MAUI - Golf Courses

Maui best golf coursesKaanapali Courses (tel. 808/661-3691): All golfers, from high handicappers to near-pros, will love these two challenging courses. The North Course is a true Robert Trent Jones, Jr. design: an abundance of wide bunkers; several long, stretched-out tees; and the largest, most contoured greens on Maui. The South Course is an Arthur Jack Snyder design; although shorter than the North Course, it does require more accuracy on the narrow, hilly fairways. Just like its sibling course, it has a water hazard on its final hole, so don't tally up your score card until the final putt is sunk.

Kapalua Resort Courses (tel. 877/527-2582): Kapalua is probably the best nationally known golf resort in Hawaii, due to the PGA Kapalua Mercedes played here each January. The Bay Course and the Village Course are vintage Arnold Palmer designs; the new Plantation Course is a strong entry from Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore. All are sited on Maui's windswept northwestern shore, at the rolling foothills of Puu Kukui, the summit of the West Maui Mountains.

Wailea Courses (tel. 888/328-MAUI): On the sunbaked south shore of Maui stands Wailea Resort, the hot spot for golf in the islands. You'll find great golf at these three resort courses: The Blue course is an Arthur Jack Snyder design, and the Emerald and Gold courses are both by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. All boast outstanding views of the Pacific and the mid-Hawaiian Islands.

Makena Courses (tel. 808/879-3344): Here you'll find 36 holes by "Mr. Hawaii Golf"--Robert Trent Jones, Jr.--at his best. Add to that spectacular views: Molokini islet looms in the background, humpback whales gambol offshore in winter, and the tropical sunsets are spectacular. The South Course has magnificent views (bring your camera) and is kinder to golfers who haven't played for a while. The North Course is more difficult but also more spectacular. The 13th hole, located partway up the mountain, has a view that makes most golfers stop and stare. The next hole is even more memorable: a 200-foot (60m) drop between tee and green.

The Lanai Courses: For quality and seclusion, nothing in Hawaii can touch Lanai's two golf-resort offerings. The Experience at Koele (tel. 808/565-4600), designed by Ted Robinson and Greg Norman, and The Challenge at Manele (tel. 808/565-2222), a wonderful Jack Nicklaus course with ocean views from every hole, both rate among Hawaii's best courses. Both are tremendous fun to play, with the Experience featuring the par-four 8th hole, which drops some 150 yards from tee to fairway, and the Challenge boasting the par-three 12th, which plays from one cliff side to another over a Pacific inlet--one of the most stunning holes in Hawaii.