Playing golf on the Valley Isle will bring you face to face with steady trade winds across the island, presenting you with some challenging play. Here’s a tip for playing in the wind: Playing downwind is usually pleasant, and you may be able to use one or two clubs less, but be careful – a strong wind behind you could knock the ball down.
More difficult is hitting into the trade wind. You need to take a club or two more and play the ball a little farther back in your stance. This will keep the ball down and allow it to cut through the wind easier. It also helps, when playing in trade winds, to widen your stance a little, which provides a better foundation and helps brace you in the windiest of conditions.
Try these tips and your golfing experience on Maui should be more enjoyable. If you have any questions about playing on this island, just ask the pros at the courses you are playing and they will be happy to assist you.
Below is a list of some of the more popular golf courses on Maui. The phone number and some commentary about the course is also given. You may wish to call ahead and seek additional information, or inquire about reservations.
SOUTH MAUI GOLF COURSES
South Maui is the best place to golf on Maui. Here you can find three of the best Maui courses, excellent morning conditions, and views of Molokini crater and Kaho’olawe. The average golfer will prefer Wailea Gold or Wailea Emerald. Great golfers prefer Makena South.
Makena Resort (808-879-3344) is located just south of Maui Prince in Makena. There are two courses, North Course and South Course. Fees for either are $190, $150 for twilight, or $120 for Maui Prince guests. Metal spikes are not allowed and collared shirts are a must.
The South Course is perhaps the best of the Maui golf courses. It is close to the ocean so you get great views of Molokini crater and Kaho’olawe. There are eight bunkers between you and the green at hole 3. The water at hole 13 has a strange attraction for golf balls. Walk to the edge of the green at hole 15 to see a beautiful black sand beach. This course is challenging, beautiful, and fun!
The North Course is narrower than South Course and has adjoining fairways. Behind you at Hole 6 is a nice view of Molokini. Some greens are super fast so beware. Hole 15 is quite narrow and therefore a bit difficult for the average Joe. If you are an excellent golfer you may prefer this course. If you’re an average golfer looking a fun day, stick with South Course.
Wailea Golf Club sports three courses, Gold and Emerald (808-875-7450) designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. and Old Blue (808-875-5155) designed by Arthur Jack Snyder. The carts all equipped with GPS. Fees are $200 for Gold and Emerald ($175 for Wailea resort guests) and $185 for Old Blue ($160 for Wailea resort guests). Metal spikes are not allowed and collared shirts are a must.
The Emerald Course is the most popular. Hole 4 offers a picturesque view of Kaho’olawe offshore. The 18th hole has six bunkers surrounding the green.
The Gold Course has gorgeous views of the islands offshore. There is a slightly scary lava embankment at hole 9 and only one water hazard. Hole 4 offers a picturesque view of Kaho’olawe offshore. The 18th hole has six bunkers surrounding the green.
The Old Blue Course is amongst the luxury homes off Kaukahi. This is a nice older course. It’s fun and relaxing.
WEST MAUI GOLF COURSES
West Maui is windier particularly in Kapalua. Passing rain showers are also common in Kapalua but an advantage is that you can order food through the GPS on you cart and pick it up at the restaurant. Ka’anapali will be sunnier and drier as well as less windy especially in the morning.
Kapalua (808-669-8044) has two courses, Kapalua Plantation Course located past mile marker 31 on Highway 30 ($295!!, $190 for Kapalua guests, $130 for twilight) and Kapalua Bay located on Kapalua Avenue in Kapalua ($215, $165 for Kapalua guests, $105 for twilight). Here you can find Kapalua Golf Academy (808-669-6500), which uses state-of-the-art equipment to teach. This is a great place learn or improve your game.
Both courses clock winds of 30-40 MPH routinely. Hey, Maui is the windsurfing capital of the world for a reason. Hang on tight to your scorecard and maybe consider a lesson at the Kapalua Golf Academy to learn how to deal with the wind. These are challenging courses.
Both courses are for serious golfers but the Kapalua Plantation Course is a bit tougher. The Kapalua Bay is closer to the ocean. Hole 5 actually shoots over the over the ocean!
Ka’anapali Golf Course (808-661-3691) has two courses, the Royal Course (North) ($205, $170 for Ka’anapali guests, and $110 for twilight) and the Kai Course (South) ($175, $130 for Ka’anapali guests, and $85 for twilight).
The Royal Course is the most difficult and most popular. It has lots of coconut palms. Part of hole 5 straddles the beach. There are lots of houses and cars nearby.
Kai Course is easier than the Royal Course. Hole 4 is near the train trestle of the Lahaina Ka’anapali Railroad, the eighth fairway is lined with coconut palms, and one unique hazard is crossing Ka’anapali Parkway in your golf cart!
Both courses are convenient, less windy, and less challenging but quite expensive for what you get compared to Kapalua.
The good news is, when you’re done you can go snorkeling off the beach in front of the Sheraton for free! (If you have your own snorkel gear.) And servers walk the beach to take your drink order. A stiff drink may take your mind off a bad game or at least the big hole in your wallet after that expensive round of golf!!
CENTRAL & UPCOUNTRY MAUI GOLF COURSES
These courses are further away from the resort areas and the quality might not be quite as good but you won’t pay $200+ either! You may, however, need a rental car to get to the course.
Dunes at Maui Lani (808-873-7911) was designed by Robin Nelson and opened in 1999. You can find this course on Highway 380 about 1.5 miles south of Puunene Road. Fees are $125 or $80 for twilight. No metal spikes!
This course is far from the ocean with strong winds (not as bad as Kapalua though). There is nice natural rolling terrain coupled with a natural sand dune area (hence the name) along with the wind makes this a challenging course. At hole 4 you’ll see amazing views of the west Maui mountains oh and some really tough bunkers.
Kahili (808-242-4653) is located on Highway 330 in Central Maui. Fees are $110 or $85 for twilight and include GPS carts. The course is in good shape, not too crowded but has little service. You’ll appreciate the nice views of Haleakala in the distance. Thee aren’t any special holes to speak of.
Waiehu Municipal (808-243-7400) is located North of Kahului on Highway 340 ~1.25 miles north of Waiehu Beach Road. Fees are $50, carts are $16 but you can walk here.
This course is in good shape for a municipal course. It is extremely popular especially on the weekends. It’s a fairly easy and relaxing course without many hazards.
Pukalani (808-572-1314) is located off Old Haleakala Highway in Pukalani at the end of Pukalani Street. Fees are $68, or $53 for twilight.
This is a great course for beginners or a fun and relaxing day. It is very straight and most of the greens read true. No need for strategy or accuracy for that matter. No tricky stuff here.