Golf has been a favorite activity amidst Hawaiians since well before its statehood. The activity was introduced in Honolulu all the way back in 1895, two years after the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy and a whopping 64 years before the islands officially became the 50th state of the United States.
You might thus call golf quite the institution here, including in Maui which features some of the most gorgeous courses with challenging set-ups and dramatic landscapes to soak up. But if you have limited time on this island, which one should you choose? Here’s a quick run-down of the best features of the top ten courses you will find on the island of Maui:
The Maui Golfer’s Guide: Top 10 Golf Courses on the Island
Kapalua Plantation Course
Golfweek had named Kapalua Plantation Course as the best golf course in Hawaii for fifteen consecutive. That’s the entire Hawaiian islands, not just Maui! The Kapalua Plantation Course was designed to take advantage of the beautiful views and natural landscaping of the West Maui Mountains while likewise offering even the most seasoned professional plenty of challenges. Golfers playing this course will enjoy exciting downhill tee shots, wide fairways, and beautiful greens featuring dramatic ocean backdrops.
Kapalua Bay Course
The Kapalua Bay Course is another Maui golf course beloved by professional golfers. This 18-hole, par 72 golf course has hosted over 20 major professional tournaments since first opening in 1975. In 2018, it underwent a facelift and some re-routing to further emphasize the beauty of the local area and create a better flow throughout. What was the signature 5th hole is now the signature 17th hole and for many, the most memorable hole in Hawaii. This signature hole is a long waterfront par three that features a crystal-clear cove separating the player from the putting green.
Wailea Emerald Course
When it comes to sheer beauty, Wailea Emerald Course is apt to be the best of all the Maui golf courses. Masterfully designed by esteemed architect Robert Trent Jones II, the Wailea Emerald Course’s two main aims were to be beautiful and fun for all player levels. It succeeds on both accounts. This is the place to go to enjoy an engaging, but not overly complicated round of golf.
Wailea Gold Course
Where the Wailea Emerald Course was designed foremost to be fun, the Wailea Gold Course was designed foremost to be a challenge. Of course, natural beauty still abounds. The front nine offers outstanding ocean views with it and the outward nine boasting Bermuda fairways, tiff dwarf greens, and nearly 100 bunkers. This course does feature several forced carries and choosing how to approach some holes can be challenging. Choose this course when you want beauty and a skill test.
Royal Ka’anapali Course
Hawaiians have been playing golf since the 19th century, but this golf course was one of the first official resort courses built. Similar to other resort golf courses designed during the mid-20th century, the Royal Ka’anapali Course is situated amidst condos with tropical landscaping and plenty of ocean views. This course’s signature hole is the 5th hole, a 474-yard par 4 hole featuring a downhill play between flanking bunkers and a beach backdrop.
Want to introduce the kids or other non-golfers to the game? Then you want the Maui Nui course. Maui Nui is renowned as being the best-priced public golf course on Maui, offering an affordable game within a beautiful environment. The course itself was designed in 1987 in tandem with how the trade winds across South Maui and with a layout emphasizing the basics. The result is an 18-hole game that rewards those emphasizing the fundamentals of keeping the ball in play, chipping, and putting.
King Kamehameha Golf Club
The King Kamehameha Golf Club is a prestigious private golf Club nestled within the Central Maui valley. The father-son duo of Ted Robinson Sr. and Jr. designed this 18-hole, par 72 course on the basis of three core principles: Memorability, flexibility, and natural beauty. Members and guests of the King Kamehameha Golf Club can choose from five sets of tees, each offering various challenges. Make sure to end your day with a visit to the stunning clubhouse which was built from a Frank Lloyd Wright design.
Ka’anapali Kai Course
The Kaanapali Kai Course is a great golf course for families thanks to its annual Juniors Play Free Program every summer. Here, young golfers ages 7 to 17 can play for free with one paying adult. The Kaanapali Kai Golf Course features four sets of tees and welcomes all levels of play, although novices are apt to get the most out of a golfing experience here.
Kahili Golf Course
Kahili Golf Course lies amidst the foothills of the West Maui Mountains and boasts 18 holes at a par 72. This Maui golf course is a local favorite and is often the site of Maui and Hawaii-state tournaments. Unlike many of the other golf courses on this list, the Kahili Golf Course is not a resort golf course and so you won’t see many condos or vacation dwellings lining the fairways. This makes it a great choice for those golfers wanting a more natural escape.
Blue Course at Wailea Golf Club
In stark contrast to the Kahili Golf Course, the Blue Course at Wailea Golf Club is a quintessential island resort course that was designed by Arthur Jack Snyder. But while you will have houses on the backdrops, you also will get to enjoy striking the ball amidst backdrop vistas of Mt. Haleakala, the Pacific Ocean, and the bustling village of Wailea.
Learn More About Each of These Courses
If these quick snapshots weren’t enough for you, make sure to check out our full pages for them, each of which breaks down their offerings in detail. Don’t stress once you reach Hawaii, take advantage of our website to plan out those perfect spots for you and your traveling group, to make the most out of your time on the islands!