Back in business: Makalei Golf Club opens with COVID-19 restrictions in place

  • Makalei Golf Club reopened to the public as of Wednesday, April 1, with new restrictions for safety due to COVID-19. (Makalei Golf Club|Special to West Hawaii Today)

Golfers on the Big Island now have a place to tee off.

Makalei Golf Club announced that they have reopened to the public as of Wednesday, April 1. The course was shut down for a week after Gov. David Ige issued a stay-at-home order for the state to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

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The club issued a statement this week that said the state permits golf under the stay-at-home order with additional safety practices to limit the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Makalei, located in Kailua-Kona at 72-3890 Hawaii Belt Road, will be open from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with the first tee time at 7:16 a.m. Golfers who want to play the course have to follow the new guidelines set by the club.

• Everyone on the course must maintain a distance of six feet apart anywhere on the property at all times.

• All tee times must be pre-paid over the phone with a credit card prior to the tee time.

• If golfers need golf balls, tees or other items, they must prepay for those items and the course will have them ready when they arrive. Rental clubs will not be available.

• The Makalei golf shop is still closed. Golfers will need to check-in outside the golf shop, window adjacent to the starter’s stand and will be directed to their golf cart.

• Only one person per golf cart is allowed unless the player is with a family member or friend they are commuting with. Limited carts are available.

• Cups are raised. When a ball hits the cup, that is considered a made shot.

• Golfers cannot remove or handle the flagsticks.

• All rakes have been removed from the course, and golfers may not use the ball washers.

In addition to the new rules, some services have also changed for Makalei. Food and beverages will not be served, although bottled water will be provided in the golf cart.

Makalei said that all carts will be sanitized after each use.

The driving range at Makalei remains closed.

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Golf courses on the west side of the island that remain closed include Hapuna Golf Course (until further notice); Kona Country Club (through April 30 or until further notice); Makani Golf Club (until further notice); Mauna Kea Golf Course (until further notice); and Waikoloa Beach Golf Course (through April 30).

On Tuesday afternoon, the Hawaii County Department of Parks and Recreation announced the closure of the Hilo Municipal Golf Course on the east side. The department said golf course staff would continue to work throughout the closure, “maintaining and improving the golf course for when it reopens for play.”

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