With three of Hawaii's top resort courses, Wailea Golf Club shines on Maui

A few years back, when the LPGA Women's Kemper Open was played on Maui's scenic Wailea Old Blue Course, tournament officials admonished some of the competitors for slow play. Turns out the pros were dallying at the 12th hole to do a little whale watching.

Wailea Golf Club - Old Blue course - No. 4
The scenic Old Blue Course at Wailea Golf Club has charmed her way into the heart of many a Wailea golfer.
Wailea Golf Club - Old Blue course - No. 4Gold Course at Wailea Golf Club in Maui - No. Emerald Course at Wailea G.C.
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Such are the hazards of playing golf at Wailea.

With spectacular Hawaiian scenery, a sunny and balmy climate, and exceptionally well tended fairways, it can be tough keeping your mind on your game at this highly celebrated golf resort on Maui's leeward coast. Wailea's six luxurious hotels, five white-sand beaches, superb condominiums and spas, varied dining and recreational amenities and, of course, exceptional fairways, add up to a golf vacationer's dream come true. It's not surprising that both Golf Magazine and Golf Digest have named Wailea one of the country's top golf resorts.

At Wailea Golf Club, three outstanding layouts - the Gold, Emerald and Old Blue - offer an array of golfing choices, all with stunning vistas of the ocean and offshore islands. So popular are these award-winning courses that one customer study revealed as many as 97 percent felt the golf club met or exceeded their expectations. Any devoted Wailea Golf Club fan will tell you they're a three-some that should be on every golfer's itinerary.

But if you have not yet had the good fortune of visiting Wailea's pristine fairways, you can enjoy it vicariously via television every winter, when the legendary Champions Skins Game plays on the Gold Course. The two 18-hole competitions feature four of the world's most highly admired Champions Tour players, vying for a $600,000 purse before a live gallery and international television audience.

The Gold Course at Wailea Golf Club

Of Wailea's three golf courses, Wailea Gold is possibly the most well known as the host site of the Champions Skins Game. The par-72 layout boasts a rugged and masterful design that takes advantage of the terrain's natural undulations, plus four to six tee boxes on every hole that make it a suitable track for virtually every player.

Created by architect Robert Trent Jones II, the Gold was honored by both Golf Magazine and Golf Digest as one of the country's ten best new resort courses when it opened in 1994. It has also been recognized by the Maui Historical Society for its preservation of prehistoric lava rock walls during construction, and hailed as one of the world's best designed courses by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler in the magazine's first golf resorts poll.

The most difficult hazard on the Gold is its scenery. The eighth hole on the Golf Course, for example, has golfers teeing off toward an unbeatable view of the ocean and little Molokini, a crescent shaped islet and one of Maui's most popular snorkeling spots. Juxtaposed between the tee boxes and the fairway is a dark papohaku wall, and the verdant green is ringed by coconut trees and a sparkling white bunker. It's hard to imagine a more picturesque Hawaiian vista.

The Old Blue Course at Wailea Golf Club

Wailea's original layout is the scenic Wailea Old Blue. Stretching 6,765 yards from its tips, this classic Arthur Jack Snyder beauty has charmed her way into the heart of many a Wailea golfer.

With cooling fountains, serene lakes, exotic blossoms and coral sand bunkers, the Blue is a true Hawaiian resort course. Her immaculate fairways are woven through the resort, offering a picturesque "tour" of Wailea, with spectacular views of the azure ocean and dramatic slopes of Mt. Haleakala. Her graceful design and generous fairways offer a pleasing repast for "weekend" golfers, but elevation changes and strategically placed hazards have tested some of the best professional players when the course hosted the LPGA Women's Kemper Open and the Asahi-Kyosen Golf Tournament.

The Emerald Course at Wailea Golf Club

The newest member of the trio is Wailea Golf Club's Emerald Course, fashioned with a more genial hand. Lush landscaping and an abundance of tropical blossoms add softer edges, lovely hues and delicious fragrances to this pristine and sensuous layout.

Designed to be fun for practically every player, the par 72, 6,825-yard Emerald was one reason Golf for Women Magazine first granted the Wailea Golf Club a Top Fairways Award for the country's most women-friendly golf clubs, an honor that Wailea has won six consecutive times. The course delights players with its carpet-like fairways, colorful foliage, and numerous vistas of the Pacific Ocean and Mt. Haleakala. Relatively few forced carries and kinder fairways are ideal for players who view golf as an enjoyable form of recreation rather than a grueling test of concentration and precision.

One of the more unusual features of the Emerald Course is the double green shared by holes #10 and #17 and bordering a 2.7 million gallon brackish water lake. It's one of the most picturesque spots on the course.

The Wailea Emerald was honored by Golf Magazine as one of the top 10 new courses when it opened in 1994, and Golf Digest hailed it as one of the ten best new resort courses in the country as well as one of the best golf courses in Hawaii.

In addition to its outstanding courses, the Wailea Golf Club features two award-winning pro shops stocked with the latest in golf apparel, equipment and gifts; one of the finest golf training facilities in the Pacific; top-of-the-line rental clubs; rental shoes, lessons, restaurants, lockers and lounges.

Led by Wailea's team of PGA Professionals, the Wailea Golf Academy offers instructional classes for individuals and small groups whose skill levels range from beginning to advanced. Services at this exclusive 12-acre outdoor training facility include private instruction, video lessons, playing lessons, and half- and full-day schools.

Guests staying in Wailea Resort receive preferred green fees.

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