Posh Wailea

Wailea epitomizes the essense of resort golf perfection.

Story by: John Byrne

In the lee of the great dormant volcano Haleakala lies one of the most luxurious golf resorts on earth: Wailea. Everything you have heard, or will read in this feature, bespeaks a known truth about a place that has carefully cultivated a reputation for quality; one that has been rivalled but never beaten. Wailea is, by all estimations, the premiere golf resort destination in Hawai‘i, if not the world.

Much ado has been made of this fabled name, its beautiful white crescent beaches, its exclusive and posh hotels and resorts, and its three brilliant golf venues: the Gold, Emerald, and Blue.

Ranked among the elite media as one of America’s Best is the Wailea Gold Course, a manifestation of Robert Trent Jones, Jr.’s penchant for transforming Hawai‘i’s lava-strewn lands into verdant fairways of incomparable quality and pedigree.

Measuring 7,078-yards from the tips, the Wailea Gold Course is the resort’s most challenging and rugged layout, with undulating fairways, over 80 strategically placed white silica sand bunkers, and four to six tee boxes on every hole.

A thinking player’s design, the Wailea Gold Course can bite when the golfer loses focus, which is easy to do when the course’s unobstructed panoramic vistas of the ocean, Molokini Islet, and Kaho‘olawe offer such calming distractions.

But for sheer golf pleasure, the Wailea Gold Course offers a true test of golf for even the finest players. Formerly the host of the Wendy’s Champions Skins Game, the Wailea Gold Course has tested the mettle of TOUR players, top amateurs, and weekend warriors with equal aplomb. In all instances, the game was good, and the course stood up well against the very best. Despite its reputation for being Wailea’s most challenging, it should be said that Jones designed the Wailea Gold Course with the visiting golfer in mind and points golfers to amazing vistas on virtually every shot. The end-result is a golf course that is, depending on the tees played, as challenging as one wants, yet hardly overbearing for the recreational player. In short, it is a golf course for all players; and for those who have yet to visit this grand venue, I urge you to give it a try.

Just a stone’s throw away from the Wailea Gold Course’s first tee is the opening hole of Wailea’s crown jewel: the Wailea Emerald Course—a spectacle of sheer beauty.

The 6,825-yard Robert Trent Jones, Jr.-design is unquestionably one of Maui’s most scenic and spectacularly landscaped courses. Carpet-like fairways shaped just so—with errant tee shots often ushered toward the middle.

This award-winning golf course has been granted a Top Fairways Award as one of the country’s most women-friendly golf clubs, an honor that Wailea has won seven times, by Golf for Women Magazine.

Yet, in spite of the relative ease by which one might compare the Emerald with the Gold, it is important to point out that this venue also features four to six sets of tees, and has plenty of bite from the tips too.

Like its sister course, the Gold, the Wailea Emerald Course is shocking in the way it showcases Maui’s most beautiful scenery and vistas. No other golf course on Maui quite matches the iconic legacy that the Wailea Emerald Course has for exemplifying all the beauty that paradise on Maui has to offer.

Another feature of the Wailea Emerald Course that is noteworthy is its double green, shared by Nos. 10 and 17. This enormous putting surface also happens to border a 2.7 million gallon brackish water lake—which is one of the most picturesque spots on the course.

Both the Wailea Gold and Emerald Courses represent the apex of resort golf—in Hawai‘i, and the world. These two venues are part of a total golf experience, which includes a spectacular clubouse, an award-winning pro shop, a David Leadbetter Golf Academy, and the original Wailea Blue Golf Course—the venue where it all began 36 years ago.

Now go play!

Fast Facts

  1. Tee times at the Wailea Golf Club can be booked up to 45 days in advance when done online at www.waileagolf.com. That’s 15 days earlier than phone-in reservations.
  2. Wailea Golf Club offers periodic, unadvertised specials on its website; check it out at www.waileagolf.com.
  3. If you don’t have time for a round of golf, for just $10 you can get a bucket of balls and work out the kinks in your game at the Wailea Golf Club’s 12-acre training facility. No clubs? No problem. The club has loaner sets you can borrow at no additional charge.
  4. The Wailea Gold Course was once again rated 4.5 out of 5 stars by Golf Digest in its 2008 Best Places to Play. It also received a 2008 Value Award from WestJet’s up! Magazine, and Golf Digest gave the Gold Course an Architecture Award as one the Best Golf Courses in the state of Hawai‘i.
  5. The pro shop at the Wailea Gold & Emerald Clubhouse is one of the largest in Hawai‘i, featuring the latest in golf apparel including high-tech, eco-friendly products made from bamboo and other fibers. You’re not limited to golf products, either. The pro shop also carries fine handbags by notable designers including Eric Javitz and Brighton, plus an excellent selection of resort wear and gift items.
  6. The David Leadbetter Golf Academy at Wailea is the only one of its kind in the state. David Leadbetter is renowned for his work with some of golf’s top touring pros, and all DLGA instructors are re-certified annually, ensuring that their teaching skills remain top-notch.
  7. With new baggage fees imposed by the airlines, it’s getting harder and more expensive to haul your own clubs to your favorite vacation spot. But with brand-name golf clubs available at top-quality resorts like Wailea, you can leave those baggage blues behind. Wailea Golf Club features Nike clubs in its rental fleet and lets players try out other premium brands in their innovative demo program.
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