Kapalua Golf Club - Plantation Course
A Maui Must
If you are on the island of Maui, and are a golfer, you must play The Plantation Course at Kapalua. It is such a fun course! You will hit the furthest drives of your career. You are also likely to 4-putt a green or two. The breaks in the greens are mind boggling. Do not miss the green above the hole. I hit a chip shot that is still rolling. The scenic views will even please your wife. I think they charge a rider fee though.
February 15, 2014
One of a Kind in Paradise
Perhaps absent Augusta National and Pebble Beach, I think more American golfers are familiar with this course than any others that they've never played. Typically, we see Kapalua on TV while most of the country in mired in the depths of winter and it always provides such a majestic escape. I've been fortunate enough to cover the Hyundai Tournament for the last 7 years I think, and I try to take advantage of being able to play there when our schedule allows.
It's no secret that Tiger and Phil annually skip the first event of the year. Both have cited a dislike for the course and the windy conditions, but almost to a man, the PGA Tour players who do show up for the event have nothing but praise for the course. And they have to walk, which is nearly impossible (they do get shuttled 4 times before the 10th tee and 2 of those are during the play of the 4th and 8th holes).
The course is, in a word, extreme. I interviewed Geoff Ogilvie about it once on air and he called it an amazing design that only Crenshaw/Coore could pull off. It's built on the side of a mountain for goodness sakes. It has some of the shortest-playing monster holes in the world, and conversely, has some of the longest-playing short holes I've ever seen. On one hole you could hit a 7-iron 240 yards, and then hit the same club to another hole maybe 110 yards in the prevalent tradewinds.
The fairways are huge and the greens are absolutely massive for the most part, and you'll enjoy every inch of it, but the views from a majority of the holes are second to none. The course is in Hawaii which means it has 365 days of perfect growing conditions which translates into the course being in perfect condition every day of the year.
Because of the extreme terrain, the course always makes you feel somewhat off balance. And other than the tee boxes, you'll never have a level lie.
If you're a fan of golf, you'll feel like you've been there before and likely remember every hole on the back nine. I've played many courses in Hawaii, and this is the first I would recommend to anyone who truly loves the game.
Two bits of advice:
First, don't worry about how you hit it on the range. It really is the craziest driving range in history. You hit up a pretty severe hill that's set in a valley. While it's physically to put two different spins on a single shot, the range will make you feel like you've suddenly mastered the low-high-hook-fade. And it's kind of a good thing because you never ever hit one single standard driving range type shot on the course. Kapalua exercises your imagination like no other course I've ever played, and in doing so it just may transport you back to your youth when you used to mess around just trying different and creative shots just for fun.
January 14, 2014