Elleair Golf Club: A west Maui treasure filled with charm, challenges
KIHEI, Maui, Hawaii -- Elleair Golf Club, located on Maui's west coast, mixes charm, playability and challenge beautifully into 6,801 yards of island paradise.
The Bill Newis par-71 design is laid out in the Maui hillside in Kihei. Nestled out of the way, the golf course is a tranquil design that features rolling fairways, undulating greens and a variety of tee boxes. Plus, don't forget the views -- some of the best in Hawaii. And golfers get it all at a great price, which keeps visitors and locals coming back for more.
"It's definitely a course that is a good test of golf," Elleair Head Professional Mark Seki said.
With that in mind, grab your driver and head to the first tee.
Elleair Golf Club: On the course
Elleair opens up with a straightaway par 4 that offers the first of many spectaculars views of Mount Haleakala in the distance. Narrow your view and you'll see a golf hole that starts players off with the chance at a birdie. At 449 yards from the tips (but usually playing downwind), the drive must avoid a pond on the right to set up an approach shot to an elevated green. Birdie or par here is a great way to start your adventure.
Accuracy is a must at Elleair, as players will find out on the 423-yard, par-4 fourth hole. It doglegs severely to the right about 220 yards off the tee, which means driver isn't always the right choice. So play it smart. Or, and here's the kicker: Take your driver and blast it over the trees to the waiting fairway just in front of the green. It's a gamble, but one that can pay off with a short chip and putt for birdie.
Are you in the mood to gamble a little more? Well, the par-5 eighth hole is just what the doctor ordered. At 513 yards, it's reachable in two, so let it rip with the driver. But bunkers guard this rolling green. It's a definite birdie hole (with eagle possibilities) if your gambles pay off.
The views and challenges get even more impressive on the back nine.
The 15th hole proves bigger isn't always better. At 392 yards, it's a short par 4, but add water left and right off the tee and players will soon realize why accuracy is key off the tee. Hit a club off the tee that will position you for an easier approach shot. Beware, though, because bunkers short and long guard the green.
The closing hole here is another scoring possibility. At 563 yards, the par 5 plays downhill and swoops dramatically to the left. A tee shot hit around the corner will set up that age-old question: Do I go for the green in two? Maybe. With bunkers everywhere around this massive, sloping green, a lay-up shot to leave a wedge in hand may be the best option. Whichever route players take, finishing with a birdie possibility is a great way to end any round.
"The great weather, the course condition and the price all add up to a good golf experience," Seki said.
The drive-through snack shop at the turn is a nice touch to keep players on pace. But when time isn't a factor, head inside for a bite to eat and take in the charming ambiance. In the clubhouse, players can shop to their heart's content.
"We have an excellent selection of golf apparel and club selection," Seki said. "We also employ top teaching PGA professionals and have an on-site club fitting and repair center."
Elleair Golf Club: On the range
The practice facility, featuring all natural turf, is wide open and is a favorite spot for locals to come and work on their game. Whether it's the driver, short game, bunker play or putting, this is an ideal spot to hone those skills.
Elleair Golf Club: The verdict
Play this golf course once, and you'll be back. There are enough challenges to test the best players around, but with a variety of tee options it's also playable for everyone. With wide-open spaces, dramatic views, friendly staff and a lush, beautiful course, what's not to love?
"We offer a course with unparalleled views and reasonable pricing," Seki said. "We are the hidden gem of Maui."
July 6, 2011