Preferred Destinations


A Rich History and a Lot of Fun At Kā‘anapali Golf Courses

By George Fuller

Kā‘anapali Beach Resort, Maui, was the first master-planned destination resort in Hawai‘i, 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 — plus 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 Kā‘anapali that come to mind. 

The idyllic lifestyle is found in full force on the two resort-style 18-hole Kā‘anapali Golf Courses layouts, where championship golf has been played for decades. The Royal Kā‘anapali Course, designed by the renowned Robert Trent Jones Sr., opened in 1962, and was the first resort course on Maui. One of only two courses in Hawai‘i designed by Jones, Sr., the course has hosted the best players in the world over the ensuing decades, with luminaries such as Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus participating in tournaments.

“While the course is challenging for the avid golfers, it is forgiving for families and those new to the game,” said General Manager Karl Reul. “It offers wide open fairways with very manageable rough. While the greens are heavily bunkered and undulating, if you keep the ball below the hole and on the same level as the pin, you’ll be rewarded with a makeable birdie putt.”

Jones, Sr. 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, the par-71 course will challenge both your club selection and putting skills. 

The layout begins at sea level with a par-5 hole extending 550 yards. The course hugs the shoreline before winding its way into the West Maui Mountain foothills. Breathtaking views from the sloping vistas reveal the islands of Lāna‘i and Moloka‘i in the distance. The tropical tradewinds will keep you cool during your round, and rainbows you may see remind you that Kā‘anapali is a special place.


Arnold Palmer called the 18th hole one of the best and most challenging finishing holes he’d ever played. The 449-yard par 4 hole plays longer than it looks, with a brackish water canal running the entire length of the fairway and green, making it a memorable closing hole.

As you journey through the Royal Course, notice the historical plaques on each tee, sharing the history and stories of Kā‘anapali. 

“One of the most unique experiences in the world, the Royal Kā’anapali Golf Course is the one course where you don’t mind waiting a few moments to hit your next shot,” Reul said. “That’s because the scenery is absolutely spectacular, with vast ocean and outer island views on every hole and occasionally whales breaching the surface to welcome you to Maui. 

Kā‘anapali Beach Resort offers a wide variety of accommodation options. There is a diverse collection of 13 properties ranging from full-service resort hotels with spas to an award-winning hotel known as the “Most Hawaiian Hotel in Hawaii.” 

If your preference is a condo or villa, you can find everything from the very deluxe to a more relaxed luxury style with comfortable appointments and everything you need to be in your home away from home. This medley of lodging choices is another one of Kā‘anapali Beach Resort’s distinctions. It’s what makes the destination a perfect place for couples, families, or individuals seeking the Goldilocks Factor when it comes to the perfect vacation. It’s not only “where the world comes to play,” but where you will find your “Just Right!”