Experience elleair, a must-play on maui!

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Panoramic Mountain and Ocean Views, Brilliant Flora, Lively Fauna, Efficient Service, New Carts, Brand Name Logo Wear, and a Lighted Practice Facility makes this popular Daily-Fee Golf Course with Upgraded Tees, Fairways, Bunkers, and Greens a Super Value!

Story and Photos by: John Byrne

One of the most popular golf courses on Maui is the elleair Maui Golf Club, located on the mauka side of the Pi‘ilani Highway at the top of Lipoa Street in Kihei. This 18-hole championship course is routed toward the east and the west, allowing golfers who are playing on its lush, Tifton 419 fairways endless opportunities to delight in its terrific layout and the panoramic vistas of Mt. Haleakala, Lanai, Kaho‘olawe, Molokini, the West Maui mountains, the ‘Au‘au channel, and Ma‘alaea Bay. It is a beautiful golf course that is teeming with native plants, rare birds and stunning floral landscapes. elleair’s original design has evolved from a tighter, more penal test, to a more golfer-friendly experience. Updates continue even to this day, as holes are rebuilt to improve scores and make the course even more of a pleasure to play.

Bill Newis, elleair’s original course architect, ventured all the way from Alberta, British Columbia, to design elleair in 1986. The Canadian is well known in his homeland, with many of his courses ranked in the country’s top 100. Priddis Greens, the Country Club of the Hamptons, the Golden Golf and Country Club, and the Paradise Canyon Golf & Country Club are just a small sampling of Newis’ great designs.

Several years ago, the Daio Paper Company of Japan purchased elleair, and since that time, it has been given the royal treatment, with investments rolling in non-stop to improve every facet of the operation. Named after one of the company’s top brands, elleair is proprietarily spelled with a lower-case “e.” Its French name means “fairy of the wind,” and as most locals here know, the afternoons are normally breezy. But the intent of its owners is to make the golfing experience as pleasurable and relaxing as possible. And to that end, their efforts are succeeding marvelously.

Now, golfers arrive and their bags are promptly retrieved from their cars. They’ll find the new golf carts come with state-of-the-art GPS scoring and yardage systems. The staff has been assembled from all over Maui. They know the game and the courses here, and they know how to make their guests feel welcome.

The first hole at the elleair Maui Golf Club is a refreshing start. The fairway is wide, and the green is reasonably large. From an elevated set of four tees, the 449-yard par 4 hole visually sets up well for the fade and the draw, and if one misses the fairway, they will really have to go out of their way to put themselves in a bad place. The hole points easterly toward the southern foothills of Haleakala, and if one looks closely they will see Molokini peeking through the kiawe trees bordering the course off to the right. It is a great way to start a round of golf.

elleair has so many good holes, and is so well routed, that it is just a lot of fun to play, even with the afternoon breeze.

The course is designed to take advantage of the trade winds. On the front, the trade winds are at the golfer’s back or side on five holes.

The back nine features only two holes that play directly into the trade winds: the par 4 10th, and the par 4 11th. The final seven holes play either with a helping wind or with a crosswind and are where the scoring is at its best.

The par 5s at elleair are all reachable in two shots, even No. 8 on the front side, where the wind is hurting. The key to all four of these par 5s is the drive. No. 18 was revamped just to give golfers a better chance of hitting the green on the second shot. It’s a very good birdie hole.

elleair’s par 4s are a mixture of doglegs and straight holes with plenty of undulation and elevation change. Water comes into play off the tee on five holes, but only the par 4 15th has water staring the golfer in the face on both sides of the fairway.

elleair rewards the golfer who keeps the ball in play and can chip and putt. That is what makes elleair so much fun. It isn’t exactly easy but it’s not a back-breaker either. It’s just a fair test of golf.

elleair has been lovingly updated, and the total package has improved immensely. It is a great value for the money. I highly recommend that you play elleair Maui Golf Club during your visit to Maui. You’ll love it!

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