to play golf on Maui and Lanai
By Clif Council, PGA
think of golfing the Hawaiian Islands as a sunny and warm experience
with gentle trade winds. But those who have been here know that the
conditions vary and each island has its own unique weather pattern.
Being the middle of the Pacific Ocean and in the tropical section
23º above the equator gives Hawaii some of the best weather conditions
in the world. The yearly temperature only changes 2 degrees between
summer and winter but most prefer the winter conditions because it's
slightly cooler and the trade winds can stop for weeks at a time.
do I play and when? Here are some of my suggestions as a 30-year resident
and PGA teaching pro.
Courses marked with a star are MUST PLAYS!
Play the windy courses early morning or late afternoon.
prevailing East to West trades come from southern Mexico and run
into the Hawaii islands after 3,000 miles of open sea. Warmed by the
tropical waters, the trades sometimes produce rainsqualls and short
showers as they bump into the old volcano slopes on the eastern or
windward sides of Maui. From Hana to Paia, and Wailuku to Kapalua
the trade winds and showers prevail during the morning hours, since
the wind is moving slower during the cooler periods of the day. As
the temperature increases the trades increase in velocity and blow
the clouds over the island faster making the rainsqualls shorter.
|Pot bunkers guard the green on the Dunes 14th.
Dunes at Maui Lani was recently voted one of the best new courses
in America. Great course with lots of natural sand dunes, large
lakes in the middle of the front nine and on the finishing par 5...
one of Maui's toughest finishing holes with the trade winds blowing. I'd rate The Dunes one of the must
plays in Hawaii. For more, see How
to Play the Dunes.
Country Club. This upcountry course is fun and not expensive.
It gets lots of play in the winter as the weather is normally very
nice early in the morning. The 1500-foot elevation makes
for cooler playing conditions and nice views of West Maui and Haleakala.
The trade winds start around 11am so play early and get back to
the condo for an afternoon on the beach or relax by the pool.
Golf Club, formerly Sandalwood, is nestled into the windward
side of the West Maui Mountains. It can catch a good deal of wind
and sometimes drizzles in the afternoon. Kahili is a fun course,
but watch out for those raised par 3s and the side hill lies. A natural layout set along West Maui foothills, oceanviews.
Plantation Course Known for hosting the SBS Championship, the Plantation is an exciting wide-open golf course
that plays tight because of the crossing trade winds and waist high
tall grass surrounding the boundaries. Conditions can be calmer
in the morning but it rains frequently until the trades blow the clouds
away.The Bay Course is another Maui favorite and plays down to the ocean on holes #4 and #5, along the Tall Cook Pines and Ironswoods. The front nine can be windy but the oceanholes make it a "Must Play" Book here.
|The Plantation Course... long and tough.
Muni, known as the poor man's Pebble Beach, this is Maui's
first coastline course built. It has a fun front nine with most
of the holes bounding the ocean and a hilly back nine with lots
of short par 4's. Greens can be little weedy, but overall this is
a fun course for golfers wanting an oceanfront experience. Be prepared
for slow going and lots of six-somes, as the course gets 400 players
Perfect conditions in the morning, windy in the afternoons.
West & South coasts or leeward side are known for their sunny
calm conditions which golfers and beach lovers enjoy. It is calmer
and drier because the trade winds blow around these areas leaving
a pocket of still air and sunny conditions for most of the morning.
These windless areas are Lahaina & Kaanapali on the West and Kihei,
Wailea & Makena in the South. The most popular resorts are located
here behind the big volcanoe that dominates and shelters the areas.
Even the whales like it as they come into the calm waters to give
birth and mate again.
|The 15th green on Makena South is a par 3 right
on the water.
North is one of Maui's favorites. The North plays
up and down the mountain and is a very challenging course. The North upper nine was rennovated and has the faster hybrid berumda greens
on the upper nine. Makena is best in the morning before it gets too hot and humid.
