Hawaii September 2017
A gorgeous destination plus a wonderful group of golfers added up to a memorable trip.
Our trip started with an inter-island flight between Honolulu and Kona, on the island of Hawaii (aka The Big Island). We then transferred and settled into our magnificent hotel, the Fairmont Orchid Hawaii. Our welcome dinner was under the stars, and we all enjoyed cocktails and share plates.
Day 2 was a rest day, although some took up an optional additional game of golf at Waikoloa Beach Course - they returned with anecdotes of golf balls being eaten up by rough which comprises not grass, but lava rock.
Our first official golf game was on Day 3, Sunday. We traveled a short distance to the utterly stunning Mauna Kea Golf Club. There were some golfers who utterly ate up the course - and the rest of us who thoroughly enjoyed the scenery! We stayed for a drink at the iconic 1960s Mauna Kea Hotel, and then had a lovely dinner at the Coast Grille, Hapuna Beach Hotel.
A free day saw the group go snorkelling, swimming at the beach, shopping or resting. Everybody took up the option of Luau Under the Stars at the neighbouring Waikoloa Beach Marriott, and we all enjoyed a lovely feast and were entertained by Pacific Island dancers and performers. Not to mention the sunset!
An early start on Tuesday saw us playing at the golf course adjacent to our hotel, the Francis I'i Brown North Course at Mauna Lani. Once again, we were treated to some stunning ocean holes and of course some very tricky par 3s. We relaxed with lunch at sea island-themed Tommy Bahama. Some retail therapy at the store downstairs may also have occurred.
The next day, after saying farewell to our beautiful home for the past 5 days, we took an inter-island flight and transferred back to the main island of Oahu. Late afternoon saw us checking into the iconic pink palace, The Royal Hawaiian. We all had magnificent views of Waikiki Beach, and settled in to people-watch. Dinner tonight was al-fresco at another Hawaiian legendary hotel (and sister property of the Royal Hawaiian), the Moana Surfrider.
The Royal Hawaiian Hotel
The Royal Hawaiian dates from 1927, and is situated right in between Waikiki's bustling shopping district and the gorgeous white sands and clear aqua water of the beach. We loved being able to wander the traditional corridors sit in cane furniture looking out to lush gardens.
Thursday dawned, and we made our way to the interior highlands to play at the renowned Royal Hawaiian Golf Club. This course was the favourite of some of our group - it was extremely green, lush, misty, and difficult, and it felt as if we were on the set of Jurassic Park. Many golf balls were donated to the course, but it was definitely a unique and wonderful experience.
We traveled to the famed North Shore of Oahu on Friday, passing Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach and the legendary Pipeline on our way to the resort of Turtle Bay. The Arnold Palmer course was being cored and therefore we were unable to play it, so we tackled the Fazio course instead. The course meanders along glorious coastline, with sneaky views from many points of little beaches.
Our rest day was up next - and everyone took advantage of a trip to Waikele Premium Outlets. Money was exchanged for handbags, clothing and shoes, and we were all exhausted. An early dinner was enjoyed at the Honolulu outpost of Bill's Sydney restaurant.
Sunday was our final day in Hawaii, and we played our last game of golf at Ko'Olina, the home course of LPGA champion Michelle Wie. This course proved extremely challenging and a final showdown in our overall competition eventuated between Bernadette and Sandy, with Bernadette a very worthy winner.
We traveled back to Waikiki for our final presentation dinner at the famous Roy's Waikiki. We enjoyed wonderful Chinese fusion cuisine as we celebrated Bernadette's win, and reflected on our fantastic trip.