Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1962.


One of the oldest and nicest courses on the island. The Royal can play long and tough, especially in the afternoon if the wind is up. I really like the greens, which are substantial, but you rarely get a straight putt so be prepared for the dreaded “3 Jack” ( i.e. 3-putt).
I love No. 5 because the green is oceanside and you get a great view of the sunbathers (if you catch my drift). The Champions Tour has been playing their annual Skins Game there, so you know the course is something special.


Scratch golfers will quickly find the Royal is Maui’s third toughest from the tips. Local bogey golfers tend to rave about how much they like the Royal, and that’s because from its Keo Makamae tees (Ka‘anapali’s equivalent to the ‘whites’), the course plays to Maui’s median slope of 128. That means half the courses are harder, and the other half are easier, based on the USGA Slope Rating System. The Royal ranks as the 5th most challenging course on Maui for ladies who are bogey golfers playing from the red (Pu Koko‘o) tees.


The Royal features unique runway tees that point in the direction of your line. Roll is prevalent as most tee shots play level or downhill. Topographically, the course is set along a hillside, where it ascends and descends in a rolling, winding hole routing. O.B. comes into play often along the course perimeters, and there are some trees framing the holes. Fairways are wide and generous targets, and roughs are easily recovered from. Trade winds are a big factor in the design. The green sizes are large, hold well, and undulate a lot. Hole locations behind bunkers and on tiers add to the challenge. Greenside bunkers can have high lips. Water comes into play at the finish.


The Royal is not an intimidating course, but it has plenty of bite for the average player who will still find the wide open space and roomy layout enjoyable and less-devastating from a scoring point of view. This golf course received a major updating with Hawaii’s legendary course architect Robin Nelson in charge. Robin nurtured a great layout and modernized it in the process. The end-result is a beautiful golf course set in the heart of the action-filled Kaanapali resort. It is convenient, the staff are great, and the course really suits every level of player because it is wide open and very fair because everything is in front of you. Weaker players, beginners, couples and even scratch golfers will find things to like about this golf course.


Kaanapali’s 36-holes share the same clubhouse, which has lockers, showers, and a stellar 19th hole run by a popular isle chef whose upscale restaurants dot some pretty sharp locations, including this one. Roy’s. Learn it, know it, eat it 😉 There is also a suitable driving range, lighted, with PGA professional instruction on hand led by David Havens, who is the 2014 PGA Aloha Section Teacher of the Year. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Larry, Pablo, Victor, June, Todd, Dale, Sutee, and the many super-friendly faces you’ll encounter when you visit this must-play Pro venue.


The Royal Course’s storied history dates back to 1962 when Bing Crosby played in the first-ever foursome. Later that year, Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf televised Dave Regan and lefty Bob Charles in that era’s version of a duel in the sun. Kaanapali is Hawaii’s first golf resort, having set the standard for all other developments back in the day. The best players in the world returned in 1964 with Jack and Arnie headlining players from 33 countries in what is now known as the World Cup (Canada Cup then).
The LPGA held the Women’s Kemper Open at Kaanapali from 1982 to 1985 and then the Senior PGA Tour made Kaanapali its “Hawaiian Home” in 1987; a run which would last for 12 years and be followed up a decade later by an even tougher act to follow. Jack and Arnica would return in 2008, after Robin’s updates were complete, to battle on these hallowed fairways this time for Skins! The Champions Tour Skins Game would play itself out here for four years.
Champions Tour

The Kaanapali Classic was the original Champions Tour event that eventually became the The Turtle Bay Championship, when it moved from here to there after its final contest was held here in 2000. Hale Irwin won that year. It was his second victory in the event, and he would win it four times in a row at Turtle Bay, earning him the dubious title of Mr. Hawaii. The Kaanapali Classic was brought to Maui in 1987 when it was founded as the GTE Kaanapali Classic.

EMC Kaanapali Classic
  • 2000 Hale Irwin
  • 1999 Bruce Fleisher
  • 1998 Jay Sigel
Hyatt Regency Maui Kaanapali Classic
  • 1997 Hale Irwin
  • 1996 Bob Charles
  • 1995 Bob Charles
  • 1994 Bob Murphy
Ping Kaanapali Classic
  • 1993 George Archer
Kaanapali Classic
  • 1992 Tommy Aaron
First Development Kaanapali Classic
  • 1991 Jim Colbert
GTE Kaanapali Classic
  • 1990 Bob Charles
  • 1989 Don Bies
  • 1988 Don Bies
  • 1987 Orville Moody

The Kapalua International was an unofficial PGA Tour event played on Maui from 1982 to 1997. It was held after the end of the regular PGA Tour season in November for 16 years. For the first nine years, it was held exclusively at the Bay Course. In 1992, it was played at both the Bay and Plantation Courses until the Mercedes Championships moved to the site in January 1999.

  • 1997 Davis Love III
  • 1996 Paul Stankowski
  • 1995 Jim Furyk
  • 1994 Fred Couples
  • 1993 Fred Couples

Kapalua International

  • 1992 Davis Love III

Isuzu Kapalua International

  • 1991 Mike Hulbert
  • 1990 David Peoples
  • 1989 Peter Jacobsen
  • 1988 Bob Gilder
  • 1987 Andy Bean
  • 1986 Andy Bean
  • 1985 Mark O’Meara

Kapalua International

  • 1984 Sandy Lyle
  • 1983 Greg Norman

Kapalua Open

  • 1982 David Ishii
PGA Canada Cup

The Canada Cup brought together player from 33 countries in two-man teams competing on the Royal Kaanapali Golf Course in 1964. Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer played for the U.S.A. and successfully defended their title, while both shooting course record 65s in the process. Jack won the individual honors, with Arnie a close second. Gary Player and a Oahu-born Hawaiian superstar named Ted Makaleha tied for third.

LPGA Kemper Open

The Women’s Kemper Open was held on the Royal Kaanapali Golf Course for four years, beginning in 1982 when Amy Alcott won. In 1984, future World Golf Hall of Fame member Betsy King wins for the first time on the LPGA Tour, finishes two shots ahead of Pat Bradley. The following year, Jane Blalock notched her first LPGA Tour win in nearly five years when Pat Bradley mades double bogey on the tournament’s 72nd hole to lose by one shot.

  • 1985 Jane Blalock
  • 1984 Betsy King
  • 1983 Kathy Whitworth
  • 1982 Amy Alcott
Video Clip
Course Details
USGA Course
Tees Rating Slope OUT IN TOT
Uliuli/Blue 74.2 131 3431 3269 6700
Keo Makamae/White 72.1 128 3209 3058 6267
Kula/Gold 70.1 125 2964 2875 5839
Pu Koko o/Red 65.5 121 2616 2400 5016
Year Built: 1962, 2005
Greens: TifEagle
Fairways: Tifway
Practice Range: Yes
Lessons: Yes
GPS Tracking: Yes
Metal Spikes: Yes
Walking: Yes
Fivesomes: No
Pro Shop: Yes
Lockers/Showers: Yes
Rental Shoes/Clubs: Yes
Cart Fees: Included
Rider Fee: Yes
Twilight Rates: Yes
Online Booking: Yes
Restaurant: Yes
Bar: Yes
Architect: Robert Trent Jones, Sr.
General Manager: Ed Kageyama, PGA
Superintendent: Craig Trenholme

Royal Kaanapali Golf Course

2290 Kaanapali Parkway
Lahaina, HI 96761
(808) 661-3691
Related Projects