KAANAPALI, MAUI, was one of the first designated resort areas in Hawaii, and for good reason. Ideally situated on the protected leeward coast of Maui, residents and visitors enjoy “beach weather” year-round, and the fit and fun lifestyle that comes with it.
That means active days filled with golf, swimming, biking, hiking — you name it — sunset walks on the three-mile stretch of white sand beach, and a robust nightlife complete with good food and drink. Around the world, when people think of Maui, it’s images of Kaanapali that come to mind.
That idyllic lifestyle is found in full force on the two resort-style 18-hole Kaanapali Golf Courses layouts, where championship golf has been played for decades. The Royal Kaanapali Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., opened in 1962, and was the first resort course on Maui. Having hosted the Champions Tour for more than a decade and most recently the Skins Game from 2008– 2011, players here follow in the footsteps of Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus, all of whom participated in the event. The routing leads down to the Pacific at the green of No. 5, where players putt out next to gently lapping ocean waters.
“KAANAPALI GOLF COURSES HAS DONE A GREAT JOB OF BROADENING THEIR PROGRAMMING TO ENHANCE PARTICIPATION FROM NON-GOLFERS AS WELL AS TRADITIONAL GOLFERS.”
— Karl Reul, general manager of Kaanapali Golf Courses
Kaanapali Kai is the second course here. A bit shorter but no less engaging, this 1975 Arthur Jack Snyder design (2005 Robin Nelson redesign) roams the foothills behind the resort, offering wonderful ocean and mountain views.
Several years ago, Kaanapali Golf Courses introduced several innovative programs from FootGolf to Fit Club in an effort to attract non-golfers to the facility to experience the beautiful grounds from a different perspective other than the traditional 18 holes of golf. In addition, both facilities offer a Juniors Play Free program all summer long (and after 2:30 pm from Oct. – May) with a paying adult to make the experience attractive to the entire family.
“Kaanapali Golf Courses has done a great job of broadening their programming to enhance participation from non-golfers as well as traditional golfers,” says Karl Reul, general manager of Kaanapali Golf Courses. “Traditional players know the Kaanapali courses well from the televised championship events we’ve hosted over the years. Now, non-golfers and families are discovering the fun and beauty of this historic land. And they’re loving it!”
FootGolf is played with a soccer ball to large-diameter holes anywhere from 80-200 yards out from the “tee.” At Kaanapali — Maui’s only nine-hole FootGolf layout — play begins at 4 pm, a typically slower time on the golf course.
“This is a great outdoor activity to play on our wide open fairways,” said Reul. “Plus, it’s priced right, with family packages just $50 for two adults and up to two kids.”
Another innovative program recently introduced is Kaanapali’s FIT Club, which is a walking golf program offered daily after 4 pm for just $99 per month.
“Think of it like a gym membership,” Reul said. “With sunset views like these, some days you won’t even mind what your score is.”
“Ohana means family,” Reul said, “and here at Kaanapali, we love to see families out enjoying our facility … bring the ohana!”