Here today, gone to Maui. A play on words, but it never gets old coming to this island. Sun, sand, beach, snorkeling, whale watching, or watching the sunset. And did I mention golf? With spectacular mountain and ocean views, you can’t go wrong playing any of the courses.
Southwest started service to Hawaii in 2019 with non-stop flights from California direct to Honolulu and Maui. This drove down round-trip pricing froom Oakland to a few hundred dollars on multiple carriers. Yippee.
Three distinct golf destinations on the island of Maui are Wailea in the Southeast, Kaanapali in the West and Kapalua in the Northwest. Wailea and Kaanapali enjoy the better weather. As Kapalua is on the North shore it gets more rain than the other two locations. The best combination of golf and weather is in Wailea. Over the year average high temperatures range from 80 to 87 degrees F and average low temperatures range from 65 to 73 degrees F. You can’t beat the steady and predictable weather for golf.
Wailea enjoys six fantastic beach hotels and eight condo vacation rental villages. We loved to play the Makena North and South courses, but they have taken Makena private.
We play the three public golf courses at Wailea Golf Club – Blue, Gold and Emerald. Located just across the main road in Wailea, they are just minutes from any location in the village. The Wailea Gold course and Emerald course surround two golf villa complexes.
Wailea Golf Club – Three Courses
Robert Trent Jones, Jr. designed the Wailea Gold course and Emerald course in 1994, keeping the original Blue course and closing the original Orange course. We found a stylish clubhouse for the Wailea Gold course Emerald courses further up the hill including a restaurant/bar with fabulous ocean views.
These are classic resort courses with generous fairways, a minimal rough and large gentle greens on the slower side. But many holes have a breathtaking view of Mt. Haleakala and the Pacific. Conditioning of the Bermuda grass is excellent. Yet the courses have the unique Hawaiian design character. The distinct black lava rock outcroppings combine with old stone walls and boxwood bushes throughout the layout. It’s a stunning setting for golf.
Wailea Gold Course
Wailea Gold course is the most challenging of the three, it hosted The Champions Skins Game from 2001 to 2007. Terrain is naturally undulating but not severe. Maybe it’s the serenity, but I had the best round since I started Quintessential Golf, a 1-under 71. Wow!
The first hole is notable. The 400-yard par 4 downhill par4 points directly at the Pacific ocean providing an extraordinary vista to start the round.
Rugged lava outcroppings give a stark black contrast to the green of the fairway and deep blue of the ocean. On holes eight and nine, we easily carry gullies filled with lava rock.
Jones Jr. put teeth into the layout with plentiful and deep greenside bunkering.
Most visitors would put the approach shot into the 409 yard par 4 eighteenth high on their list of beautiful closing shots. Brown beach-like sand surrounds the green framed in palm trees. The ocean to the left and the white clubhouse perched above to the right elicit a tranquil feeling capping off a beautiful round of golf in the islands.
Explore other Hawaii golf courses from Quintessential Golf Magazine.