There are many reasons to visit Maui. This small island is a favorite for honeymooners and family vacations alike. Aside from everything there is to see and to do here, don’t overlook some of the most spectacular golf courses you’ll ever find in the Pacific.
Maui boats a very unique topography, one that is under the watchful eye of the 10,000-foot-high Mt. Haleakala volcano. It seems that no matter which way you turn, you’re able to find a golf course nearby. The following list gives you a pretty good idea of what types of golf courses you can visit to satisfy your golfing passion.
The Dunes at Maui Lani. If you love playing the equivalent of Scottish Links golf, then the Dunes is your perfect course. Situated in Maui’s Central Valley, this course will definitely challenge players as they think their way around the course. Five holes feature ‘pot bunkers’ which will require that you calculate your shots to deal with trade winds and water. You’ll surely want to play this course more than once, because every time will provide you with a new experience and set of exciting challenges to overcome.
Royal Ka’anapali Course. This was the very first golf resort built in Hawaii way back in 1962. It has hosted events such as the LPGA tournaments and the original Seniors Tour. Here you’ll find a generous fairway and greens, with an 18th hole unlike anything you’ll play anyplace else.
Ka’anapali Kai. This course is absolutely gorgeous no matter which way you’re facing. Stunning views winding upcountry and down again to the ocean will leave you speechless. Ka’anapali Kai is a fun course because it’s so playable, and every golfer of every level of skill loves playing here. The redesign, done in 2005, includes total remakes of several holes in order to give you better views of the islands of Molokai and Lanai. Fairways are more tapered and easier for less advanced players, but this course offers everything and more for whatever level of golf you play.
Gold Course at Wailea Golf Club. Located in southern Maui, the Gold Course is the most challenging of the three courses situated here. The course is rugged, following the topography, enhanced upon by the course’s designer, Robert Trent Jones II. In this area of Maui, you’ll find less wind and less rain. With nothing but ocean views all around you, the lookouts are stellar. You will need to concentrate on your accuracy here more than on length of play.
King Kamehameha Golf Club. This private course has everything a private course should have. This is a beautiful and challenging 18-hole layout, one which tests your shot-making ability. You’ll find the King Kamehameha on the slopes of Mauna Kahalawai, with beautiful views of Maui’s south shore. With over 7,000 yards of rolling fairways, you’ll be up against bunkers and wavy tiered greens. Once you’re done, you can find your way back to the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired clubhouse, for a golf experience second to none.
Plantation Course at Kapalua. If you are looking for one of the best views in the world, you’ll surely find it here on West Maui. This golf course is perched against the seaside slopes of the West Maui Mountains. You’ll have a hard time deciding if you want to keep a lookout for the islands of Lanai and Molokai, or concentrate on making that next best shot. All of your concentration will be needed on this course, if you want to be good. Most of the time, you’ll have gentle breezes at your back or in your face. Occasionally, there are those strong winds to contend with, so be prepared. The Plantation Course is a long course, over 7,000 yards, with elevation changes all along the way. It’s the ultimate in golf on Maui.
Kahili Golf Course. This course is a favorite of visitors and locals alike. Located just next to the King Kamehameha Golf Club course, it’s at a lower elevation, but very similar in play. The par-3s are wonderful to play through, but it’s the par-4s that are a real standout at Kahili. That’s because these are played both downwind and upwind, which means you need to be extremely accurate. Don’t let the picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean and the adjoining countryside go to waste! This course is a must-play when you’re in Maui.
(Kapalua Golf Course at the Ritz-Carlton cropped image courtesy Soham Banerjee / CC2.0)