Review: Kapalua Golf – Plantation Course

The Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf is located on the beautiful Hawaiian island of Maui, and has become a true bucket-list destination for many golfers.

Designed by golf course design geniuses Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, The Plantation Course makes the most of its location perched along the West Maui Mountains with constant, stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. It features a unique par-73 layout which can be stretched out to 7,411 yards from the back tees. However, with several holes playing significantly downhill, it feels shorter than the scorecard yardage.

The view walking out of the clubhouse which overlooks the 1st tee (and short game area directly to the right):

Kapalua Golf Plantation Course Review

Initially intended to play only as a resort course, Coore and Crenshaw provided players with wide fairways, minimal forced carries, and large undulating greens to make it playable, fun, and challenging for everyone. However, the genius of Coore and Crenshaw made the Plantation Course worthy of the best players in the game as host of the PGA Tour’s annual Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

We were fortunate to attend the final round of the Tournament of Champions just nine days before playing the golf course ourselves. From the moment we first stepped on the property while attending the tournament, to the time we walked off the 18th green after playing it ourselves, we were extremely impressed with the golf course. It is safe to say that television does not do the terrain justice.

The continuous undulations, elevation changes, and several blind tee shots will test you, but each hole provides a fair opportunity for every skill level. Even the well protected greens provide an avenue for the higher handicap player to run it up on the green, if necessary.

The approach to the short par-4 3rd hole:

Kapalua Golf Plantation Course Review

Golf aside, this property would still be a fantastic place to spend 4.5 hours of your day. To be able to play golf on that piece of land is truly magnificent. You couldn’t escape the views if you tried.

Looking back down the par-4 4th fairway:

IMG_6459

Photo by: Beth Strukoff

Beth ripping a drive on the par-5 5th hole:

IMG_6460

The greens on the Plantation Course are cleverly designed, and vary noticeably in size depending on what type of shots they’re expected to receive. The largest greens on the course are the long par-4’s and the par-5’s, and the small greens are on shorter holes where more wedges and short irons will be used.

View looking back on the large par-5 5th green where I took an easy three-putt for par from the left side:

Kapalua Golf Plantation Course Review

The tee shot on the long, downhill, dogleg right par-4 7th hole:

Kapalua Golf Plantation Course Review

One of the only forced carries on the golf course, the par-3 8th hole:

Kapalua Golf Plantation Course Review

If you’re lucky enough to visit Maui during humpback whale season, you’ll enjoy quite a show from several spots on the golf course. Overlooking the 10th green where views of jumping whales were plentiful (taken during the Hyundai Tournament of Champions):

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One of my favorite spots on the golf course, the beautiful par-3 11th hole:

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Photo by: Matt Beauchamp

Beth on the 11th hole:

Kapalua Golf Plantation Course Review

Looking back on the long, downhill, par-4 17th hole:

Kapalua Golf Plantation Course Review

Tee shot on the dramatically downhill par-5 18th hole, where you couldn’t miss the generous fairway if you tried:

Kapalua Golf Plantation Course Review

The view of the par-5 18th hole after a drive in the fairway:

Kapalua Plantation 18th hole

The Plantation Course is truly one of a kind, and to experience it you’ll have to shell out a bit of cash. The current published green fee rate on their website is $299 for non-resort guests, and $239 for resort guests.

The only knock on our experience was the service-to-cost ratio. For the price tag, we were a bit underwhelmed by the service. The gentlemen who checked-in our group didn’t feel very welcoming, and the only information they offered up about our upcoming experience was how much we owed them for it. The food options during the round for a big ticket course were also disappointing, with two types of sandwiches being the only options. Relative to other bucket-list courses we have played, it definitely fell short in those departments. It simply could have been an off day, but big ticket courses shouldn’t overlook the value of ensuring top tier service is consistently delivered when customers are shelling out big dough to be there.

Luckily, the biggest reason we were there was to play golf, and the golf course spoke for itself. To play world-class golf in a beautiful and unique setting such as Maui was a dream come true. If the Kapalua Golf Plantation Course isn’t on your bucket list, I would consider adding it. If it is on your list, I can attest to the fact that scratching it off is well worth the effort.

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  16 comments for “Review: Kapalua Golf – Plantation Course

  1. February 15, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    Stunning views. I watch the season opening tourney ever year just because it’s so great. ( I know it’s no longer the season opener with the wraparound season). A few years back it was sponsored by Mercedes and my friend in California won a sectional qualifier and was flown out to play the Pro Am it was an amazing experience he said. I’ve added this course to my bucket list as you suggest ⛳️⛳️⛳️👍👍👍

    • February 16, 2016 at 12:24 pm

      Hi Linley,

      It is indeed a great tourney to watch on TV, and a great golf course! Definitely worthy of being on the bucket list — good decision putting it on there!

      Cheers
      Josh

  2. February 15, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    Josh

    The course looks awesome. It is interesting how the service or should I say lack of service tainted your view of the overall experience. There is something to say about value on these big ticket courses. Regardless, the golf sounds awesome!

    Cheers
    Jim

    • February 16, 2016 at 12:23 pm

      Jim,

      Thanks, the course was definitely awesome! It’s amazing how it can enhance your feel of a place/experience when the people go the extra mile to make you feel welcome.

      Cheers!
      Josh

  3. February 16, 2016 at 6:15 am

    Great pictures. Looks like you guys had a blast. I have always liked this course! You guys need a trip to SC!

    • February 16, 2016 at 12:25 pm

      Thanks TGT! Was a fun day of golf indeed.

      I agree, a trip to SC would be awesome! It’s on the list.

      Cheers
      Josh

      • February 17, 2016 at 11:37 am

        You guys are welcome any time! Just not in tax season!

  4. February 18, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Aloha Josh,

    Great post, love the pictures. Kapalua has some mighty fine courses. But now that you mention it, I’ve never heard anyone complain about the staff being excessively friendly or helpful.

    Did Matt even up your bet there?

    A Hui Hou,
    Wayne

    • February 18, 2016 at 1:44 pm

      Aloha Wayne,

      Thanks buddy. The golf course was mighty fine indeed. The staff weren’t terrible, but not what I expected for the price tag. Or maybe we just got spoiled at Manele.

      Matt put his game face on that day, and managed to scrounge back a few of his dollars.

      Cheers!
      Josh

  5. February 23, 2016 at 4:29 am

    Wow, what an amazing golfing experience. Josh, the pictures are outstanding and I appreciated the detailed write up. Stunned the service did not match the high standards set by the layout and scenery. Loved reading this and if I’m ever fortunate to travel to Hawaii this would be on my list of must-play courses. Thanks, Mike

    • February 23, 2016 at 12:31 pm

      Thanks, Mike! I was a little surprised myself. The service wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t what I was expecting considering the price tag and experiences I’ve had at bucket-list courses in a similar price range.

      The golf course itself is worth it though. Definitely one to have on the list for a trip to Hawaii.

      Cheers!
      Josh

  6. March 13, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    Great post! And those are some incredible pictures, I need to take photography lessons from you! It’s a little disappointing to hear the service was subpar. But I agree, the course itself is worth a round there. Best course on the Hawaiian islands IMHO.

    • March 14, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      Thank you very much! It sure is a spectacular course. Maybe it was an off day for their service, however, all I can do is convey the experience I had the best I can. I appreciate the comment.

      Cheers!
      Josh

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