Those who love the Waikoloa Beach Resort know that the resort course offers more than an attentive and friendly golf staff. The Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed Beach Course offers glimpses of breaching wintering whales and dolphin pods. The Kings’ Course designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, winds through ancient lava flows accented by gorgeous views of Mauna Kea and on clear days, Maui’s Haleakala. While the coconut trees sway in the trade winds. It’s a comfortable course that makes any player want to linger over the views and capture a few photos for posterity.
Hawaii golfers have a love hate relationship with the trade winds. There is nothing like a tropical breeze and a cold beer to keep the Kohala Coast temperatures at bay, but they can offer quite a challenge to keeping golf scores tamed. The Waikoloa courses were designed to use the prevailing winds to a player’s advantage. However, sometimes that advantage can shift at a moments notice and be gusty on occasion.
Generally the winds have two distinct patterns. The prevailing pattern blows from the mountains toward the ocean or as the locals say in a mauka to makai direction. Sliding down Mauna Kea these winds bring breezes that are cool and fresh as they offshore. The other pattern is what islanders refer to as Kona winds. These winds blow in a makai to mauka direction and are easily identifiable by the salty scented air it brings as it blows onshore.
Aside from the distractions of the scenery and wildlife, the winds continue to be a challenge at this luxury course. Alan Texeira, PGA Professional at Waikoloa Beach Resort, recommends those less lofted clubs in your bag to avoid the trades catching that ball and sending it on a flight of fancy.
Experienced Waikoloa golfers live by the 3 wood downwind off the tee. Approach shots should be kept low and swings should be kept under control. On the green use a wider stance and shorter back stroke for more balance and control.
So get on the course, bring your game, your camera and remember low loft, keep control on those windy days.