The Plantation Course at Kapalua 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):
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:
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:
Beth ripping a drive on the par-5 5th hole:
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:
The tee shot on the long, downhill, dogleg right par-4 7th hole:
One of the only forced carries on the golf course, the par-3 8th hole:
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):
One of my favorite spots on the golf course, the beautiful par-3 11th hole:
Beth on the 11th hole:
Looking back on the long, downhill, par-4 17th hole:
Tee shot on the dramatically downhill par-5 18th hole, where you couldn’t miss the generous fairway if you tried:
The view of the par-5 18th hole after a drive in the fairway:
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 Plantation Course at Kapalua 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.