Ala Wai Golf Course, is a Public, 18 hole golf course located in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii.
Ala Wai reports over 500 plays per day, or about 180,000 per year, making it one of the busiest courses in the world. With that many rounds, it is no wonder that Ala Wai is one of the fastest playing courses anywhere.
This 18-hole, par-70 is set on the edge of Waikiki, with views of Diamond Head and the Koolau Mountain Range. The popularity of the Ala Wai golf course can be attributed to many factors, including its reasonable green fees, prime location, and the number of tourists just a step away in Waikiki.
The Ala Wai Golf Course opened its original nine holes on September 13, 1931, as the first municipal course on Oahu and the first in the Islands. The course was built on the site of the Territorial Fairgrounds on 150 acres of land. The second nine holes were opened on July 10, 1937, and the clubhouse followed in 1948. Ala Wai golf course was designed by Donald MacKay. The course was redesigned by Bob Baldock in 1962 and by Robin Nelson in 1986.
The course is flat but challenging, and the much needed renovations and changes have greatly enhanced play.
The par-four 1st hole is now a dogleg right. The front layout now offers a pond behind the 2nd hole. The 3rd hole is a new dogleg right par five. It follows much of the old number 6 hole fairway. Number 4 is a very short par four with trees and sand coming into play. The 5th hole is a well- bunkered par three. The new 6th hole is roughly where the old 2nd hole was, and the new 7th looks a lot like the old number 1 hole. The par-three 8th and par-four 9th remain basically unchanged.
The wide, flat open terrain has few trees, so wind can be a factor in your selection of clubs. Some say that the most challenging hole is the new par-five 3rd hole, whose green wraps around a monkeypod tree. Still one of the most challenging holes is the 18th, with its narrow fairway bordering the Ala Wai Canal, a tight green, and a stream trickling through its middle. Another challenging hole is the par-three 11th, which plays 186 yards into the wind.
On the makai side (toward the ocean) is the Ala Wai Canal, bordered by hotels and condos which form the skyline of Waikiki. The fairways for holes number 14 and 18 run along the Ala Wai Canal.
On the mauka (mountain) side are condos and homes rising up the slopes of the Koolau Range. Showers on this side of the island are usually brief and are more likely in the early morning or late afternoon. Downpours are rare, but light sprinkles of rain occasionally are blown from showers falling over the Koolau Range several miles away.
Because of the heavy play at Ala Wai, it is necessary to reserve tee times one week in advance. Single golfers and twosomes can usually avoid tee times by signing up on a waiting list.
When first built in 1931, the Ala Wai Golf Course was run by the Territorial Fair Commission until Hawaii was admitted as a state in 1959. The Commission was abolished, and the City and County of Honolulu was then given control of the land. After much controversy and deliberation, Honolulu officials decided to permit the continued use of this valuable property as a municipal golf course.
There was a great deal of pressure on officials from investors to develop this prime real estate into hotels or condominiums. In fact, at the reopening of the course in 1989, Honolulu Mayor Frank Fasi told newspaper reporters that the city has been offered $2 billion for the real estate by Japanese investors.
The newest addition is a 24,000-square-foot clubhouse. The two-story clubhouse includes offices, a restaurant, pro shop, lockers, storage, and a second-floor community recreation room.
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