. visitors can check out Hawaii Country Club for $55 in some cases. In all, there are probably more than a dozen daily fee courses around the island that you can play for less than $100, plenty to keep you busy when you’re not hanging out on Waikiki Beach sipping a Mai Tai.