Business Monday: Cosmic Drive Hilo to light up Banyan Drive beginning March 1

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Disco lights, music and the ping of golf balls being hit down range will soon fill the night sky on the weekends on Banyan Drive in Hilo with the tee off of the Big Island’s newest attraction.

Cosmic Drive Hilo opens March 1 at the Grand Naniloa Hotel’s driving range.

Keiki tee off at Cosmic Drive on O‘ahu. (Photo by Samantha Amendola)

“We’re stoked,” said Cosmic Drive co-founder and Krave Marketing owner Ben Marumoto of O‘ahu. “People are gonna be pleasantly surprised at how fun this is. … When they drive down Banyan Drive and they see this pretty extreme light show, they’re gonna be like, ‘Whoa. That looks cool.'”

Cosmic Drive Hilo isn’t your ordinary driving range experience. Think golf meets cosmic bowling and long-range yard darts.

It combines the challenge of hitting glow-in-the-dark golf balls and striking lighted targets from 40 to about 120 yards out with a party-like atmosphere complete with a disco light show and music by an emcee that will keep people pumped. Players also get instant gratification when they hit targets, which will blink or change color and some even respond with noises or words.

Those responses also can be tailored for specific occasions and groups such as birthday parties or company outings.


Cosmic Drive co-founder Keenan Ouranitsas, also known as Keenan Kaleo, of Hilo said the interactive feature makes the experience that much more fun.

And you don’t have to spend 5 hours playing 18 holes or even need to know how to play golf to have fun.

“It feels like a Dave & Buster’s type of deal,” added Marumoto. “Obviously, you’re not playing multiple games, but you’re there with your friends. You’re there to have a good time.”

There are 14 bays at the driving range which each can accommodate up to 5 people. They are booked by the hour from 6:30 to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, with 75 balls included for a fee of $54 with tax. Extra buckets of balls also can be purchased, starting at $10.

You can download the scoring app on your phone from Google Drive or the Apple store.


Clubs are provided, and drinks can be purchased at a bar at the range staffed by the Naniloa. Food trucks will also be available. Outside drinks and food are not allowed.

Sundays are reserved for private parties.

All ages and skill levels are welcome. Targets can be moved based on who’s playing.

“You don’t have to be a really good golfer to hit those targets,” Marumoto said. “Three-year-old kids can hit the first row of targets fairly easily, even on a dribble.”

During late sessions, the music also will be switched up and geared more toward an adult crowd.


The Hilo location is an expansion of Cosmic Drive on O‘ahu, which started in June last year. Ouranitsas has worked with the Naniloa for several years through various ventures, including as owner of Cheehoo Entertainment, and was able to work out the details with the hotel.

People tee up at Cosmic Drive on O‘ahu. Cosmic Drive Hilo opens March 1. (Courtesy photo)

That includes making improvements at the driving range across the street from the hotel, including fixing the bathrooms, installing netting and other upgrades. They also purchased a ball picker and ball washer. They’ve spent the past month getting the property ready for opening night.

“Honestly, that place hasn’t been active for years, so there’s a lot we could do, but we’re just kind of taking it in phases,” Marumoto said. “It’s all coming together pretty nicely in a short amount of time.”

Hilo can be pretty sleepy after about 8 p.m. Marumoto and Ouranitsas said other than bars and pool halls for adults and Fun Factory for the kids, there’s not much else to do at night in the East Hawai’i town.

“There’s nowhere for anyone, really, to go and do anything that’s safe, fun and exciting,” said Ouranitsas.

Cosmic Drive Hilo is something positive for the Banyan Drive area, which has seen a major decline in crime during the past decade. Ouranitsas is happy to be part of an endeavor that will only lift up the area.

They haven’t done any traditional advertising for the attraction, but the response from the public via Coconut Wireless and social media has been outstanding. Posts on Facebook and Instagram have garnered thousands of views, comments and shares.

Cosmic Drive Hilo is only booking through March right now and most time slots for the first two weekends are already sold out. That’s just the community’s response. They haven’t even started to market it to hotel guests.

More dates will be released soon.

“This is amazing!” the Grand Naniloa commented on a Cosmic Drive Hilo post on Instagram. “We can’t wait!”

Marumoto said it’s really fun to see people having such a good time at the range on O‘ahu, jumping up and down, dancing and celebrating when they hit a target. He and Ouranitsas can’t wait to see that same magic happen in Hilo.

“It’s a total experience,” Marumoto said. “That’s the only way to really put it.”

For more information about Cosmic Drive Hilo or to book a time slot, click here. You can also follow the attraction on Facebook and Instagram.

Nathan Christophel
Nathan Christophel is a full-time reporter with Pacific Media Group. He has more than 25 years of experience in journalism as a reporter, copy editor and page designer. He previously worked at the Hawaii Tribune-Herald in Hilo. Nathan can be reached at [email protected]
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