Golf on Hawaii is big business. Whether players come for a few casual games, or to compete on the professional circuit, they come from all around the world to golf on Hawaii world-famous courses. It’s no surprise that Hawaii is also home to many golf tournaments all year round. Here are just a few of the tournaments available.
Hyundai Tournament of Champions
The Hyundai Tournament of Champions opens the calendar-year Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Tour season. In 1953, the Tournament of Champions is open only to players who won a tournament during the previous golf season.
Now dubbed the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, the event is held on the Plantation Course at the the Kapalua Resort on the island of Maui in Hawaii. It is a par 73 course, unlike many other Tour events. Since 2012, the event had used a Friday–Monday format, and is now one of only two PGA Tour events using this format. This format has allowed the Tournament of Champions to have its own day to finish, without having to compete with other sports events.
Sony Open in Hawaii
The Sony Open in Hawaii is an official tournament on the PGA Tour. It is limited to professional players, and has been held at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, Hawaii since 1965. Since 1971, the tournament has been held either either January or February, and is currently held in January. It is also the first full-field golf event of the calendar year. The usual lineup of front and back nines of the course are also flipped for the event.
Originally, the Open was sponsored by United Airlines, but was taken over by Sony in 1999. Previous winners of the event include world-famous golfers like: Hubert Green, Corey Pavin, Lanny Wadkins, Ernie Els, and Jimmy Walker. The Sony Open is organized by the Friends of Hawaii Charities.
Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai
The Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai is an annual golf tournament on the Champions Tour. It is played in January at the Hualalai Resort Golf Club on the Big Island of Hawaii. Players include the senior major champions of the last five years, winners of other tournaments in the last two years, and a few sponsor invitees. It was founded in 1984, and has been held at Hualalai since 1997.
Previous winners of the Championship include Fred Couples, Bernhard Langer and Miguel Jimenez, and Duffy Waldorf. The full roster is always filled with official champions of previous years, and promises to be a very exciting event.
The Rotary Club of Kona helps to organize the event, and the Daniel R. Sayre Foundaton benefits from donations of the event. The Foundation purchases equipment for the Big Island Jr. Golf Association.
LOTTE Championship Presented by Hershey
The Lotte Championship is a professional golf tournament for women on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour. It started in 2012 and has been held each year at the Ko Olina Golf Club in Kapolei, Hawaii.
The event was primarily sponsored by LOTTE, but receives several minor sponsors each year, and Hershey has been the presenting sponsor since 2015. Previous winners of the event have been: Ai Miyazato, Minjee Lee, Kim Sei-young, Michelle Wie, and Suzann Pettersen. In accordance with Korean T.V, (as that is the origin of the event), the runs from Wednesday to Saturday.
Currently, the United States Army has two premier golf courses on Oahu. The Leilehua Golf Course on Oahu is an 18-hole course located between Wheeler Army Airfield and Mililani Tech Park.
The Walter J. Nagorski Golf Course is located on Fort Shafter on Oahu is a 9-hole sanctuary in the middle of the busy city of Honolulu. It provides a quiet, green, and gorgeous game of golf that can be enjoyed by both casual and serious players alike.
The two courses together challenge player with the Army Invitational, and invite golfers of all skill levels with their rolling greens and picturesque scenery.
Maui Open at The Dunes is Presented by Toyota and takes place in August. Usually there are over 100 professional and amateur golfers entering the Open, and they compete in multiple divisions. The current maximum allowed is 126 players.
The Open is 36-holes with two major events: a Championship and A-Flight (for pros and amateurs, respectively.) It is held at the Maui Lani Golf Course in Hawaii. The cost of entry varies based on your division and affiliation, and professionals play for cash while amateurs play for merchandise and certificates.
Spectators of the event will be allowed to walk, with carts available only to the handicapped and upon chairman approval. They are not permitted to give advice or counsel to any player in the event.
U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship Qualifier
The U.S. Mid-Amateur, or the Mid-Am for short, is the leading tournament in the United States for post-college amateur golfers. Held annually, the event was first held in 1981 at Bellerive Country Club in Missouri. It is held all across the US during various seasons. In Hawaii, the event is held at the Big Island Country Club on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Competitors of the event must be at least 25 and have a United States Golf Association handicap index of 3.4 or lower. There is no gender restriction, but there is a women-only event for those who choose to play it instead – the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. The event was specifically designed by the USGA for young golfers who did not intend to pursue golf as a career.
U.S. Senior Amateur Qualifier
Perhaps as an opposite of the Mid-Amateur Qualifier the United States Senior Amateur Qualifier is a national event for amateur golfers at least 55 years of age. It begins with 36 holes and then advances with the top 64 players to the match portion of the event. Golfers are required to have a USGA handicap of 7.4 or lower. It was founded in 1955, and is hosted all over the Unite States. In Hawaii, it is held on Leilehua Golf Course in Wahiawa, Hawaii.
Senior Women’s Championship
The U.S. Senior Women’s Championship is an annual tournament that began in 1962. It is held all over the United States, and in Hawaii it is held at the Leilehua Golf Course in Wahiawa, Oahu.
Originally, the format of the Championship was a 54 hole stroke play over three day, but that changed in 1997 to a match play event. Players must be women of at least 50 years of age. In 2000, sectional qualifying was implemented.
Winners have included Karen Garcia, Joan Higgins, Ellen Port, Terri Frohnmayer, Anna Schultz, and Carol Semple Thompson.
For more information on Hawaii Golf Tournaments, plus a full schedule of events, visit hawaiistategolf.org the official USGA website offers full information and schedule for all official events.