Volume #1  
by Steven M. Savitz InfoMaui


There are two things you have to know about golfing in the islands: the best golf in the country is in Hawaii, and the best golf in Hawaii is located right here on Maui. There are sixteen golf courses located on the Valley Isle, and all but one of them (Maui Country Club) are open to the public all year round. We have ten championship caliber resort courses, a seaside links municipal course, a course located 1500 feet above sea level on the slopes of Mt. Haleakala, and several others located in the central valley of Maui. Our resort courses are known for their breathtaking scenery and vistas, their fast-breaking Bermuda greens and, of course our famous trade winds, which can turn even the most benign course into a true challenge and test of your golfing prowess. Over the years, the PGA, Senior PGA, Ladies PGA and the Japanese PGA have all held tournaments here. At Halloween, the PGA visits Kapalua for the Lincoln-Mercury Kapalua Open, and a week later the Seniors visit Kaanapali for the Royal Kaanapali Classic. The Ladies have held their Kemper Open at the Wailea Blue Course, and the Japanese Tour stops here as well. The Hawaii State Open is played from the tips at Makena South. If you’re lucky enough to be here during one of these tournaments be sure and come out and watch: there is no gallery charge for any of these events!

People always ask me "which course is the best" or "what course is your favorite". I guess each individual will have to make that decision for themselves. My good friend Dr. Garrett and I try to get out twice a week, and usually at least one of those times will be at Makena. There are two golf courses at Makena, the North, which winds across the gentle slopes and ravines of South Maui, and the South, which crosses Makena road and heads down to the ocean. The two signature holes are the tenth, a nifty, almost reachable par 5, except for the two lakes the hug the fairway, and Virgil Paull’s favorite hole, the majestic par three fifteenth, which heads down to the ocean, offering great views of Molokini, Kahoolawe and breaching whales from November through May. In terms of a great golf experience you owe it to yourself to try one or both of these courses. They’re tough, beautiful, and the folks in the Pro shop go out of their way to make sure your golfing experience is first class.

If you’re staying on Maui’s West side (or even if you’re not), try and get out on one of the Kapalua courses. The weather is much more of a factor here than down south in Makena, with strong trade winds and occasional squalls that might come through. I prefer the Village and Plantation courses over the Bay course, but the Bay goes right down to the ocean and features the signature fifth hole, a par three where your tee shot goes over a small bay. The Village is an Arnold Palmer course, par 71, that goes up into the canyons of the West Maui mountains (bring some bread for the ducks on the fifth hole), and the signature sixth hole offers one of the most awe inspiring views of the Pacific Ocean and the Islands of Molokai and Lanai. The last two rounds of the Lincoln-Mercury Kapalua Open are played on the Plantation Course, a huge 7300 yard, par 73 Ben Crenshaw layout that has some of the most unusual and interesting holes on the island. Try and play with a local the first time as some of the holes just have a Scottish-type striped pole in the fairway for a direction indicator. There are driveable par fours, and there is nothing better than finishing on eighteen, a 600+ yard par five that plays downwind and down hill. A great opportunity to finish with a three hundred yard drive (last year Fred Couples hit driver - nine iron and was pin high! - what a great hole.) Well that’s it for now; I have the 12:28 tee time on Wailea’s Emerald Course - I don’t want to keep the Doctor waiting!
Steven M. Savitz, President of Golf Maui and 12 year veteran of the local courses, offers customized golf vacations on Maui. For more informtion you can contact him at sms@infomaui.com .