Kapalua, loosely translated to “arms embracing the sea,” is one of Maui’s premier resort areas located at the foot of the West Maui mountains. The former pineapple plantation is now the site of the 23,000-acre, master-planned Kapalua Resort and is home to the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, award-winning restaurants, more than 20 boutique shops, historic sites and two renowned golf courses, including the Plantation Course, home to the prestigious PGA TOUR's Hyundai Tournament of Champions (January) and the Bay Course, home to the 2009 Kapalua LPGA Classic.
Kapalua Golf- The Bay Course
Designed by Arnold Palmer & Francis Duane, The Bay Course opened in 1975 and has since hosted a list of major professional tournaments. From the first live prime-time televised event in golf at the 1983 Kapalua International to the Kapalua LPGA classic some 25 years later, The Bay Course has provided a challenge to both professionals at the peak of the thier powers, and holiday makers alike
History has been made here: it was the site of Greg Norman’s first win on America soil, Ian Woosnam and David Llwellyn’s thrilling victory for Wales in the World Cup of Golf and Morgan Pressel’s nail-biting win at the Kapalua LPGA classic. Two of the most popular PGA players ever, Fred Couples and Davis Love III, have each earned victories here - twice.
The course is very much a tale of two nines. The front nine is hilly, and heads for the sea and back. It includes some holes that fail to inspire, some nice parkland holes, and a couple of standouts in the short dogleg par 4 fourth hole right on the beach, and the outstanding par 3 fifth hole- the only hole in Maui to carry the ocean. With the tee on one rocky promontory and the green on another it is the signature hole for the Bay Course.
The back nine is routed through parkland terrain away from the shoreline, and is defined by a gorge running through the playing fields, and lake below.
Hole twelve is a nice par 3 over the gorge, and hole 16 grabs your attention with a water carry off the tee, and split landing areas with a burn down the middle. The uphill approach to the green also has to carry some penal bunkering on the front of the green. It is a busy, but interesting hole...
Another hole worth mentioning is the par 4 thirteenth hole where some unremarkable land has been nicely engineered into a hole of interest by a number of strategically placed bunkers in play off the tee and for the approach
I also thought the final approach on hole eighteen to a raised green in front of the clubhouse beautifully framed by oval shaped bunkers to be a good way to finish
Overall The Bay Course is a nice way to warm up for the main event at Kapulua- playing The Plantation Course. It is a much friendlier course for the longer handicapper, yet still keeps the better player on his toes
The Travelling Golfer can tailor a golf trip to Hawaii to suit your group. For itinerary suggestions see Great Golf Destinations: Hawaii- Golf on Maui
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