Kiahuna Golf Club - Detail
This writeup is from the Blue "Ginger" tees, which are only 6341 yards. Even the Gold (Ilima) tees are only 6787 yards. A couple of fairways are tight, but mostly, there is plenty of room to swing away, so have fun with it!
Pay attention to the breezes, and adjust your club selection accordingly.
The first hole is 375 yards, and is generously wide. The green has a big swale in the front/middle, so pay attention to pin placement.
The second hole is a bit longer (411 yards) and also just a bit tighter. Having said that, there is still room enough to hit your driver, as long as you're not completely out of control. It has a slight dogleg to the left, but you don't want to crowd the left side of the fairway. A clump of trees will punish you for trying to take a shortcut, and you'll wind up having to lay up just to get over them anyway. Note that this is handicapped as the hardest hole on the course, and a bogey is okay here!
#3 is a testy par 3. While it's handicapped as the easiest hole on the front, it also requires you to hit across a pond. There's room to bail out to the right. Use it if you have to!
#4 is a short par 4, that's just a bit confusing off the tee. If you're waiting on the group in front of you anyway, drive ahead and check out the terrain just so you know what you're trying to do. When in doubt, club down in favor of keeping it in the fairway. The hole is short enough that the distance won't hurt you. (Hint: aim at the trap you can see. There's a hidden trap over the hill on the right. The hole bends right slightly.)
#5 is the only par 5 on the front. It's short (only 478 yards), but defends itself with trouble, including a fairway bunker in the middle. My advice is to lay up, and hit the ball straight. There's an extensive bunker complex in front of the green which makes going for it fairly risky anyway.
#6 is a beefy par 4 (430 yards). It bends slightly left, but the important thing is to keep it in play -- OB is reachable on the right. This is another one of those holes where a bogey is a good score.
#7 will look familiar, because it's right beside #3, and in fact uses the same pond to get inside your head. If you tend to hit fades aim well to the left. The slope of the ground tends to feed to the water, and exagerates whatever right-hand spin you've put on the ball.
#8 is another longish par 4 (411 yards). The important thing here is to stay left of the huge trap protecting the dogleg. The green is huge, so pay attention to the pin placement when making your club selection on the approach shot.
The ninth hole feels tighter than it really is. There's a wall o' jungle on down the left side. Having said that, the fairway is plenty wide enough to hit driver. There are lots of mounds and such around the green, so you kind of want to be hitting as short a club as possible on your second shot. So driver is certainly the club of choice on your tee shot. But the miss is right, not left!
The tenth hole has an old lava rock wall running partway across the fairway. It doesn't really come into play on your tee shot, and even if you get a big downhill bounce, you still get free relief from it, so swing away! Because of the yardage (345 yards) and the downhill roll you're going to get, a decent drive will set up a wedge for your approach shot.
#11 is even shorter (326 yards), but really confusing visually. There's another rock wall jutting partly across the fairway. That's basically your aiming point. The hole doglegs left pretty sharply, and straight over that wall will leave you the best angle in to the green. Again, it's a short hole, and downhill to boot. So a three wood might be preferable to your driver, if you can hit it any straighter!
#12 is another fierce par 3. This one is 191 yards, and it's all carry, because of the stream fronting the green. My philosophy is that it's better to be long (sand trap behind the green) than short and wet. Take plenty of club!
#13 is another visually confusing hole. Two things to keep in mind: 1) you need a solid tee shot to clear the stream in front of you, and 2) the trouble on the other side of the stream is basically out of reach. The hole bends left up a hill. Hit whatever club is going to get you enough altitude to clear that stream, and if you stray a little bit, that's okay. Remember your approach shot is up hill, and take an extra club. Also note that the green is huge, so pay attention to pin placement.
#14 is nicknamed "Tricky". It's basically a 90 degree bend around a group of sand traps. So, two strategies come to mind: 1) lay up in front of the sand traps, and cut the corner on your second shot, or 2) bomb it long and go around all the trouble. I picked #1, and birdied the hole. Note: I do not recommend bombing it long over the dogleg. It's a low percentage shot, unless you're John Daly.
#15 is the only par 5 on the back. It's 541 yards, it has a couple left-hand doglegs, and the second half of it is basically uphill. So no matter what you do, it's going to take you three shots to get to the green.
On the tee shot, straightness is more important than distance, although you ideally want both. So if you're not confident in hitting your driver straight, club down (the first shot is just a little tighter than usual). You still need a long club on your second shot though, and will even if you were to hit driver. The green is protected by huge mounds, and huge bunkers.
#16 is a par 3, playing 179 yards. Yes, it's longish, but there's no real trouble to speak of.
#17 is a monstrous par 4, playing 445 yards. I hit a really good drive (for me), and still couldn't reach the green, even with a pretty good second shot. I hit a really good third shot from 95 yards out, and managed to salvage a two-putt bogey, which I felt pretty good about (it's the second most difficult hole on the course).
By the way, this hole is nicknamed "Members' Alley", and there are a whole slew of really pretty vacation homes down the left side of the fairway. It's hard not to get distracted...
The home hole is ridiculously wide. I swung from the heels, and sliced it OB. My second drive was a bit more in control, and went straight, leaving me a long iron into the green for a two-putt double. Woulda, coulda, shoulda...
Lovely course, lots of fun, great scenery, plus it's in Hawaii! Hard to beat!