Kapalua - Plantation Course - hole 8
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Kapalua - Plantation Course - hole 8
A double rainbow hangs over the 8th hole on the Plantation course at Kapalua. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Images
Wailea - Emerald course - hole 18
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Wailea - Emerald course - hole 18
Some believe the Emerald course is the most scenic at Wailea. Courtesy of Rob Brown
The Dunes at Maui Lani Golf Course - No. 18
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The Dunes at Maui Lani Golf Course - No. 18
The 18th hole at the Dunes at Maui Lani Golf Course is a long par 5 that plays to a green guarded by water. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Ka'anapali Kai golf course
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Ka'anapali Kai golf course
The Ka'anapali Kai Course on Maui is popular with locals and tourists alike. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Wailea - Blue #4
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Wailea - Blue #4
Wailea's Old Blue is the most affordable course of the three at Wailea. Courtesy of Rob Brown
Wailea Gold course - par 3
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Wailea Gold
The par 3s are spectacular on Wailea Gold. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Kahili Golf Course on Maui - Clubhouse
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Kahili Golf Course on Maui - Clubhouse
Kahili Golf Course on Maui features a large clubhouse with a full restaurant and banquet facilities. Courtesy of Kahili G.C.
Kapalua - Bay course - hole 16
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Kapalua - Bay course - hole 16
The par-4 16th hole introduces the ocean on the Kapalua's Bay course. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Pukalani Country Club - hole 3 greens
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Pukalani Country Club - hole 3 greens
If players can't make the forced carry on the par-3 third hole at Pukalani Country Club, they can play downhill to a more forgiving green. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
Maui Nui GC: #15
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Maui Nui GC: #15
Maui Nui GC: View from #15
Royal Kaanapali
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Royal Kaanapali
A golfer prepares to hit a tee shot on Royal Kaanapali. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
King Kamehameha Golf Club
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King Kamehameha Golf Club
King Kamehameha Golf Club, a Ted Robinson Sr. design, is situated on the slopes of the West Maui Mountains. Courtesy of King Kamehameha G.C.
Makena Golf Course - hole 11
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Makena Golf Course - hole 11
Makena Golf Course has been transformed into an exclusive private club on Maui by Discovery Land Co. Courtesy photo
Maui CC
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Maui CC
A sunny day view from Maui Country Club Maui CC
Manele Golf Course
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Manele Golf Course
The Manele Golf Course on Lanai is one of golf's most scenic rounds. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Cavendish - 5th green
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Cavendish - 5th green
The fifth green at Cavendish is quite elevated. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor

Hawaiian golf: the courses of Maui and Lanai

Some of best golf courses in Hawaii call Maui and nearby Lanai home.

KAPALUA, Maui - It's not uncommon to get lost staring off into the horizon while playing Kapalua's Plantation Course. Avoiding the massive ravines and big bunkers on the Plantation certainly requires your attention, but sometimes the views of the Pacific Ocean are too strong to dismiss. Watching for whales takes priority over putting for bogey.

These are the first-world problems faced by golfers lucky enough to tee it up on Maui or Lanai, a nearby island reached by a 45-minute ferry ride (or flight) from Lahaina. Everywhere you look, there is the beauty of the mountains, the ocean and the tropical palms, plus the contrast of the white bunkers, black volcanic rock and green grass. It's a colorful palette for golf.

The Plantation course, fresh off a 2019 tweaking by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, is the recognizable star as host of the Sentry Tournament of Champions, but with 16 other courses between the two islands, there's golf for all budgets and tastes.

Golf Packages on Maui
Lahaina, Hawaii
Golf Packages
FROM $477 (USD)
Lahaina, Hawaii
Golf Packages
FROM $567 (USD)

Three private courses - the nine-hole Maui Country Club, King Kamehameha (available through a golf package above) and Makena - are generally off-limits on Maui. Everything else is open to the public. My favorites remain Kapalua's Plantation and Bay courses and the Emerald and Gold courses at Wailea with Royal Kaanapali in the mix, too. They're all solid resort courses and fun to play.

I still have much to explore and play, though. The Dunes at Maui Lani, for example, is near enough to the airport to play next time I'm visiting.

Lanai is a unique place. It's almost unfathomable that billionaire Larry Ellison owns 98 percent of the island, including the lavish Four Seasons Lanai. The island's two courses comprise quite the contrast - Manele, a stunning resort course set upon ocean cliffs, and Cavendish, a nine-holer free for anyone to play. One was built by Jack Nicklaus with an oceanfront par 3 where Bill Gates got married. The other is maintained by locals who love the game.

Free golf on an island paradise? That alone is proof golf dreams do come true in Hawaii. Let's tour, in photos, the courses of Maui and Lanai:

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 1,000 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfadvisor and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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Hawaiian golf: the courses of Maui and Lanai
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