September 11, 2012
Discovering Maui golf's grandest plantation course
For golfers on the mainland, the PGA Tour's season opener at Kapalua is one of the most powerful fantasies that HD television has to offer. The course seems like a dream world, with its emerald fairways, towering Cook pines and — set against the glittering waters of the Pacific — views of the neighboring island of Molokai. And yet, TV doesn't do it justice. Visitors' first impressions of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw's design often involve shock, because of the absolute beauty of the place, and awe, over its size. On this course, carved from the mountainous slopes of a former pineapple plantation, we feel dwarfed by our surroundings, and sometimes humbled by the elements.
Hawaiian golf is often stereotyped as a manicured lark, lush and easy, but Kapalua is ruled by the long-haul trade winds trucking down from Alaska. (The secret to posting a good score here is to play in the morning, before the big breezes kick up.) I learned this on my very first tee shot on the Plantation, while honeymooning at the resort in 2006. …
Click here to read more in the Fall 2012 issue of The Ritz-Carlton Magazine