Kapalua Resort once boasted three 18-hole layouts, but now there are only two courses in play at the property. The Plantation course hosts the annual Tour of Champions event and the older Bay course (designed by Arnold Palmer and Frank Duane) dates back in 1974 and was the stage for the 1987 World Cup of Golf.
Designed by Arnold Palmer & Francis Duane, The Bay Course opened in 1975 and has since hosted a list of major professional tournaments. From the first live prime-time televised event in golf at the 1983 Kapalua International to the Kapalua LPGA classic some 25 years later, The Bay Course has provided a challenge to both professionals at the peak of the thier powers, and holiday makers alike
History has been made here: it was the site of Greg Norman’s first win on America soil, Ian Woosnam and David Llwellyn’s thrilling victory for Wales in the World Cup of Golf and Morgan Pressel’s nail-biting win at the Kapalua LPGA classic. Two of the most popular PGA players ever, Fred Couples and Davis Love III, have each earned victories here - twice.
The course is very much a tale of two nines. The front nine is hilly, and heads for the sea and back.
It includes some holes that fail to inspire, some nice parkland holes, and a couple of standouts right on the beach (the short dogleg par 4 fourth hole, and the outstanding par 3 fifth hole- the only hole in Maui to carry the ocean).
With the tee on one rocky promontory and the green on another the 5th is the signature hole for the Bay Course.
The back nine is routed through parkland terrain away from the shoreline, and is defined by a gorge running through the playing fields, and lake below.
Hole twelve is a nice par 3 over the gorge, and hole 16 grabs your attention with a water carry off the tee, split landing areas and burn down the middle. The uphill approach to the green also has to carry some penal bunkering front of green. It is a busy, but interesting hole..
Another hole worth mentioning is the par 4 thirteenth hole where some unremarkable land has been nicely engineered into a hole of interest by strategically placed fairway bunkers
The final approach on eighteen to a raised green is beautifully framed by oval shaped bunkers and a good way to finish
Overall The Bay Course is a nice way to warm up for the main event at Kapulua- playing The Plantation Course.
It is a much friendlier course for the longer handicapper, yet still keeps the better player on his toes..
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.