As many of our faithful followers know, we departed from the frozen Alberta tundra on January 9th, and about 8 hours later found ourselves on the beautiful 1.2 million year old volcanic island of Maui.
This is my first trip to Maui, or any Hawaiian island for that matter. So what’s all the fuss about?
Pretty much everything.
The fine sand beaches are stunning, the ocean is warm, the vistas are good from anywhere on the island, the sun is hot, the seafood is fresh and, yes, there is excellent golf to be played. It’s a tropical paradise – with a Costco!
On Day 1 we took in the final round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua’s Plantation Course. Television does not do the views and terrain of this golf course justice. It was a real treat to see many of the best players in the world up-close in that setting. We can’t wait to play there ourselves on Tuesday. I have a feeling Spieth made it look a little easier than it is in reality for us mortals.
View from the 10th green:
The past few days have been spent staying active with golf, hiking up the Waihee Ridge Trail, morning beach walks, as well as some happy hours and relaxing beach time.
Beth and I along Waihee Ridge Trail:
I will be publishing full course reviews on these courses in the weeks to come. In a nutshell, Pukalani offered up tremendous value, and a lot of fun holes. Our games were a bit rusty, but we were playing golf in January, so life was good.
Yours truly on the 14th hole (photo by Matt Beauchamp):
Maui Nui was also pretty good value for the golf, but the highlight was the post-round happy hour and sunset on their patio. Not only was the view great, but so were the specials. Half price appies and a promotion for golfers where the cost of your second beer is determined by your score. I shot 77, so my second beer was 77 cents. If that’s not living the dream, I don’t know what is.
Here’s our Hawaii crew at sunset. From left to right: Amy, Matt, Jane, Beth, and myself.
Then there was the Jack Nicklaus designed Manele Golf Course on the island of Lanai, which is in a league of its own. From Maui, it’s a 45-minute ferry ride ($60 round trip – views of whales jumping included) over to Lanai, where a golf course representative picks you up and shuttles you up the hill to the golf course. If non-stop ocean views, challenging golf in perfect conditions, and 5-star service isn’t for you, then I highly recommend avoiding this place. The free fruit kabobs and mango lemonade provided by the staff on the course was also a hardship.
The 12th hole, where Bill Gates got married (photo by Wayne Halm):
Hitting a shot from the “Nicklaus tees” (Photo by Matt Beauchamp):
Beth flag hunting on the same hole:
As an added bonus, fellow golf blogger and friend, Wayne Halm, came over from Kauai to join us for the round. Although the putts weren’t falling, we had fun, shared some laughs, exchanged stories, and were humbled by Beth as she beat all the boys – despite leaving all her birdie putts short! You can check out Wayne’s blog, Golfing on Kauai – right here.
Wayne had yellow ducks on his shorts, which added to everyone’s enjoyment of the round.
Two happy gentleman on the first tee (photo by Beth Strukoff):
Wayne on the 17th tee:
Something I particularly love about Maui is how nice out it can be right from sunrise to sunset. This makes it great to fit in multiple activities in one day. You can play a morning round and enjoy the beach in the afternoon, or vice versa. We’ve been fortunate with nothing but sunshine and mild afternoon breezes, so there hasn’t been a time of day that wasn’t perfect.
Tonight we’re off to our first Luau, and I couldn’t be more excited to eat a pig that is cooked in the ground.
Stay tuned for more adventures from Maui.
(Published from my iPhone)