At Makena you may also see a afternoon cloud cover in the afternoon. Make sure
you play Makena North during your Maui stay. For playing tips
to Play Makena North. Is Now Closed
Blue, Emerald & Gold
Courses are near Makena, so approximately the same weather conditions
apply. Morning play is cooler with less wind. The Blue Course's
wide fairways make it popular with the average golfer. For the
ladies, Wailea's Emerald Course is a MUST PLAY... Golf Digest voted
the Emerald Course "most friendly for ladies." However,
from the back tees it's no pushover. Most challenging of the three
is the Gold Course with its great ocean views. It has lush fairways
and fast greens. All three Wailea course are "must plays."
|View from the tee at he 8th hole on Wailea's
is best played in the morning before the wind kicks up around 11
am. Elleair is a fun family course for late afternoon golf, good twilgiht rates
|The Sugar Cane Train crosses the tressle
at the tee of the 7th hole on Kaanapali's South course.
features two courses for great AM play. The North Course(Royal) is the
former PGA Senior Tournament site and plays two holes along the
beach. The South Course(Kai) is "easier" with wider fairways
and is perhaps the only golf course in the country transversed by
a steam railway line... bring your camera!
Play Koele in the morning, Manele in the afternoon.
|Another view of Koele's 17th hole
Experience at Koele is up on the mountain above Lanai City at
about 1,800 feet of elevation and plays through lush greenery and
Cook Pines. It boasts the 444 yd. par 4 17th hole that shoots, from
the back tees, into Lanai's deepest ravine 250 ft. below. Morning
play is best while the day is calm. It can get cool up there, so you
may want to bring along a sweater. By afternoon, the winds kick up so best played early if you plan to play both courses.
|Aerial view of the cliff-hugging holes on The
Challenge at Manele plays along the water and across the high
ocean cliffs. Every hole has sweeping ocean views and many require
precision shots from cliff to cliff. Conditions are good either morning
But, if you play both courses, we suggest you play The Challenge in the
afternoon as it leaves you closer to the ferry allowing a more relaxed
19th hole. Last ferry leaves at 6:30pm so don't miss it. This is a
special golfing experience in Hawaii so don't miss out, play both
the same day!
with Maui Golf Shop and SAVE.
Pukalani Country Club
the way, my favorite course on Maui was Makena
to Play Makena North for my tips. Closed
Tip: Spend the Day Golfing Lanai
The Challenge at Manele
and The Experience at Koele offer an unforgettable experience
for the avid golfer. They are Nicklaus and Norman signature courses,
one at the top of Lana'i and the other right on the ocean... with
a Maui to Lana'i boat trip to boot!
this an all-day golfing adventure.
Take the first ferry from Lahaina
Harbor at 6:45 am and enjoy the short ocean trip as the sun rises
over Haleakala and the dolphins dance around the boat. Maybe a whale
will pop up as you enter Manele Bay. The local shuttle service will
take you to The Experience at Koele in Lanai City for an early 18
holes on the mountain. The $10 shuttle fee is good for the entire
day and allows you to ride to both courses and back to the boat.
After lunch go on to The Challenge
for another 18 holes on the cliffs of Manele Bay. This is a once in a lifetime all-day golf adventure
you must experience! Catch the 4:30 or 6:30 ferry and watch the sunset
with a Mai Tai at your favorite Lahaina restaurant. You'll be asleep
by 9pm when you get home. Book
your Lanai Golfing Day (including the ferry) with Maui Golf Shop and
And remember, you can rent your
clubs at the Maui Golf Shop for as little as $20/ day or hand
pick a deluxe brand name set for up to $45 multi day. See our rates on Rentals
For the best golf deals and prices come to Maui
Golf Shop before you play.
WE CAN SAVE YOU MONEY - Club Rental Special Pay 1 day, get 2nd day Free,
Don't Bring your Clubs! Weekly Club Rentals pay only 3 days get 4 days Free
To Maui Golf Map
for business on December 25, 1998
All rights reserved