Appeared in January/February 2007 LINKS
The tranquil vistas of the Pacific Ocean and neighboring island of Molokai make the Plantation course at Kapalua Resort in Maui one of the most inspirational golf courses of modern vintage, but the tantalizing views often obscure the clever routing and classic features that Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw infused into a rugged landscape that used to be a pineapple field.
Home of the tour’s season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship, the par-73 Plantation is spread over 240 acres to allow for a pair of natural forces that heavily influence shot values: wind and slope. Holes like the 663-yard 18th drop more than 150 feet from tee to green, so even a mid-handicap might find the full 7,411 yards negotiable in the trade winds.
The contours can lead to quirky shot selections and mind-blowing club choices, but the architects’ sober, throwback elements—fairways 50 yards or wider, minimal bunker use, large and dramatic greens accessible in front to shots along the ground, and clandestine chipping areas—ensure playability without surrendering to predictability. As good as the sights are, this design is all about feel.