Reflecting on the kickoff of the 2024 PGA Tour season on Maui, marked by The Sentry held in early January at the Kapalua Resort, we are reminded of the resilience and vibrancy of this cherished Hawaiian island.
The golf tournament proudly signaled that Maui is on the road to recovery. Now more than ever, Maui is ready and excited to welcome back visitors from near and far.
The resilience displayed by the Lahaina community played a significant role in this renewal. Indeed, the aftermath of the tragic fires, which temporarily clouded the sparkle of our paradise, has been transformed into a beacon of community strength.
Today, as efforts of healing and rebuilding continue in this paradise, the community extends an earnest invitation to you. Come, experience the renewed glory of West Maui and the tranquil fairways at Ka’anapali Golf Courses. Your presence not only aids in reviving our local economy, it also amplifies the echo of our Aloha spirit.
Situated on 300 acres of sacred lands once home to the Royal Chiefs of Maui, Ka‘anapali Golf Courses offers 36 holes of panoramic views of Lana‘i, Molokai and the West Maui Mountains. As part of the Ka‘anapali Beach Resort Association, guests can stay at one of 13 beautiful hotels and resorts. The community is anchored by Whalers Village, a beachside shopping center with boutiques, restaurants, a whaling museum, hula lessons and other entertaining activities.
Three miles south lies the historic town of Lahaina, which translates to “relentless sun” in Hawaiian. The bustling area is filled with shops and plays host to the annual Thanksgiving-week college basketball tournament, the Maui Jim Invitational.
Opened in 1962 by Robert Trent Jones Sr., the par-71, 6,700-yard Royal Ka‘anapali is renowned for its forgiving fairways, quick undulating greens and trade winds. Beginning at sea level, the course hugs the shoreline before rising into the foothills, where bird’s-eye views are abundant. The opening hole of the Royal Ka’anapali Golf Course offers a golfing adventure that invites both precision and daring.
Aptly named “E Komo Mai,” which translates to “welcome” in Hawaiian, the hole warmly greets those who enjoy easing into their round.
“E Komo Mai is a great welcoming hole to get out there to make a birdie,” said PGA Teaching Professional Chris Armanini.
One of the three par fives on the course, the first hole offers a couple of different ways to approach the green – precision players can make three solid shots to get it close, while longer hitters can go for it in two, depending on wind conditions.
Arnold Palmer remarked, “The 18th hole is one of the best and most challenging finishing holes that I have ever played.”
Royal Ka‘anapali gained international notoriety by hosting high-profile events, including Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf (1964), Canada Cup (1964), LPGA Women’s Kemper Open (1982-85), PGA TOUR Champions’ Ka‘anapali Classic (1987-2000) and SKINS Game (2008-11) and Ka’anapali Collegiate Invitational (2014-2019, 2021, 2022).
Debuting in 1976 by Arthur Jack Snyder and renovated in 2005 by Hawaii’s most prolific golf course architect, Robin Nelson,
For a limited time, golfers can navigate a unique 9-hole layout on the Kai Course that combines portions of both the front and back nines.
The revised routing, which incorporates holes 1, 4-6 and 14-18 with seven par 4s and two par 3s, offers an opportunity for a quick round without skimping on the splendor of the surroundings.
“It is a fun nine holes to play and very family friendly,” said Director of Golf
Sherrie Golden. “You could say it is more of an executive course layout with no par 5s, but you still have the panoramic views of the resort and ocean when playing the upper holes.”
Currently undergoing a renovation between holes 2 and 3, the Kai Course complements the longer and more challenging Royal Course, and has a history steeped in regal tradition, once serving as a vacation spot of the royal chiefs of Maui.
Several holes lie in natural canals, gulches and lava rock boundaries, and the course is landscaped with native flowers along the trails, such as hibiscus, bougainvillea and plumeria, as well as the Norfolk Pines and coconut trees that border the fairways.
The layout requires golfers to focus on strategy during their round, not necessarily length, which is why it’s enjoyed by golfers of all skill levels and abilities.