Maui Golf Rounds

 
  
 
 
  
 


 
 

Most 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 in 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.

Windward Side Golf
Rule of thumb:

Play the windy areas early morning or late afternoon.

The prevailing East to West trades come from southern Mexico and run into the Hawaiian 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.

1.The Dunes at Maui Lani was recently voted one of the best new courses in America. It is a great course with lots of natural sand dunes and the toughest finishing hole on the island...a par 5 which plays really tough when the tradewinds are blowing. We rate The Dunes as one of the must plays in Hawaii.
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2.Pukalani 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 and the cost for green fees are reasonable. 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. Pukalani is a "Must Play" when golfing on Maui.
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3.Kahili 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.
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4.Kapalua - Plantation & Bay. Known for hosting the Mercedes 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 earlier until the trades blow the rain away. We recommend playing in the afternoon, as the course plays easier with the trades blowing downwind on the long tough holes. This one of Hawaii's longest courses.
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5.Waiehu 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 and 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 per day. Waiehu is Maui's cheapest course.
TIP
: Although you're allowed to walk this course, spend the $8 for the cart unless you're in good shape... the back nine is very hilly.

Leeward Side Golf
Rule of thumb:
Perfect conditions in the morning, windy in the afternoon.

The West & South coasts or leeward side of Maui 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 volcano that dominates and shelters the areas. Even the whales like it as they come into the calm waters to give birth and mate again.

1.Makena North is a South Maui favorite. The North plays up and down the mountain and is a very challenging course. As of May '08 the South Course will be closed until further notice. Makena is best in the morning before it gets too hot and humid. Makena may also see a tropical shower in the afternoon. Make sure you play Makena North during your Maui stay. Makena North is a "Must Play" when golfing on Maui.
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2.Wailea - 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 high-handicappers. 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. The Blue is a "Must Play."
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3.Elleair is best played in the morning before the wind kicks up around 11 am. Elleair has had some major renovation work done to it with new grass on the greens and a new type of sand in the bunkers. Elleair is a local favorite and easy on the pocketbook as well. Elleair is a "Must Play" when golfing on Maui.
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4.Kaanapali features two courses for great AM play. The Royal Course hosts the Wendy's Championship Skins Game and has two holes along the beach. The Kai Course is "easier" with wider fairways and is perhaps the only golf course in the country transversed by a steam railway line... bring your camera!
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Lanai
Rule of thumb:
Play Koele in the morning, Manele in the afternoon.

The 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 and you may also have rain.
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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 or afternoon. The pros at the courses suggest If you play both courses, afternoon play 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!
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