8 of Maui’s Best Golf Courses
One statistic from NBC’s Golf Pass says it all: the average golf course on Maui gets a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. Here’s a list of some of our especially spectacular courses, where ideal weather year-round combines with jaw-dropping scenery to make every round memorable.
West Maui Golf Courses
Probably the best-known course on Maui, the Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort (home of the Sentry Tournament of Champions each January) has been ranked by Golfweek Magazine as #1 in the Hawaiian Islands for 15 consecutive years. The course originally opened in 1991, but the fairways, greens, tee boxes, bunkers, and approaches were completely revamped just before the 2020 Sentry. Nestled into the West Maui Mountains on what was once pineapple fields, it features major elevation changes, several downhill tee shots, wide fairways, expansive greens, and views of the ocean from every hole. This northernmost course on Maui, designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, is a 7,596-yard par 73.
Not to be outdone by its sister course at Kapalua Resort, the Bay Course has actually hosted more professional tournaments than any other location on the neighbor islands. In Hawaiian terminology, it is situated makai of the Plantation Course — meaning, closer to the ocean — which gives it the distinction of several extraordinary oceanfront holes. In fact, its infamous par-3 17th plays over the Pacific to a seacliff green on the opposite side of a bay. Totaling 6,600 yards, this par 72 was designed by Arnold Palmer and Frances Duane.
Just south of Kapalua, the Kā`anapali Golf Courses include the Royal Kā`anapali and Kā`anapali Kai, 36 holes that have hosted both LPGA events and the Tour of Champions. The Royal Kā`anapali was the first championship course to open on Maui, and is one of only two courses in Hawai`i designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. A par 71 of 6,700 yards, it starts at sea level and continues along the shoreline before moving mauka (toward the mountains) into former sugar plantation lands. Its generous greens and gently sloping fairways provide panoramic views of the ocean and the islands of Moloka`i and Lāna`i.
South Maui Golf Courses
Golf Digest ranks the Gold Course highest among the three at Wailea Golf Club, on Maui’s south shore. Also the most demanding (because of strategically placed bunkers and natural ravines), it is the former home of the Champions Skins Game. Robert Trent Jones Jr.’s award-winning design, set within the foothills of the Haleakalā volcano, capitalizes on the natural undulations of the topography. This par 72 extends for 7,078 yards, hemmed in by centuries-old lava rock walls, with views of the Pacific, neighboring island Kaho`olawe, and the Molokini Crater.
Also designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., Wailea’s 6,825-yard par 72 Emerald Course is similar to the Gold when it comes to elevation changes and ocean views. But this one is intended to be fun for every level of player and a visual treat! It includes a number of downhill tee shots with gorgeous views toward the ocean, along with a beautiful lake, coconut palms swaying in the trade winds, and lava rock dotting an otherwise lush, tropical landscape.
Wailea Golf Club’s par 71 Blue Course winds its way through the scenic Wailea resort area for a total of 6,545 yards. Thanks to well-placed coral sand bunkers, Old Blue offers a challenging but fun experience. Fair warning, though: it may also present other hazards, like highly distracting views of whales breaching in the ocean and rainbows appearing over Haleakalā’s stunning slopes.
Central Maui Golf Courses
Dunes at Maui Lani
Looking for an Irish links-style course? Built on naturally occurring dune terrain in the valley between the two volcanoes that formed Maui, the Dunes at Maui Lani‘s 6,840 yards feature dramatic, natural sand dunes – inland, of all places! This par 72 was designed by Robin Nelson, the most prolific golf course architect in the Hawaiian Islands.
King Kamehameha Golf Club
Last but not least, the King Kamehameha Golf Club has a unique claim to fame: a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed clubhouse. Its 7,060-yard, par 72 course was originally designed by Ted Robinson Sr. and later refreshed by Ted Robinson Jr. Situated in the foothills of the West Maui Mountains, it boasts striking Pacific Ocean and Haleakalā views, along with tiered greens and tricky bunker placements.
With so many incredible courses to choose from here, you may find yourself thinking about making the Valley Isle home! Contact me with any questions you may have about Maui real estate and our many exceptional golf communities. Looking for more to do on Maui? Check out my guide to Maui’s best happy hours.
Nancy Beebe, REALTOR(S), SRES