One of the great things about this amazing game is the change of scenery. Sure, it’s comfortable to play in a place you call home, get the starting time you want and engage in a friendly wager with your favorite collection of bandits. Yet, our game affords nearly countless opportunities to get on the road (or in the air) and broaden your horizons.
This becomes especially relevant when the weather is cool (OK cold) and you’re looking for a place to thaw out. Today, as part of Get Into Golf’s ongoing effort to enhance your enjoyment of the game, we continue with our latest chapter on travel. This time to the island of Maui.
Maui has several world-class golf courses to enjoy. The seaside locations and panoramic view are second to none, but they also have creative designers and golf course architects. And, if that weren’t enough, the temperature hovers between 78 degrees and 80 degrees during the winter. Not bad.
The catch, you think to yourself is, “Which course(s) should I play and how much is it going to cost?”
Well, I’m glad you asked. Granted, we will not be able to detail every property, but we will cover the golf courses that should be on your curiosity list. Let’s start off with the most notable (naturally, the most expensive) and go from there.
Kapalua Golf Resort – The resort started with one golf course, the original Bay Course. Next, the Village Course was developed and most recently the Plantation Course. Over the last several years, the Village Course was closed, a new large practice facility (including 9-hole putting course) was built, and the Plantation Course became host to the Champions event that leads of each year for PGA Tour winners.
Due to this notoriety and destination location, greens fees are high. The standard rate for the Plantation Course is $278. However, wait until later in the afternoon and the price drops all the way down to $128.
Standard rate for the Bay Course is $208. The afternoon rate goes to $98. That is a rate to fit in most budgets.
If your budget allows, play them both when it is convenient for you. But, if you hadn’t planned on $300 greens fees, play the Bay Course in the afternoon. Frankly, it is a more enjoyable round of golf with holes on the edge of the coast, forcing shots to be played over the ocean. This is great stuff.
Kaanapali Royal Golf Course – Host to Senior Tour events for a number of years. Yet, the design of the course is average (although the view does help) and more recently the conditions are not what they used to be.
Greens fees are $249 with the afternoon rate of $149. If you want to ‘touch them all’, Kaanapali is certainly in the mix, but if you have to make a choice, this is not at the top.
Makena Golf Resort - Way down on the southwest part of the island is the Makena Golf Resort, just south of Kihei. From the central, “touristy” part of the coast, Lahaina, it’s about half an hour by car, but it is worth the drive.
What started as 18-holes became 36 through a mixture of existing and new holes. Now the South Course is open and the North is closed awaiting a final decision on public vs. private access.
The design is intriguing and fun. It heads out along the coast line and meanders through fields of cane and other foliage. It’s in great shape and relative to these Maui prices, it is a good value at $185 during prime time and $119 afternoon.
Nearby there are shops, galleries, and restaurants for before, after, or if your partner doesn’t play. Then it’s to “Big Beach”, seemingly endless sand with warm, nearly clear water.
Wailea Golf Resort – There are three golf courses at Wailea – Gold, Emerald, and Old Blue. The course is set more inland with ocean views and the design is good, but not great. Greens fees are $235 with an afternoon rate of $135.
Again, if you feel that you have to play them all at least one, it’s a good round of golf. But, if you have to choose, take Makena. It’s a better golf course for a better rate.
Pukalani Country Club – Okay, we’ve spent all of our money just getting here, yet we’re dying to get in a round of golf. Pukalani is the place to go. Don’t let the name fool you, the course is available to the public.
It is inland, but has fun holes with ocean views and the price is almost like home. Prime time is just $88 and the afternoon rate is $61.
Believe me, relative to the other courses and the cost, you can’t go wrong playing Pukalani.
There are other golf courses – a couple of them are ‘members only’ King Kamehameha Golf Club (the island’s only 18-hole private club) and Maui Country Club (a private 9-hole club) and another two short, municipal courses on the north side of the island.
John Renslow is general manager and director of golf at Alta Sierra Country Club. Please contact John with your questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.