The Koolau Golf Course in Kaneohe will close permanently Wednesday after business fell during the COVID-19 outbreak in Hawaii.
The Koolau Golf Club is operating the 18-hole golf course and leasing over 240 acres of land from the First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu.
But the club contacted the church to terminate its lease early.
“The current economic conditions and the COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible for our golf course operator to continue at the Koolau Golf Course,” said Pastor Dan Chun, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church, in a statement. “While we are disappointed that the golf course will be shutting down, we are looking forward to see what God has in store for the property next.”
Alan Tang, the church’s spokesperson, said business had fallen during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“It’s been very difficult at a lot of the golf courses, and the Koolau Golf Course is no exception,” he said. “It’s exceptionally hard on the operator to make any money when they can’t get enough golfers on the course.”
Tang couldn’t say exactly how much business has dropped because of COVID-19, and the Koolau Golf Club was not immediately available for comment.
“At one point the golf courses were open. … I tried to get tee times at other places, and it wasn’t easy, because they have to spread people and all that,” he said, adding that golfing is often a social activity, as people play together and share carts as they move around on the golf course.
Most golf courses on Oahu actually saw a rise in rounds played at golf courses in June compared to June last year, driven by residents who had more time on their hands because of COVID-19, although the loss of business from visitors hurt other courses.
Golf courses were closed in April and allowed to reopen in May. Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s second stay-at-home order, which went into effect Aug. 23, allowed residents to leave their homes only for essential activities — a list that did not include golf.
Caldwell’s latest order, which went into effect Thursday, explained that golf courses could operate according to guidelines set by the Professional Golfers’ Association.
Tang said the church isn’t yet sure what it will do with the land once its no longer a golf course, but the First Presbyterian Church has retained Pono Pacific Land Management LLC to help transition the land for another use.
However, Tang said the values of the church will be important in making that decision.