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Big Island Country Club

Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Semi Private
Par: 72
Phone: (808)325-5044

Men's Summary:
Tees Yards Rating Slope
Black 7155 75.6 142
Blue 6582 72.3 137
White 6021 69.4 132
Green 5177 65.5 116

Women's Summary:
Tees Yards Rating Slope
White 6021 74.6 129
Green 5177 70.5 120
Red 4851 68.7 116
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Big Island Country Club

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The Bogey Golfer © Course Guides

Big Island Country Club - Overview

This is a very nice Pete/Perry Dye Course, and is a survivor of the bursting of the Japanese Real Estate Bubble. During the 90's, Japanese investors came into Hawaii (and California too, if memory serves me correctly), in a big way. One of their development projects was Big Island Country Club. The bubble burst, and they had to shed their investments, with the result that this course still has a temporary clubhouse after 11 years, not to mention a lot of empty one-acre lots. But it's a great course...

The landscape is heavily populated by wild goats, free-ranging chickens, and turkeys, none of which presented any hostility to golfers.

The greens have Poa-Anna grass, which, according to the helpful assistant, doesn't have "grain" influencing the break. The "breaks toward the water" effect isn't in play here, which is fortunate, since the water's not in sight anyway, this course being up on the side of the mountain (2000 ft of eleveation...). They're very soft (no bounce and release when you land shots from 150-160 yards away).

Due to the elevation, the temperature is nice and cool, with readily available breezes.

Since this is written by and for the Bogey Golfer, the advice is slanted a bit more conservatively than a scratch golfer might look for. Improving your score is mostly about eliminating the blow-ups… Off to the first tee!

Big Island Country Club Detail

This writeup is from the white tees.

Hole #1 – Short par 4 with a sharp dogleg left. There's a big tree at the dogleg, and plenty of room left and short of the tree. I hit my tee shot a little long, but didn't quite run out of fairway, and that was under the tree enough to be an easy wedge shot in.

The second hole is a short par 5, with kind of a blind tee shot. Aim at the bushy evergreen on the right side of the fairway. Since the fairway feeds left, that will set up an easy midiron layup.

#3 is a short par 4. The fairway is in the middle of a little valley, meaning a wide shot will feed back toward the middle (unless you hit it out of the valley altogether). Having said that, there's no need to get greedy. Hit a controlled straight shot up the middle, and this hole can be had.

#4 is also in a valley, but this one is uphill, and the valley is a bit wider. Something you might not realize off the tee, and maybe not even on your second shot, but there's OB just right of the green, and they appear to be redesigning some berms up there too, so pay close attention to your approach shot.

The fifth hole is a long par 3 with a creek running diagonally across the fairway. The miss is right, so don't go hitting any snap hooks here.

#6 is an interesting hole. Aim left of the tall tree by the right bunker. On your approach shot, there's a long bunker wrapping the green right and long just inside the water, so there's a little forgiveness there, but don't push it!

The seventh hole is not that long, but there's a creek crossing the fairway at 242 yards (from the white tee) to confound your club selection off the tee. And of course any kind of a layup kind of stretches out your approach shot, which is already kind of challenging because of the pond that runs down the right side of the fairway...

#8 is a par 3, and the tee shot is mostly over a pond. Assume that whatever distance you're playing from is all carry (and remember, you'll get no roll if you actually hit the green).

The ninth hole is a longish par 4, which wraps around a pond to the right. So, if you're inclined to hit fades, stay well left of the 150 yard marker -- there's no room to the right. (Even if you're short, and land in the waste area, you could still roll into the creek). Odds are good you're doing to have a long approach shot into this green. Stay left, away from the water.

#10 is another hole that doglegs right to wrap around a pond. From the white tee, it's only about 230 yards to get through the fairway to reach a bunker on the left side, so plan accordingly. Position is more important than distance here (and staying dry is important too!).

#11 is another valley hole. I hit a ridiculous high hook OB left, followed by a ridiculous push to the right. The ridiculous push to the right actually fed down the hillside and made it back to the fairway. The hole is tucked into the right behind a couple of trees which really don't come into play.

#12 is an intimidating hole. It's shorter than it looks at 362 yards (white tees) but I found out to my chagrin that the pond is reachable with a solid tee shot. From there, the pond squeezes the fairway down to about 20 yards at the narrowest point. However, there's a huge steep bank right of the fairway, so you can play a midiron off the bank to set up your final approach into the green with a wedge. Just remember to lay up short of the water on your tee shot. Or hit it to the right.

#13 is a par 3 with OB left and long. Stay calm and hit a solid shot to the middle of the green.

#14 looks like it's about 200 yards wide, but it's not. There's a huge bunker in the left rough that you really don't want to mess with. Hit the ball at the 150 marker. Don't get too far right up the bank because there's a bushy little tree that will block out short iron shots up the right.

#15 is a really short par 4 with a huge bunker fronting the green that's fairly difficult to miss. Unless you hit something short of it. The only reason my three wood came up short was because I popped it up high in the air. The other option is to hit left of the bunker, but it's a little bit narrow there. The green is very narrow, with a collection area behind it.

#16 is a par 5 with a tree in the fairway obstructing your tee shot. I hit my tee shot in the left rough to miss the tree. It might have been better to hit it in the right rough, because there's a bank there which might have fed it back to the fairway. The gotcha on this hole is a hidden bunker lurking over a hill to catch your second shot. Because the green is tucked in to the left, there's a tendency to cut the corner a bit on your second shot, and that's where the bunker comes in... Make sure you get back to the middle of the fairway on your second shot to set up an easy approach to the green.

#17 is billed as the only island hole on Hawaii. I'm not sure I believe it, but there it is. Anyway, whichever tee you're playing from, go for the middle of the green. Remember, you'll get no rollout once it lands, so make sure you've got plenty of carry.

#18 is a tasty little hole. From the tee box it looks incredibly narrow, and you start out thinking you want to be left of the 150 marker, and maybe even go around the back side of the fairway bunker. Once you get to the fairway you realize just how much it opens up to the right before you have to hit across the creek to the green. So the correct strategy here is to hit a strong drive right of the 150 marker (since it's a longish hole) setting up a wedge shot over the creek. Great finishing hole.

By the way, you can see the foundations that were poured for the clubhouse that was never built after you finish this hole and start the serpentine drive back to the temporary clubhouse...

This is a very nice course, and there are four sets of tees to choose from. So you can self-sort as to how much golf you want to bite off. Pay attention to the slopes, and notice they're fairly stiff. The more yardage you take on, the more difficult it gets...

Background photo: Tee shot across the bottomless canyon on #12 at Rio Secco, Las Vegas

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