Welcome to Maui, one of the greatest golf destinations in the world! Professionals and amateurs alike visit from all over the globe to play golf on Maui.
The Plantation Course at Kapalua hosts the annual season opening event on the PGA TOUR – the Hyundai Tournament of Champions each January, where tournament winners from the past season are eligible to compete. Kaanapali Golf Courses played host to the Champions Tour Skins Game from 2008-2011.
If you are reading this on Maui, then get out and play some golf yourself. If you are not on Maui, book a trip and get over here, you will really enjoy it. From West Maui’s Kapalua and Ka‘anapali courses to the south shore’s Wailea and Makena courses and various courses in between such as Kahili, The Dunes at Maui Lani, Elleair, Pukalani and Waiehu, you have a variety of styles and levels of difficulty to choose from. Maui courses feature: links style with wide fairways, undulating conditions, fewer trees and some more wind to play with requires more of a bump-and-run style of play; makai (towards the ocean) courses offer a more traditional resort style and are generally less difficult to play, in theory; mauka (towards the mountains) courses are generally more hilly and undulating, so you will never get bored.
While out on the course, keep a few things in mind. Let’s start with the grain of grass on the fairways and greens. The grain of the grass lies generally west toward the current setting sun location because grass points toward the sun until sunset and stays bent in that direction overnight. This means your fairway ball rollouts and putts will have a tendency to go more west than you think. Most of the courses in Hawai‘i have a stronger, thicker Bermuda type grass to handle growth in the salt air from the ocean, so the grain is stronger.
Shadows can help. In the morning, your shadow points toward the setting sun location and the break influence. In the afternoon, your shadow points away. Keep in mind the angle of the sun during various seasons. In June, the sun is actually directly overhead at times around noon, so the angles of the sun at 90 degrees east to west work great for shadow references except near noon. In the winter, the sun is lower on the horizon, so the angles can be a bit off. Knowing the general direction of the grain will greatly benefit you.
The wind can also be a factor. The best tip is to keep the ball down out of the wind. Take the extra club you need and take a backswing, so you can hit the ball solid to counteract the wind effect and lead with the hands through impact to keep the ball low. The player who can fade or draw the ball against the wind on command will have better success.
Remember the most important thing about golf, putting: “Drive for show, putt for dough!”
Now that you have some great advice, don’t just sit there, get out and Tee It Up!
(text by Chris Arnold)