Kapalua Golf Course

Some of the best golfing in the country can be found in Hawaii, and each golf course in Kapalua is among the best of the best. Like Kaanapali, located farther west around the coast and near Lahaina, Kapalua is a planned resort community. These two communities, in addition to the Wailea Beach area on the far south coast, consisted of little more than endless sugar cane and pineapple fields until the tourism boom between the 1960s and the 1980s, when the Kapalua Golf Course and Resort was first envisioned. Today, Kapalua golf is played by some of the best golfers in the world. You can learn some of this history on the Pineapple Express, a tour that takes you through the nearby Maui tropical plantation that is the largest grower and producer of Hawaiian pineapples.

The Kapalua Golf Course and Resort complex is built along two Maui beaches, Kapalua Beach and D.T. Fleming Beach Park. Kapalua Beach is very popular with families, as it is well-protected by lava rock outcroppings on both sides, which helps to keep the waters quite calm. The beach is known for its spectacular sunsets and is consequently a popular place for Maui weddings.

The Kapalua Golf Course actually consists of three courses. Regarded as the best golf course in Kapalua is the Plantation, designed by Bill Coore and Ben Bradshaw. One of the major events of the region is the season opener of the PGA Tour, the PGA Mercedes-Benz Championship, that occurs here each January. This is a par 73, 7,411-yard course. The view over the sparkling blue waters and beaches, with mountains and pineapple fields as a backdrop, is quite stunning. On clear days, you can see the neighboring islands of Molokai and Lanai. From December through April, you can combine your Kapalua golf with Maui whale watching, as the giant humpbacks migrate by.

The other principle golf course in Kapalua is the Bay Course, the first one built at the resort and designed by golf legend Arnold Palmer and Francis Duane. This is a 72 par course, 6,600 yards in length. The front nine holes have junior tees. Total amateurs and dabblers can get a taste of Kapalua golf on the three-hole Village Walking Course. There is also the prestigious Kapalua Golf Academy, providing instruction for golfers of all skill levels.

The swankiest accommodation at the resort is the five-star Ritz Carlton Kapalua. It was completed in 1992. It was moved slightly inland after the excavation for the initial foundation uncovered an ancient Hawaiian burial ground. This wahi pana (sacred area) is now set aside as the Honokahua Preservation Site. Both of the main Kapalua Golf Courses are designated Audubon sanctuaries, and the Kapalua Golf Course and Resort has set aside the largest private nature reserve in Hawaii—the Puu Kukui Reserve, one of the state’s most biologically diverse regions. There are also two other Kapalua hotels, luxury homes, villas, and numerous other Maui vacation rentals. Other things to do in Kapalua include playing at the tennis facilities, eating at fine gourmet dining venues, and excellent shopping. You can book vacation packages that include other outdoor activities as well as tours of the island and nearby Lahaina.

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