Wailea Golf Club opened for business on the southwest coast of Maui in the early 1970s, with Jack Synder designing a couple of elegant 18-hole layouts, called the Blue and the Orange. Back then, the architect was bringing old stone walls and natural lava outcrops into play, long before it became the popular thing for architects to do.
The Blue course lives on to this day but Robert Trent Jones Jnr dismantled the Orange course in the mid-1990s when he constructed the new Gold and Emerald 18-hole layouts. Regarded as one of Hawaii’s most women-friendly tracks, the Emerald course can still be stretched to a not so genial 6,825 yards when it’s played from the back tees.
Memorable holes include the right doglegged downhill par four 6th (where the green is surrounded by little grass bunkers), the 10th and 17th (which are the only holes featuring water and a shared double green) and the heavily bunkered 15th, a demanding par four with a well-earned low stroke index rating.
The Emerald Course at Wailea was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jnr, and opened in 1994 to critical acclaim, along with it's sister- the Gold Course.
While the Gold Course was intended more for tournament golf, The Emerald course was intended to be fun for all level of players.
There are less forced carries, fairways are wider, and greens are more approachable.
Perfectly manicured, with volcano and ocean views, and surrounded by a colourful tropical garden the Emerald Course is a delight to play.
When it opened 'Emerald' was voted by Golf Magazine as one of the top 10 new courses in the land.
Visitors return year on year vouching for the beauty and playability of the course- in fact Golf for Women, and Golf Digest magazines have rated the Emerald courses 10 times as one of the most women friendly courses in the USA. But it's not just for women.
With multiple tee boxes on each hole the Emerald course is suitable for seniors, long handicappers, and juniors.
The astounding thing is: it is still challenging and enjoyable for the better golfer as well. Surely that is a sign of good design?
Notable holes include:
- the first hole is a sharply down hill par 4 with the ocean glistening in the background- it is a spectacular start to the round
- hole 4- a shortish par 4 beautifully bunkered and challenging
- hole 13- a delightful downhill par 3 with the tee shot framed by trees, and lovely ocean backdrop
- hole 17- a devilish short par 4 with water and bunkers requiring the golfer to think their way through the hole
- hole 18- a lovely par 5 which can reward the strong drive with a chance at eagle. However the green is angled across the line of play for the approach and protected by a dazzling display of bunkers- which angle do you want to come in from and from how far?
The Emerald course is a joy to play. Carts are a necessity given the distances between green and tee, and elevation changes throughout the journey. But it is a resort course after all!
Nevertheless it offers quality golf, in a wonderful part of the world. I’d go back in a heartbeat
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.
You're in Maui, how does it get any better. Wailea is a good challenge with wind being ever present. Every hole is presented in front of you with no blind shots and bunkering is not severe, nor penal, with placement for aesthetics purposes.
Low scores can be had with the width of the fairways and lack of rough. Greens are in very good condition and roll out nicely.