About Ben Hongo

About Ben Hongo

About Ben Hongo

Ben Hongo Profile Photo
Ben Hongo PGA Aloha Section
  • 2004 Aloha Section PGA Teacher of the Year
  • 2017 Aloha Section PGA Teacher of the Year
  • 2008 Aloha Section Youth Development Leader of the Year
  • 2013 Aloha Section Youth Development Leader of the Year
  • 2018 Aloha Section Horton Smith Award
  • “Best Teachers in Hawaii” voted by Golf Digest 2003 to 2025
  • Champion of (2) Aloha Section PGA tournaments
  • 2023 ASPGA Golf Professional of the Year


Ben has been member of Aloha Section PGA since 1989 when he accepted an assistant golf professional position at Kapalua Golf.  He was elected to PGA of America Class-A membership in 1992.  After the 1996 season at Kapalua, he took a position as First Assistant Professional at Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, New York.  He was introduced to Jim McLean and was named Master Instructor for Jim McLean Golf School PGA West in La Quinta, California.  In 1999, he returned to Kapalua to open the Kapalua Golf Academy where he ultimately took over as Director of Instruction under Troon Golf.  Today, he is the Director of Instruction for Hongo Golf and recognized as one of the best golf instructor in Hawaii as he’s been named one of the Best Teachers in Hawaii by Golf Digest.  He can be found at Kapalua.


His family immigrated from Japan to Florida, Alabama, Santa Barbara but finally settling in San Luis Obispo, California.  He comes from a restaurant family as his father was a pioneer in sushi cuisine in Southern California and he jokingly says if the golf career does not work out, he will go into a kitchen.  Needless to say, he considers himself as a foodie and loves to go to various restaurants Maui has to offer. He still enjoys the game of golf and can be seen playing around Maui on his off time.  His family include Liz, wife of 21 years and Hanna, his daughter who is attending Lahainaluna High School.  His hobbies include fitness, eating and spending time with friends.


His love for golf traces back to his youth in Santa Barbara where he learned his craft at Sandpiper Golf Club.  He played every chance he had and joined Santa Barbara Junior Golf Association.  He did not have much success at first but upon moving to San Luis Obispo, he met his mentor, Roger Whincup.  His game improved enough to become 4-time varsity letterman for SLO High School, VIP, Team Captain, All-League and played in 2 CIF Individual State Championship.


He played his collegiate golf at Cuesta College and became All-Conference in his freshman year.  But he learned his dream to play on PGA Tour was not going to be realized so he changed his dream of being Professional Golfer to be Golf Professional.  He attended San Diego Golf Academy and graduated with a degree in Golf Course Operations and Management.  Soon after his time in San Diego, he walked into Gary Planos, Director of Golf’s, office in Kapalua where he started his career as PGA Golf Professional.


Areas of Focus

Short Game
Full Swing
Club Fitting
Bunker Play
Jr. Golf
Women’s Golf
Competitive Golf
College Prep

Playing Experience

Collegiate Golfer
PGA Section Events

Teaching Experience

Collegiate Golfers
25 Years PGA Class A


PGA Professional

Club Fitting Certifications


Teaching Tools

Video Analysis