On Hawaii's Big Island, Hapuna Golf Course steps out of Mauna Kea's shadows

KOHALA COAST, Big Island, Hawaii -- It's tough living in the shadow of a legend. Mauna Kea, a top-100 golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1964, remains the king of golf on the Big Island. Across the street, Hapuna Golf Course, an Arnold Palmer-Ed Seay design built in the 1990s, should no longer be considered just a secondary, more affordable sister course.

Hapuna has star power, too. A commitment to better conditioning and the cutting back of rough and long grasses continues to help Hapuna rise in the eyes of golfers.

Hapuna rides the hillsides high above the beach, delivering some fun elevation changes and constant panoramic views. The elevated tees on the par-5 11th and signature par-4 12th stare off into a blue horizon. It's enough visual stimulant to make any mainlander's heart melt.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 1,000 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfadvisor and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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On Hawaii's Big Island, Hapuna Golf Course steps out of Mauna Kea's shadows