Mauna Lani South among Hawaiian courses reopening as restrictions ease

Fully operational golf and tourism are slowly returning to Hawaii as state-implemented travel restrictions are eased, but not everything is opening at once. Take Mauna Lani as an example, as one of its top-rated courses will open this week while another of the resort’s layouts remains closed.

Hawaii has implemented a COVID-19 testing program that will allow tourists to return to the state if they take a COVID test and return the negative results within 72 hours of planned travel. That’s in contrast to much of the pandemic, when anyone traveling to the island had to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival at the islands. Requirements for the new testing procedures can be found at travel.hawaii.gov.

Mauna Lani’s South Course reopens Nov. 6 after a months-long shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Designed by Homer Flint, Raymond Cain and Robin Nelson and opened in 1981 in Kona on the Kohala Coast, the South Course ranks No. 15 in Hawaii on Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play list for public-access tracks in Hawaii.

In the short term, the South will be open for tee times 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday as the resort comes out of its pandemic-induced hibernation. The resort’s short course, Wiki Wiki, reopens Nov. 5. Mauna Lani is also home to the North Course, which is No. 8 on the Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play list in Hawaii, and will remain closed until further notice. The Mauna Lani Auberge Resorts Collection resort reopens to guests Nov. 15.

“We are thrilled to reopen and get back to golf at Mauna Lani,” Chris Noda, director of golf at Mauna Lani, said in a media release announcing the reopenings. “In other markets, golf is seeing a nice resurgence in rounds played, in part because it can be played outside and in amazing locations. Hawai‘i Island and our stunning South Course at Mauna Lani certainly qualify as an amazing locale. We look forward to sharing the spirit of Aloha and the joy of the game of golf with guests once again.”

Many courses and resorts in Hawaii have closed during the pandemic because of the unlikelihood of seeing many guests who are willing to quarantine for 14 days. Other courses have remained open on a limited basis.

No. 18 at Kapalua’s Plantation Course (Courtesy of Kapalua)

For example, the recently renovated Plantation Course at Kapalua – No. 1 in Hawaii on Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play list and annual home to the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions – allows play on the same daily schedule to which Mauna Lani plans to attend: 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday. The Bay Course at Kapalua isn’t scheduled to open until Dec. 17.

Four Seasons Resort Lanai, home to the No. 2-ranked Manele course, is scheduled to reopen Nov. 20. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, home to the No. 3-ranked course of the same name, reopened Nov. 1.

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