The older of two 18-hole courses at the Ka'anapali Golf Resort, the Royal Ka'anapali layout was Robert Trent Jones Snr’s first Hawaiian design back in 1962.
Two years after opening the facility staged the 1964 Canada Cup (now known as the World Cup), won by the formidable pairing of Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. Over the years the Ka'anapali course has hosted a number of other events on both the LPGA and Champions Tour.
Royal Ka’anapali is a Robert Trent Jones Sr. design that dates back to 1962. Over the years it has hosted events such as Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf, the LPGA’s Kemper Open, and the Champions Tour, Ka’anapali Classic. However, that was many years ago.
The first hole is a reachable par 5, slight dogleg right with water all the way down the right. Well -protected green with 3 bunkers and the water hazard creating a narrow approach. As it is the first hole, I would advise playing it as a 3 shotter, make par or better and get your round off to a good start. The 3rd is a long par four with a redan green. Off the tee favor the right side of the fairway. The 4th is a dogleg right with three bunkers on the inside elbow and one on the outside. The 5th is a long par 4, 474 yards with a beach on the right. The number one handicap hole, par is a super score. Interestingly, the 470 uphill 6th is a par 5 and even I reached it in two. Not a lot to this hole, but a cautionary tale of grain is worth noting. I did not want to leave eagle putt short, so I went after it to set up a 20 foot birdie putt. Now I am thinking, these have gotten quick, better dial it back a bit. Now, I have a ten foot par putt which I nestled into the circle of friends for a 4 jack. Pay attention to where the sun is, very grainy greens. The 7th is a short dogleg right with some fairway bunkers adding to the nuisance factor. A good birdie oppty. The 9th looks intimidating on the card a 485 yard par 4. There are a couple of fairway bunkers on each side, but if you are playing the correct tees, they should not affect a decent drive. You will have elevation and wind assisting, favor the left side off the tee.
The look and feel from 10 - 14 are similar, pretty open fairways, some fairway bunkers and usually well-protected greens. The long 200 yard par 3 15th has some teeth. Three bunkers with one short right and one short left. The par 3 17th leverages the only water hazard on the course. It is only 155 yards, but one of the funner holes on the course. On the 18th you will have a water carry off the tee, with water all the way down the right side. If you are to cautious you may end up in the left fairway bunkers. Too bad the rest of the course is not like the 18th.
Not impressed. I would not go back even if you were paying. However, if you are stuck at one of the local hotels with no vehicle playing Ka’anapali beats a sharp stick in the eye
It's your standard Hawaiian resort course. I don't feel it's worth as much as the green fees might indicate, but it is a good course. #5 is a lot of fun to play as you come right up alongside the Ka'anapali beach and get to putt out with lots of beach bums spectating. The course is in good shape, but between value and bang for your buck, I firmly believe visiting a course like The Dunes at Maui Lani or Kahili is more valuable. They're better golf courses in my book, cheaper, and not nearly as busy. I'd like to see at least one of them make the cut and be listed on the Hawaii ranking here sometime.