Magnificent Maui

Updated: December 6, 2017

On the island of Maui you will find plenty of championship golf and terrific scenery
By Steve Turcotte, Inside Golf Editor

Tired of the weather that Mother Nature throws our way in the Pacific Northwest every winter? The cold, the wind, the frost delays …. everything? Then it might be time to make that investment in your golf game and take a trip to the island of Maui.

OK, let’s be real here first. Any time is a great time to head to the islands for a golf trip. Every island has its own golf treats from terrific courses to great views to the best resorts.

But winter time is especially the right time of year considering the weather in the Northwest is not exactly the best for wearing shorts, a golf shirt and playing 18 holes.

On Maui, there are plenty of choices. From the ocean side course at Kapalua’s Bay course to the hilly terrain of Ka’anapali’s Kai course, Maui offers a little something for everything.

And these are courses that get your attention from the first tee and hold it all the way through to the last putt. Let’s take a look at some of the golf that Maui has to offer:

• Ka’anapali Resort: This is a resort with two golf courses, Royal and Kai. Both are terrific championship courses, in fact the day we played the Kai course the Royal course was hosting some of the top college teams in the country for a tournament.

The Royal course is 53 years old and is a Robert Trent Jones design. The course has hosted some of the big events through the years including the Senor Skins Game with Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.

The Kai course has some terrific ocean views as it winds through some hilly terrain. The course was also the host for the Golf Channel’s Big Break Ka’anapali, which was won by former WSU golfer Kim Welch.

And there are always deals to make your trip inclusive – there are deals from $299 to play both courses while you are there.

Another couple of options are FootGolf and GolfBoards. Ka’anapali offers FootGolf for those who want to kick a ball rather than hit it and GolfBoards are a treat at the resort, especially with the terrain.

• Kapalua Resort: The Plantation course is known for its hosting of the PGA Tour’s Tournament of Champions. Television does not do the course justice. This is a course with some great views, rolling terrain and a set of closing holes that are terrific. The 17th hole is a downhill par-4 with the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop. Long drivers will find trouble off the tee if they don’t back off. Dramatic elevation changes, and nature’s challenges, as you test your ability and experience golf at its finest.

The Bay Course at Kapalua hosted the 2008 Kapalua LPGA Classic, the Bay Course winds its way through towering palms and flowering hibiscus. The tee shot on the fifth hole carries nearby Oneloa Bay. Views are at a premium all along the Bay Course.

The Kapalua Golf Academy sits near the Bay Course and provides a terrific place for some instruction in case the golf game has gone sideways while on vacation.

Wailea Golf Resort: Among the world’s great golf destinations, Wailea has plenty to offer with its sand beaches, resort setting and three golf courses – the Gold, Emerald and Blue. Renowned for its ideal golf weather – typically sunny with gentle breezes – Wailea Golf Resort is rated among the best golf courses in the country by both Golf Magazine and Golf Digest for the quality of its courses and accommodations.

The home course of The Champions Skins Game from 2001 to 2007, the 7,078-yard Wailea Gold is a masterfully designed layout. Its strategic and rugged design takes advantage of the terrain’s natural undulations and phenomenal ocean vistas, but four to six tee boxes built into every hole makes it a suitable track for virtually every player.

Shortly after opening in 1994, the Wailea Gold was named by both Golf Magazine and Golf Digest as one of the country’s 10 best new resort courses. It was also hailed as one of the world’s best designed courses by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler in the magazine’s first golf resorts poll.

The Emerald and Blue courses at Wailea are also a must-play when you are on site.

• King Kamehameha: There are two things that get your attention right away at the private club, the views from every hole and the Frank Lloyd Wright clubhouse. Every hole features a view of the Pacific Ocean and the terrain rolls up and down the hillside. The 74,000 square foot clubhouse is a gem. The 700-foot elevation from the course and the clubhouse offer ocean and Haleakala views. The course gets your attention from the opening tee box, a downhill tee shot on a par-5 with an elevated green and the Pacific Ocean in the background. Troon manages the facility as well as the course down the road called Kahili, a public course that is always popular.

Places to stay: The Ka’anapali Alii is a popular stop for visitors. Sitting on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, the Alii also is next door to the Ka’anapali Resort golf courses. The resort offers a state-of-the-art fitness center, oceanfront swimming pools, outdoor barbeque grills and tennis. The rooms are 1,500-1,900 square feet and offer everything you need.