Dale Leatherman 2015-09-01 02:37:50
The ocean views aren’t the only reason to play Maui’s world-class courses. When USA Today’s readers voted in 2014 for their favorite golf vacations, the list contained eight mainland U. S. destinations and two offshore—Scotland and Maui, Hawaii. It’s no surprise that Maui made the top 10, considering its balmy yearround climate, arresting terrain, and courses by designers such as Arnold Palmer, Robert Trent Jones II, Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore. Several of the island’s 14 courses are ranked among the world’s best. Maui was formed by lava from two volcanoes: 10,000-foot Haleakala and an ancient volcano that eventually eroded into the West Maui Mountains, now at about 5,800 feet. Sloping from peaks to the sea, the land is scored by ravines, creating rumpled hillsides that are natural settings for golf holes with ocean vistas, tilting fairways and carries over wild gorges. The landscape is especially stunning on the island’s northwest side at Kapalua Resort, set in 23,000 acres of nature preserves and former pineapple fields. The area is home to the historic Arnold Palmer-designed Bay Course and The Plantation Course—crafted by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw—which hosts the Hyundai Tournament of Champions each January for PGA Tour winners from the previous year. Born From the Land The hills around the resort were covered in pineapple plants in the early 1990s when Mark Rolfing, then the co-developer of Kapalua’s Plantation Estates and Plantation Course real estate project (now an NBC commentator), asked golf architect Ben Crenshaw to take a drive with him. “He took me to the upper part of the property, and we stopped on one of the pineapple roads where the clubhouse is now,” Crenshaw recalls. “It was gorgeous, with some of the most spectacular views one can imagine. He asked if I thought we could build a golf course there.” Smitten with the site, Crenshaw said yes, and he and partner Bill Coore went to work. “The site had inherent qualities—natural elements such as slope and wind,” he adds. “Our task was to make it playable, a course that could host a tournament but be pleasurable for all levels of play.” Mission accomplished. The 7,411-yard, par-73 Plantation Course opened in 1991 and has been Hawaii’s top-ranked course for many years. It’s No.20 in Golf Digest’s America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses for 2015, and it’s also the only PGA Tour venue with seven holes over 500 yards. Some holes are downhill, and sometimes the wind is with you—but sometimes it’s not. Then, the greens shrink and jungle-like areas loom large. “The site is immense, so we built the course to match the scale of the property,” Crenshaw says. “The fairways are wide and the greens are generous, but they have a lot of movement. Land the ball on the wrong undulation, and you have to execute a good putt to get down in two. In the wind, it takes good shot-making so you don’t have a long-approach putt. “The layout showcases the west side of Maui, with dramatic elevation changes and spectacular views,” he adds. “When you play toward the ocean, you can see the other islands in the distance and, in season, the humpback whales out in the bay.” One example is the 18th hole, a 663-yard par 5, dropping steeply toward the clubhouse. Many tournaments have had climactic finishes here, and “How’d you do on 18?” is often heard among recreational golfers. Pros often score well on The Plantation Course, but they also respect it. Geoff Ogilvy, a two-time winner at Kapalua, described it as “one of the elite eight or nine courses on tour” in a 2015 interview for pgatour.com. “It’s an incredibly extreme piece of land … and a testament to Coore and Crenshaw.” By the Bay Sixteen years before The Plantation Course opened, Kapalua’s Bay Course, designed by Arnold Palmer and Francis Duane, was unveiled to rave reviews. The 6,600-yard par 72 has hosted more than 20 major tournaments, including the first one televised in prime time—the 1983 Kapalua International—and many memorable PGA and LPGA showdowns. Now, 40 years after its opening, The Bay Course has stood the test of time. “Kapalua is one of those special places in golf,” Palmer says. “From my first time on the ground, I was excited about the possibilities of what The Bay Course would become. The elevated views across the water to Molokai were unlike any I’d ever seen. The land featured significant elevation changes, which presented challenges during construction but resulted in bold contours that are one of the hallmarks of the course. Those undulations also factored heavily into our green designs as they unfolded their way across the landscape and into the putting surfaces. I think those characteristics, combined with the ever-present, invisible hazard of wind, combine to make The Bay Course a firm, but fair, test of golf to this day. “Did I mention it’s beautiful?” Palmer adds. “The fifth, a do-or-die par 3 over an ocean inlet, is a great setting for a par 3. It’s still one of the holes I’m most proud of in all of our work.” Richard Holtzman, vice president and managing director of Montage Kapalua Bay, is a golfer who never tires of the Plantation and Bay courses. “Both courses have views of the ocean and, November through April, humpback