Tee time: West Hawaii golf subsidy program returns

  • Hawaii County’s subsidized golf program returns Friday at Waikoloa Village Golf Club (seen here) and Makalei Golf Course in North Kona. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

  • Two men play the 18th hole at Waikoloa Village Golf Club. Hawaii County’s subsidized golf program returns Friday at the golf club, as well as at Makalei Golf Course in North Kona. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

  • A man prepares to hit his ball onto the green of the 18th hole at Waikoloa Village Golf Club. Hawaii County’s subsidized golf program returns Friday at the golf club, as well as at Makalei Golf Course in North Kona. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

Hawaii County’s subsidized golf program returns Friday at two West Hawaii locations.

Waikoloa Village Golf Course in South Kohala and Makalei Golf Course in North Kona will both offer reduced rates for residents of Hawaii County for six months. Each was awarded a $125,000 contract to offer the rounds to provide West Hawaii residents parity with East Hawaii residents able to use the taxpayer-funded Hilo Municipal golf course.

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Through the program, the first 1,333 rounds of golf at the Waikoloa Village Golf Course and the first 1,016 rounds of golf at Makalei Golf Course played by qualified residents in each calendar month will receive the discounted rates. Once the number of qualified rounds is met, the golf courses may revert to a rate schedule of their own determination until the count resets on the first day of the following month.

Residents will pay $37 per round of 18 holes with lower rates for seniors and juniors. Those age 60 and greater will pay $32, while youth 17 and younger will pay $17. The rates apply to all tee times.

The $250,000 in funding for the program starting Friday was allocated in the 2020-21 fiscal budget, Kona Councilwoman Rebecca Villegas, who sponsored the May amendment putting the money in this year’s budget, confirmed Monday evening. The fiscal year began July 1 and ends June 30, 2021.

“If it wasn’t, I would be reconsidering the wisdom (of funding the program) given our current economic shortfalls and budget crisis,” Villegas said.

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The subsidy program resumed in 2019, more than six years after funding for the program was slashed in 2012. The county began the program back in 2006 to bring parity to West Hawaii because the Hilo Municipal golf course is the only county-owned facility on the island.

For more information or tee time availability, contact each golf course. Waikoloa Village Golf Course is located at 68-1792 Melia St. in Waikoloa and can be reached by calling (808) 883-9621 Makalei Golf Course is located at 72-3890 Mamalahoa Highway in Kailua-Kona and can be reached at (808) 325-6625.

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