Maui Nui Golf Club: A west Maui treasure filled with charm, challenges

By Bill Bowman, Contributor

KIHEI, Maui, Hawaii -- Maui Nui Golf Club, located on Maui's west coast, mixes charm, playability and challenge beautifully into 6,801 yards of island paradise.

Maui Nui Golf Club - No. 9
Maui Nui Golf Club features rolling fairways, undulating greens and a variety of tee boxes.
Maui Nui Golf Club - No. 9Maui Nui Golf Club - No. 1
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Maui Nui Golf Club

3 stars out of 5 (based on 7 reviews)
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The classic design of Maui Nui Golf Club combines different elements including reachable holes that face each cardinal point with strong prevailing winds that reward smart play for a layout that is both fair and challenging. The layout wanders through the foothills of Haleakula, providing subtle elevation changes as well as views of the ocean.

18 Holes | Resort golf course | Par: 71 | 6801 yards | Book online | ... details »

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.

With that in mind, grab your driver and head to the first tee.

Maui Nui Golf Club: On the course

Maui Nui 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 Maui Nui, 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.

Maui Nui's clubhouse

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.

Maui Nui 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.

Maui Nui 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?

Editor's Note: In 2014, the club's name changed from Elleair Golf Club to Maui Nui Golf Club. We have changed the story to reflect this re-branding.

Bill BowmanBill Bowman, Contributor

Bill Bowman is a Las Vegas-based writer who has more than 40 years in the sports-writing business. He's spent the past 16-plus years covering the golf scene in Vegas and has teed it up for magazine profiles with celebrities including comedian Bill Engvall, actor Jeffrey Donovan (USA's Burn Notice), ESPN personality Colin Cowherd, NASCAR's Kurt Busch, Collective Soul's Ed Roland, the Baltimore Ravens' Jonathan Ogden and many others.

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