Given that the Prince course, despite the rumored re-opening, is still closed Makai is essentially the only game in town in Princeville for the near future. The 9 hole Woods course, from what can be seen and discussions with the pro shop, is pretty rough around the edges to put it mildly. Regardless, Makai is a scenic, fun, and often challenging layout, particularly when the wind blows. The 1st hole is non-descript although is similar to many as bunkers pinch the fairways in the driving zone. That being said the fairways here are generous if not often huge so the course can be had if you're playing well. Hole #2 offers the first of two views of Hanalei Bay and the mountains behind and is a bunker lined par 5. #3 is a straight downhill par 3 that plays much shorter than the yardage and is fronted by a pond in the front and OB back and has an even better view than #2. Temporarily turning away from the water #4 is the toughest hole in the course with a tight driving area and dramatic uphill approach shot. #5 is a par five that despite playing into the wind is a birdie opportunity. Crossing the road leads to #6 that plays downhill on the 2nd shot to the Pacific ocean. Par 3 #7 forces a carry over a ravine with a great coastline view. The finishing par 4's on the front are generally unremarkable. The back 9 plays longer and often into the wind with #10 being a long par 4 with the approach shot needing to clear a fronting pond. The next par 5 is wide open and can lead to birdie despite the length and wind. #12 is a long par 4 that played into the wind all week and par was a good score. #13 is a lengthy par three with trouble on the left and par is a good score here. #14 is a downwind potentially drivable par 4 over a ravine with the Pacific on the right. #15 is a potential birdie hole if you thread or clear the bunkers, although too far right leaves a potential steep downhill approach out of thick rough. 16 is a long par 3. #17 is a long par 4 with an approach to a green fronted by a lake with bunkers behind. The finishing hole is a risk/reward par 5 where the drive can play safe or attempt to cut off distance over the lake and avoiding a centrally placed bunker. The second shot is either a lay-up to a strip on the right or going further back short of the lake on the left. Going for the green in 2 requires a long strike to clear the lake fronting the green.
Overall this is a fun course with some excellent views (see pictures), a great staff, and some challenging holes. Despite all the recent rains the course conditioning was excellent overall. Perfect course for vacation rounds in this magnificent setting.
Date: January 08, 2019