Makena Golf Course -- Views from 'bountiful' paradise

Text by Jeffrey A. Rendall, Photos by Chuck Rendall

MAKENA, MAUI, HI – “Eventually we’ll get on TV and the secret will be out,” said Makena Golf Courses’ Head Golf Professional, Kirk Nelson. “The views from the top of our course – well, from the sixth green through the fifteenth hole, at least, lets each person know how lucky we are to be here.”

It’s not often that you get a sense of gratitude from just occupying a space, but in this sense, Nelson’s right – being at Makena Golf Course (formerly known as Makena North) is a pretty special feeling, a privilege that we’ve now enjoyed twice.

The full story of Makena Golf Course is found here.

Makena remains one of Maui’s best kept golf secrets, though as Nelson alluded to above, the news will eventually leak out – and the floodgates will open. That’s good for Makena’s bottom line as well as Hawaii’s visiting golfers in general, all of whom should experience Makena at some point in their playing existence.

There also may soon be a residential component at Makena (which could lend some additional exposure), though according to Nelson, the homes will be set back from the course with little impact on the golfers or the homeowners themselves. Up until now, golfers have had the hillsides of Haleakala volcano to themselves and their thoughts, but even with a few homes, the course will retain plenty of privacy (and incredible scenery) to please those seeking absolute golfing isolation.

Some other potential changes include the building of a large new clubhouse, which may require Makena’s first, second, seventeenth and eighteenth holes to be repositioned and the practice area relocated.

And currently, they’re also doing some additional maintenance to ensure top quality playing surfaces, including major tree trimming, eliminating shade in key playing areas – all of which promotes grass growth.

Any improvements will only enhance an already fantastic golf experience, one that Nelson calls the best on Maui. The folks at Wailea (next door to Makena) and across the island at Kapalua (the Plantation Course) would probably disagree, but Nelson needs no convincing.

“I think Makena is the best golf course on the island – its location, weather, staff, architect, and the design as an out-and-back golf course that winds through the kiowe forest is a joy to play,” Nelson said. “The views can help erase a misplayed shot, and the whale-watchers are always on the lookout throughout the round hoping to catch a breach.”

To that end, a new agronomist and a new Director of Golf will seek to make sure people agree with Nelson’s high opinion of Makena.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll see there:

Daylight takes longer than usual to creep over Haleakala volcano to the east, but once the sun's up you're ready to play at Makena. Here, the par four 1st hole.

The par three 4th hole is the first of a terrific set of one-shotters at Makena. 183-yards and playing downhill, it's rated the front nine's easiest hole.

The interesting split-fairway par four 6th hole is the first of ten holes with outstanding views. Finish the hole, and then take it all in.

Every time you think you've seen the prettiest view at Makena, the next hole often surprises you. Here, the spectacular par three 7th hole.

Near the green of the par four 8th hole, a lone tree stands watch as the golfers pass.

At 550-yards and playing mostly uphill, the par five 10th hole will make you earn your score - and the view will take care of the rest.

With trouble the entire distance between you and the green of the par three 12th hole, club selection is crucial - it's like an island green on solid earth.

Turning the corner at the par four 13th hole, it's hard not to notice the full panorama of ocean below. During whale season, be sure to watch for a breach.

Let it fly from the tee of the 'shortest' 620-yard hole you'll ever play. The par five 14th drops 200 feet from tee to green - play it right and reach it in two.

The large fairway bunker makes the par four 17th hole very difficult if you're in it off the tee - stay right of it (from personal experience).


 Makena Golf Course
5415 Makena Alanui
Makena, Maui, HI 96753

Phone: (808) 879-3344
FAX: (808) 879-2834
Designer: Robert Trent Jones Jr.
Head Golf Professional: Kirk Nelson, PGA

Tournament                 6914    138/73.6
Championship             6567    135/72.0
Resort                          6151    131/70.1          131/75.2
Forward                      5303    120/70.5          118/66.5 (M)

Check the Website for current rates.


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