Ka’anapali Golf Courses – Royal Ka’anapali January 2018 – Last month during a conversation on twitter, I connected with Ka’anapali Marketing Manager, Melissa Dupuis and we arranged for me to visit Ka’anapali Golf while I was in Maui for the Tournament of Champions.
I was to be playing with Head Professional, Sutee Nitakorn, and Susanne Kemper (who happens to be sitting beside me in the media centre at the ToC).
I had met Sutee on the Monday when I arrived in Maui after my bag was damaged and I had to find a replacement which I was able to buy in the pro shop.
Friday morning, I arrived pre dawn and chatted with staff and players that were heading out behind us. There was a breakfast care package waiting on the cart for me as well as a bag of Ka’anapali memorabilia – I am a lucky girl.
Sutee arrived not long after and we had a golf chat as Susanne headed off to warm up – I was happy stepping up to the tee cold.
Royal Ka’anapali is nestled in amongst the hotels and condos. Sutee informed me that at any given time there could be 10,000 guests within the complex and if they are golfers they will certainly be teeing it up here. I was not playing the Ka’anapali Kai course this trip but hope to tee it up with Sutee again next year when I am in town.
The morning was chilly as the sun started to peep up over the mountains and I pulled out my wet weather jacket but took it off quickly as the day warmed up.
The first and 18th hole are split by a water hazard (where two of my balls now reside).
Not the best start!
Each tee marker has a plaque sharing snippets of the history of Ka’anapali.
The greens started a little wet and were really fast as they dried. I struggled to read them well. My putter is usually one of my best clubs in the bag but not this day.
The par 3 8th has a massive hump in the green (Sutee referred to as a sleeping elephant) which makes it interesting to play and a few other greens are also multilevel. The undulations throughout the course make it a constant challenge of placing your ball well and not rolling back away from the green.
I was hitting some good drives but my second shot wavered between awesome and mediocre. I had a couple of absolutely terrible shots which mostly I saved for the par 3 17th (that I got a 10 on) after two water balls then a complete mishit in the sand until I finally managed to get that little white ball in the hole.
Sutee and I shared a cart and had a good golf chat as we buzzed around. When he told me the best place to hit my ball, I would hit it exactly where he said (seems I follow directions really well).
As we were first group out for the day (before any of the booked tee times) I was hoping to have a quick sub 3 hour round however we were unable to do that and Sutee had to take off at 10am to fly to Oahu for eye surgery.
The first 6 holes run to the left of the highway beside the ocean and then you cross the bridge and an old sugarcane railway up into the hills play the next 9 holes before crossing back for the final 3.
The views are stunning especially from up high overlooking the course below and down to the shining water and across to the islands of Lanai and Molokai.
Being in Hawaii palm trees are everywhere. There were clumps of recently cut coconuts with many balls amongst them as the coconut trees catch many a wayward shot.
The 10th hole has Cook pines lining the fairway and being similar to a Norfolk pine, it reminded me of my old stomping ground on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.
My rubbish golf made me laugh although I did manage some fantastic golf shots too (they happened to be few and far between). Sutee and I had a couple of chip offs and challenges out of the bunker and it was a shame when he had to take off.
Susanne and I played the last 5 holes together after transferring everything except my wet weather jacket (I picked it up this morning from Sutee at the ToC).
My worst hole was the 17th and on the 18th as I shanked my 9 iron the golf gods interceded and bounced my ball off the drain and away from the water back on the grass.
I limped around the course and I would love to play it again as the course certainly played me but I had a wonderful time meeting Sutee and talking all things golf.
What a stunning part of the world!
I look forward to returning.