MAUI, HAWAII — The Royal Ka’anapali Course opened its lush fairways in 1962 and is one of only two courses in all of Hawaii designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. The architect took advantage of the rolling landscape to create gently sloping fairways and large contoured greens to ensure a challenging approach to each hole. Stretching 6,700 yards, this par 71 course will challenge your club selection and putting skills.
The Royal Ka’anapali Course begins at sea level with a par 5 hole extending 550 yards. The course hugs the shoreline before winding its way to the West Maui Mountain foothills. Arnold Palmer called the 18th hole (par 4) one of the best and most challenging finishing holes he had ever played. The 449 yard hole plays longer than it looks, hugging the brackish water canal the entire length of the fairway and green, making it a memorable last hole.
When it opened in 1962 as the Royal Kaanapali Golf Course (then changed to the North Course in 1967 and back to the original name in 2007), it was the very first resort course built in Hawaii. Even more importantly, it was one of the late Robert Trent Jones Sr.’s only two Hawaii golf designs.
Royal Kaanapali has been rerouted so that its sea level holes are below the highway, with an oceanfront green at No. 5. Its middle holes are on the bluffs above the highway, with sweeping views of the West Maui landscape, Lanai, and the blue Pacific.
The layout features exceptionally generous fairways and greens where a two-putt is a real accomplishment due to the Bermuda grass and deceptive undulations. Ever-changing trade winds also create drama and give new meaning to risk/reward. The 18th hole, a favorite of Arnold Palmer’s, is a terrific way to end a match. With water along the entire left side from tee to green and with the prevailing wind both helping and pushing from left to right, it is a hole truly unique to West Maui. (www.kaanapali-golf.com)