Maui's Kaanapali golf courses pamper golfers with 'wine and nine'

By Aaron Bernthal, Contributor

There are few things better than sipping fine wine and nibbling delicious cheese, while watching the sun set into the dark blue Pacific off the coast of Maui.

Kaanapali wine
The golf is even better with wine and cheese at Kaanapali on Maui.
Kaanapali wineKaanapali No. 11
If you go

As the cold chardonnay washed down the delicious Gouda, my wife and I glanced at each other and smiled in recognition of our gorgeous surroundings. While this picture normally conjures up images of a sunset picnic on the beach, we were instead sitting in our golf cart waiting to tee off on the first hole of Kaanapali's North Golf Course.

The 6,700-yard, par-71 North Course, designed by the renowned Robert Trent Jones Sr., first opened 1962, and is only one of two Trent-designed golf courses in Hawaii. It is located among the foothills of the West Maui Mountains, about 15 minutes north of the town of Lahaina and just a short walk to the famous Blackrock snorkeling site.

The course plays beautifully, the terrain, which ranges from sea level to several hundred feet, provides stunning, sweeping views of the island and of the many hotels that dot the coast.

Kaanapali's South Course opened in 1976, but recently completed an extensive renovation by architect Robin Nelson, making it once again fit for world-class play.

The par 70, 6,400-yard course is beautifully landscaped with local trees and flowers including hibiscus and plumeria. Players can even catch a glimpse of the historic Sugar Cane Train rolling past several of the holes on well-hidden tracks.

While both courses are extremely busy in the morning, the afternoons are rather quiet, so in an effort to attract couples and honeymooners, Kaanapali came up with a "Wine and Nine" promotion; $135 per couple covers green fees for nine holes and includes a backpack filled with red or white wine, a variety of cheeses, crackers, a cheeseboard, a knife and wine glasses to take with you onto the course. The trendy-looking backpack, and any leftover snacks and wine, can be taken back to your hotel after the round.

As a newlywed myself, I knew it would be difficult to play golf and leave my wife behind, so this was a great way for both of us to enjoy golf in a romantic and charming setting.

Wine and nine

The "Wine and Nine" promotion, offered only during off-peak times, allows golfers to make their way through the round in a leisurely fashion, providing enough time to take in the natural beauty of the grounds and the island vistas. Kaanapali Golf Course is certainly going to attract golfing couples looking to combine some sport and romance while vacationing in beautiful Hawaii.

My wife and I found this unique experience to be extremely memorable, and while our play greatly improved as the glistening sun neared the ocean, we are still not sure whether to credit the luck in the warm Hawaiian air or the wine in our stomachs.

Aaron Bernthal, Contributor

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