Maui Golf Is Mesmerizing

Maui Golf Is Mesmerizing 1IT WAS 18 YEARS AGO to the month that I made my first trip to the Hawaiian Islands. Maui, to be exact. Here’s how it happened. One gray winter day in Seattle I came home from my job at Boeing and said to my wife, “Let’s go to Hawaii. Right now.” (Seattle winters can do that to a person.)

So we went, but not until early May, which was perfect. As I remember it, the weather was relatively mild by Hawaii standards. Of course, I took my golf clubs. I didn’t really care how much it would cost. I had to play.

(Photo: Royal Ka’anapali at Ka’anapali Golf Resort /

courtesy of Steve & Alicia/Flickr)

I can’t tell you a lot about Hawaii golf. I can tell you a bit about Maui, though, which is where we spent nine blissful days sipping Kona coffee, eating fresh pineapple and homemade banana bread by the pool every morning, and tripping around the island in a small red convertible. It was before kids, a lifetime ago.

I only played golf two of those days, a break from sightseeing in Lahaina, on the road to Hana, at a nearby rainforest, and atop Haleakala. The first course I played was Royal Ka’anapali, a Robert Trent Jones Sr. design the seniors have frequented as a Champions Tour stop. I remember it was windy and I didn’t play very well. The layout wasn’t overly difficult, a good resort course for all levels. Green fees were $90. That was a lot in 1992. I didn’t care. I had to play golf. It was part of the Maui experience.

Kapalua Resort was my second and final golf outing. I teed it up at the Plantation Course, site of the season-opening SBS Championship. Words can’t do justice to the surroundings. I can still recall looking out across the sloping course and sparkling blue waters to the nearby island of Molokai. It was mesmerizing, one of my best all-time golf memories. The green fees were $125. I felt like a big shot. Then I found out I could play a second 18 for just $25, so I went 36 that day. My game was respectable. I shot in the low 80s. The experience was bucket-list material.

I know there are many more Hawaii golf courses, and I hope to get back. I’d definitely return to Maui, but now that I live on the East Coast the Caribbean is also a likely golf destination.

−The Armchair Golfer

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Neil Sagebiel

3 thoughts on “Maui Golf Is Mesmerizing”

  1. It's sort of a useless line saying that a trip to Hawaii sounds great – that kind of goes without saying…ok…it sounds like a great trip !

    Did you get to the North Shore ? How were the breaks ? Any good surfing to watch ?

    Did you get any Maui Tacos ? Delicious there…not so much on the mainland.

  2. Color me jealous. I was in Wailea for two weeks in 1986. Unfortunately I hadn't picked up golf at that time. Now I watch the broadcasts from tourneys near where I stayed and drool.

    80s at the Plantation. Nice work.

  3. Court: We did watch some surfing on a couple sides of the island, which was fun. I can't remember Maui tacos. I surely would have tried them. Did the traditional luau — it was a blast.

    AG: You'll have to go back with your clubs!


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