The Dunes at Maui Lani, located in central Maui just 5 minutes from Kahului Airport, is one of the hidden jewels of America s 50th state. When it opened in 1999 it earned honors as one of the country s best new courses, and it still appears on Golf Advisor s list of the Top Courses in Hawaii. Whereas most tourists flock to the famous, high-priced golf resorts on Maui s coasts, island residents are more likely to be found at this inland Robin Nelson-designed course that is not connected to any resort. Tee times at The Dunes at Maui Lani provide great value and a links-style experience unlike anything else on the island. The course is situated on an isthmus between Haleakala, a 10,000-foot-tall volcano, and the heavenly West Maui Mountains. Nelson, a golf architect who worked extensively in Hawaii, carved the playing field out of a kiawe tree forest that sits on an ancient alluvial sand ridge. Much in the manner of the links courses of the British Isles, The Dunes at Maui Lani is an ideal site for golf with its heaving dunes and sand-based turf. Very little earth-moving was required on this playing field that brings one s focus back to the exciting movement of the land. Once players set off from the clubhouse, they don t return until the end of the round. The front nine heads straight out for two miles straight into the tradewinds, while the back nine marches straight back as players gain the benefit of helping winds. Nelson factored the wind into the routing a quick glance at the scorecard shows the back nine is 600 yards longer than the front nine. The Dunes at Maui Lani has all the characteristics and strategic elements of links golf up and down holes with significant elevation changes, tricks with depth perception, risk/reward options, blind and semi-blind shots, pot bunkers, and huge undulating greens. The 3rd hole, with its green sitting diagonally behind two front dunes, conjures visions of the famous Dell Hole at Lahinch in Ireland. The par-5 4th hole , with its fairway encased by the kiawe forest, is one of the toughest and most memorable tests of the round. Not only does the fairway get narrower as its proceeds, but the final approach is uphill to a blind green stoutly defended by a devilish false front and sod-faced bunkers. Though The Dunes at Maui Lani is a tough course, five sets of tee boxes give all levels of players a chance to enjoy the round. Practice facilities include a driving range and a pitching and putting green. The driving range looks out on the West Maui Mountains. This friendly daily fee facility also a has nice pro shop and a very good restaurant. Don t miss out on the Dunes at Maui Lani. A tee time here is not only very affordable by Hawaii standards, it is also one of the most unique and surprising golf experiences on Maui.