Five things to know about golf on Maui

By Brandon TuckerJanuary 2, 2013, 9:14 pm

The Plantation Course at Kapalua is in the spotlight during the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, but there's a lot to learn about the collection of golf courses on Maui.

1. The Plantation Course is hardly indicative of what to expect on Maui golf courses. One of the most striking aspects of the island is how quickly the environment can change, even by driving just a few miles along the coast. Just minutes south of jungly, green Kapalua (a former pineapple plantation), Lahaina has a drier climate more suitable for sugar cane - and the golf courses at Ka'anapali play lower to the ocean so the wind is generally not as much of a factor.

Head south to Wailea and Makena, and you'll discover some of the sunniest, calmest holes in all of the Hawaiian Islands. The Wailea Emerald Course may very well be the world's most perfect 'resort course' thanks to a playable-yet-interesting design to go with an unmatchably beautiful and calm setting. These south Maui courses sit at the base of 10,000-foot Mt. Haleakala, which shields the brunt of any inclement weather passing through.

2. You can play golf on the (relative) cheap in Maui. Even though the top resort courses are $200-300 a pop, no visitor should feel priced out of a golf experience on Maui. Two of my favorite bargain courses on the island are the Dunes at Maui Lani and Kahili. Both are centrally-located daily fee facilities that deliver everything you want in a Hawaii golf experience: great ocean views, a challenging layout plus good service and facilities in a more casual and affordable atmosphere.

Other bargain options on Maui include Pukalani, set high up into the foothills of Mt. Haleakala, as well as Kihei's local course, Elleair.

Window Shopping: Golf under $100 on Maui

3. It's easy to get around Maui. Maui is such a traveler's favorite destination in part because there is so much to do within such a small area, and that includes every golf course. From the northernmost course, Kapalua to southernmost Makena, it's a wonderfully scenic, coastal drive that doesn't take much longer than an hour.

But if you plan on playing as many of the 10-plus courses you can in Maui, consider staying in either Kihei or Lahaina. These are two of the most bustling resort hubs and more centrally located so you can drive as much or as little as you want for golf.

4. Maui golf courses have some incredible clubhouses. The Plantation's clubhouse serves up phenomenal views of the 18th and first holes, but you would be silly to head straight to the car after a round on a Maui golf course, as many of them have tremendous 19th holes. King Kamehameha, a marvelous private club, loftly set in the West Maui Mountains that offers limited daily public play, has the finest of the bunch: a 74,000-foot Frank Lloyd Wright-designed masterpiece (visitors will also enjoy member-pricing on food & beverage, which is a good break from resort prices). 

Wailea's main golf clubhouse, recently redone several years ago, has fine dining at Gannon's - A Pacific View Restaurant. Next door, the Old Blue clubhouse is home to Mulligan's, a more casual Irish pub where you can watch football and soccer on HD TVs. Makena also revamped its clubhouse and now offers the open-air Cafe on the Green, which has a Hawaiian atmosphere to go with a fantastic south Maui view.

In Photos: The Best of Maui golf

5. Singles can find a game, somewhere on Maui. One phenomenon in Maui are regular skins games that, while catering to the locals, are a good option for the many golfers who come to Hawaii with their non-golfing spouse.

Venues and schedules for the skins game can change throughout the year, so you'll want to make a phone call to some courses and ask when the next one is. The games have a buy-in but don't worry, you'll likely pay a reduced green fee that more than makes up for your pot donation.

Another option for the non-bettor is Ka'anapali's FIT Club, a twilight program that welcomes golfers to play all month for just $50. It's a walking-only program that kicks off at 4 p.m. While the FIT Club was designed to be a six-hole loop, the shop at Ka'anapali doesn't seem to put up much of a fuss if you stay out on the course until sunset. So play fast. 

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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.