Golfing and island vacations have become a great combination for those who love the sport. After all, what’s not to enjoy about being outside all day in a tropical paradise partaking in one of your favorite activities? Doesn’t even have to be among your favorite activities so long as you are teeing off a gorgeous course like the Emerald Golf Course out of the Wailea Golf Club.
Located on the outskirts of Wailea atop hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Wailea Golf Club is one of the most sought-after golf clubs across the Hawaiian islands. This club offers golfing enthusiasts access to three incredible golf courses, all within minutes of Maui’s best beachfront resorts and with its own wonderful dining and shopping outfits. But this review isn’t about the golf club, but rather about one of those three golf courses: The Emerald Course.
The Emerald Course first opened in December 1994 to high acclaim, being voted by Golf Magazine as one of the top ten new courses. The course was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. as a sister course to the more tournament-oriented Gold Course. The goal for the Emerald Golf Course was thus something more delightful to play for golfers of every skill level. Jones Jr. certainly met and quite arguably exceeded that aim.
This is an 18-hole golf course that lazily meanders along the hills and valleys that roll up and down in the shadow of Haleakala. Every hole, in fact, offers spectacular vistas of that dormant volcano and of the Pacific Ocean. Scrutinize how to tackle the challenging second par-5 hole as you watch sailboats lazily cruise to the verdant island of Molokai in the distance.
In addition to those gorgeous and expansive Maui backdrops, golfers will find plenty of beauty closer up as they make their way through the Emerald Golf Course. On the fourth hole, massive black lava rocks guard the green, while a mix of rainforest trees dot the downhill dogleg par-four that is the sixth hole. Just about every corner you turn will lead you to lush tropical landscapes both near and far. It would be truly an effort to not enjoy the sheer natural beauty of the aptly named Emerald Golf Course.
But beauty is one thing, playability is certainly a whole other ball game and a golf course, to be something you will want to go to again and again, must have strong playability. Here, the Emerald Green Course again delivers. Golf Digest voted this course as “most friendly for ladies” due to the holes not requiring sheer force to make, but rather being laid out so that a combination of skill and thought wins the day. Across the 18 holes, you will find wide fairways, approachable greens, and fewer forced carries, thus making the Emerald Green Course an exceptional pick for less experienced players while still being enjoyable by more adept players.
If you are looking for something more serious, then this might not be your first pick. Consider instead its sister course, the Gold Golf Course. Also built and maintained by the Wailea Golf Club, the Gold Golf Course was designed as a tournament-style championship golf course and is a hot pick for those seeking a true challenge in paradise.
-The trade winds can pick up during summer afternoons, but most of the time they will not make a massive impact on one’s playing style. But you can opt to avoid the situation altogether by reserving your tee time before lunch.
-Another reason to book early is that the staff is very strict about evening cut-off and closing times. You may feel rushed if you book later in the afternoon. That said, Happy Hour pricing begins at 3 pm and is considerably less than the general rates. Wailea Resort guests likewise enjoy a nice discount.
-Consider bringing your own drinks and snacks as this is a busy course, and it may be a bit of a wait before you see the beverage cart attendant. You will get a golf cart rental with your reservation that includes a cooler and integrated GPS.