Golfing in Maui is all about the view. Vast expanses of green look out over a glistening sea of blue. Dramatic cliff drops and white sand frame the neighboring islands of Lanai and Molokai, like oil paintings hanging in the distance. Cool island breezes brush against your face, and the only sound you hear is the swoosh of your golf club. Voted "The Best Island in the World" for golf by Conde Nast Traveler several years in a row, golf enthusiasts can skip the beach, because this is truly paradise.
Maui has 15 different courses to choose from; realistically, you can spend every day of your vacation exploring a different green. Maui's west side, which includes the resort areas of Kaanapali and Kapalua, has four different courses, with a total of 36 holes. Kaanapali's two courses, the Royal and Kai, are fun but challenging—perfect for a good game while the family lies on the beach. Over in Kapalua, the Plantation course is perhaps the most famous--and the most challenging--on Maui. It's the location of the opening game of the PGA tour each year, so there's a good chance you've seen it from your living room. The Plantation course has hosted every big name in golf, each competing for fame and a huge cash prize; imagine the crowds and pretend you're Justin Leonard while teeing off across the former pineapple fields.
Moving on to Maui's south coast, you'll come across Wailea and Makena, two additional huge resort areas. Wailea's three courses, the Gold, the Blue and the Emerald, have a total of 54 holes for you to conquer. Perhaps the most popular resort for golf, Wailea has won numerous awards for its course layout and amenities. Makena, down the street from Wailea, has a north and a south course with a total of 36 holes. Makena's north course is best known for its challenging layout and stunning views. After you make it to the 14th tee, you are rewarded with views of neighboring islands Molokini, Kahoolawe, Lana'i and Molokai.
Going out for the day to explore Maui? Check out one of the six independent courses around the island. Tee off at Weaihu Municipal, Pukalani Country Club, Kahili Golf Club, Maui Country Club, or the Dunes at Maui Lani. Fares are usually cheaper as you travel away from the big resorts, so save some cash while exploring something inland.
If you want to improve your swing, there are plenty of pros to help you. Every course offers golf instruction, not to mention the independent schools scattered between the big resorts. Lessons are offered in groups or privately, for both you and the kids, from pros that know the courses like the inside of their homes.
You can rent golf clubs at every course and private shop, all over the island. Each course also has a pro shop, in case you forgot your polo shirt. Before you play, check with the individual course for recommended tee times. Some courses recommend playing in the morning before the afternoon trade winds start up. That is, unless you're into hiking for missing golf balls.
- • Kaanapali resort Royal and Kai courses: www.kaanapali-golf.com
- • Kapalua resort Bay and Plantation courses: www.kapalua.com:8001/hawaii-golf
- • Makena resort North and South courses: www.makenagolf.com
- • Wailea resort Blue, Gold and Emerald courses: www.waileagolf.com
- • Maui Country Club: www.mauicountryclub.org
- • Pukalani Golf Club: www.pukalanigolf.com
- • Elleair Golf Club: www.elleairmauigolfclub.com
- • The Dunes at Maui Lani: www.dunesatmauilani.com
- • Kahili Golf Club: www.kahiligolf.com
- Independent Golf shops/rentals:
- • Kahului golf shop with rentals, repair, and lessons: www.golf-maui.com
- • Rentals and lessons in Kihei: www.mauiclubrentals.com
- • Club rentals: www.mauiclubrentals.com
- • Golf brochure available with info on every part of the island: www.visitmaui.com/maui/activities/golf
- • Guide to every golf course on Maui: www.maui-golf.com
- • Information on Maui's golf scene; also specific information on holes: www.gohawaii.com
- • Discounts and information on all courses: www.mauigolf4less.com
- • Wailea Resort golf instruction: www.davidleadbetter.com
- • Kapalua Resort instruction: cms.kapalua.com
- • Independent lessons in Kahului: www.golf-maui.com
- • Independent lessons in Kehei: www.mauiclubrentals.com
- • Independent lessons from Pro Jim Hyllested: www.mauigolfpro.com
- • Makena resort instruction: www.makenagolf.com/maui-golf-academy
- • Kaanapali resort instruction: www.kaanapali-golf.com
- • SBS Championship, the opening PGA Tour game: cms.kapalua.com
- • Annual Champion Skins game in Kaanapali: www.pgatour.com
- • Every Hawaii championship and tournament: aloha.pga.com