- 57-091 Kamehameha Highway, Kahuku, O’ahu, Hawaii, USA
- 1 866 475 2567
Description: This outstanding resort sits on Oahu’s North Shore, not too far from the famous big-wave surf breaks of Banzai Pipeline and Waimea. It features two courses, one designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay and the original George Fazio course. The Palmer course is regarded as the superior design. The first nine holes offer a links-style layout with water hazards and fairways more exposed to the trade winds. The second nine is set in a wooded wetland and the Punaho’olapa Marsh bird sanctuary. The course was ranked 78 in Golf Digest’s list of America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses in 2015-16 and has played host to the Champions Tour and LPGA.
The challenges: A healthy mix of bunkers, both on fairways and around the green, plus water hazards and strategically-placed trees to contend with. The prevailing easterly wind makes the first nine holes harder to contend with. The undulating greens must also be read well.
When to play: Year-round.
Yardage: 7218 yards, 6600 meters
Best hole: Palmer course. Hole three, named “Pa Ahamanu” or “Strong Winds of Kahuku” is one of the best challenges here. A lake straddles the left side of the par 5, a huge sand bunker sits in the middle of the fairway for your approach shot, and a bay must be cleared on the left side as well.
The resort experience:
Turtle Bay is the perfect spot for a romantic getaway or to take the family. It’s located on a point overlooking the picturesque bay, and the friendly staff will help you unwind. The resort opened in 1972 with keen golfer Bob Hope as the main act, but it doesn’t show its age and regularly ranks as one of the top holiday destinations in Hawaii, taking Travel Pulse’s Best Family Hotel / Resort, Hawaii Travvy Award in 2016. The Aloha spirit is alive here.
Dine and wine: There are seven restaurants to choose from, including Pa’akai’s fresh seafood (such as the Onaga, a long-tailed red snapper) and the Sunset & Pool Bar, which features a poolside luau with Polynesian dancers.
The accommodation: Luxury rooms and suites can be selected in the main resort building, or you can choose a smaller, more private villa. Many rooms have a great view of the bay. The superb beach cottage I stayed in had one of the biggest bath tubs I’ve ever seen. The spa, salon and fitness center have everything from meditation and aromatherapy to nail care and “bacial” deep-pore cleansing. There’s even spa treatment for kids and teens.
Other activities: Sign up for a two-hour lesson at Hans Hedemann Surf School and get ready to paddle out on a long board to the point beside Turtle Bay resort. It’s a magnificent experience for beginners and comes with all the bragging rights of surfing O’ahu’s famous North Shore. But it doesn’t stop there – you can enjoy a guided kayaking tour of Kawela Bay, snorkeling with sea turtles, stand-up paddle boarding, horse riding along ocean-side trails, guided mountain biking, Segway tours and tennis.