whales,” he says. “It’s a reminder that you’re playing in one of the world’s most exotic destinations. I often play as a single, looking forward to being paired with interesting people who come to Maui from all over. Many have become good friends over the years.” Added Amenities Holtzman isn’t the only connection Montage Kapalua Bay has to golfing culture on Maui. The resort hosts many enthusiasts who enjoy time off the links in the oceanfront suites. Also on the property, Spa Montage Kapalua Bay is a 30,000-square-foot tropical oasis with some services geared especially to athletes. “Golfers come to the spa before and/or after their rounds,” says Leila Storey, the resort’s spa director. “They work out on the Kinesis equipment, which has a golf program that replicates the range of motion you’d get swinging a club. Then they visit the juice bar for a smoothie called On the Green, which has vitamins, minerals and extra protein for the round.” For a restorative treatment, Storey says the spa’s Island Rescue Massage is popular. “It’s a therapeutic massage that relieves deep muscle tension, especially in the shoulders,” she explains. “A lot of men have their massages in the outdoor ‘hales’ (private cabanas), a serene experience [and] a perfect way to end the day.” Whether visitors flock to the island as a destination for some major playing time or they’re just getting in a few swings while on vacation, Maui’s amenities and atmosphere all amount to nothing short of golfer’s paradise. MAINLAND GOLF GETAWAYS Across the continental U.S., cooler weather and fall colors combine to create golf destinations that are must-visits. Whether seeking a coastal scene or expansive forests, there’s a course for every player. SPANISH PEAKS MOUNTAIN CLUB Big Sky, Mont. Designer Tom Weiskopf made good use of 300 acres at Spanish Peaks Mountain Club, which boasts elevated tees with views of the surrounding mountains in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area in Yellowstone National Park. “Weiskopf designed an incredible course, with mountain views and the perfect combination of playability and challenge,” says Greg Villeneuve, executive vice president, golf, for Montage Hotels & Resorts. The holes wind through highland meadows, each isolated from the rest, and fairways culminate in greens with lots of undulations. (spanishpeaksmountain club.com) THE RESERVE AT MOONLIGHT BASIN Big Sky, Mont. You’ll never forget you’re in Big Sky country when golfing at The Reserve at Moonlight Basin, where you might hit your longest drives ever in the rarefied air at 7,500 feet. With a surrounding backdrop of Montana’s Madison Range, every hole on the beautifully manicured Jack Nicklaus course has a different mountain view, especially brilliant in the fall months. PGA professional Greg Wagner offers members clinics and private instruction. The 8,000-yard layout, new clubhouse and four-hole short course are the latest amenities at the private community, which has access to skiing at Big Sky Resort.(moonlightbasin.com) RANCHO SAN MARCOS GOLF COURSE Santa Barbara, Calif. “Designed by Robert Trent Jones II, Rancho San Marcos Golf Course drew inspiration from the property’s rich history,” Villeneuve says, alluding to the remains of the ranch’s 19th-century adobe dwellings and the stagecoach trail in the layout. Located about 15 minutes from Santa Barbara, the public 6,939- yard par 71 overlooks Lake Cachuma, the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Santa Ynez River Valley. The experience immerses golfers in the bucolic surroundings; after a round, visitors can explore by hiking, horseback riding, wine tasting, visiting the beach or shopping nearby. (rsm1804.com) SANDPIPER GOLF CLUB Santa Barbara, Calif. With mountain views from every hole and a back nine ranging along the Pacific Ocean, the venerable Sandpiper Golf Club also touts historical significance. In the 1940s, the picturesque site contained an oil refinery for 25 oil wells and was shelled by a Japanese submarine. Designed by William F. Bell, the course opened in 1972 and has been a venue for LPGA and PGA Tour events, at over 7,000 yards. Starting with the sixth hole, the ocean is in view—and often in play, with greens perched just above the surf. The Sandpiper Grill offers an ideal place to unwind and refuel after an exciting 18, serving up Santa Barbara-style barbecue, refreshments and cigars. (sandpipergolf.com) MAY RIVER GOLF CLUB Palmetto Bluff, S.C. Caddies are required at the May River Golf Club, part of The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, a Montage Resort. Golfers have the option to ride in a cart accompanied by a forecaddie, or walk the course with a caddy. Walking gives visitors a greater appreciation for this Jack Nicklaus creation, which was named No. 2 on the South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel’s 2014 list of best courses in the state. The layout runs through live oaks and palmettos, around wetlands and along the banks of its namesake waterway. From the championship tees at 7,171 yards, the course has earned a rating of 75.6 and slope of 141. (montagehotels.com/ palmettobluff)
Published by Firebrand Media . View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://trendmag2.trendoffset.com/article/Tee+Time+In+Paradise/2259326/271137/article.html.