New sponsor added excitement at Kapalua


KAPALUA, Hawaii – The opening event of the 2011 PGA Tour season has a new sponsor, Hyundai, and the Kapalua Resort is rolling out the red carpet to spectators like never before.

In an effort to beef up attendance, the tour will offer free admission each day of the tournament. The clubhouse and restaurant will also be open to the public (the pros will have the ground floor to themselves), and live music will be played each night after the day's final putt drops.

Also new this year is the 'Fan Zone Delivered by FedEx Cup,' an interactive center right of the first fairway that will invite visitors to receive 10-minute swing lessons from local pros, putt and take part in daily contests.

'It's an effort to get more of the island involved,' said Mike Jones, director of golf at Kapalua. 'It will all help create more of an atmosphere.'
For spectators looking to play their own golf during tournament week, Kapalua's Bay Course (a 2008 LPGA host) is open for play a few minutes away. It also recently received an estimated $4-5 million renovation, which included new TifEagle greens. The new Kapalua Spa and and adventure center, featuring a two-mile zipline course, have also been added since 2009.

Beyond Kaplua, the Ka'anapali Resort is about a 10-minute drive south and home to two 18-hole courses highlighted by Royal Ka'anapali, plus a handful of oceanfront hotels and condo units.

But from this side of the island, you're within an hour's drive of virtually every golf course on Maui and many other places to stay if you can't get a room at Kapalua. Wailea Golf Club features three 18-hole courses highlighted by the Gold, plus three luxurious beachside resorts.

The closest thing to being treated like a tour champion yourself on Maui is the 'Member for a day' green fee at King Kamehameha Golf Club. It provides second-to-none service and amenities for $180 – including lunch in one of golf's greatest clubhouses.

If you're headed to Maui prior to the tournament, the Kapalua Plantation course is open to the public through Dec. 31 before it's turned over to the PGA Tour, and the course will re-open the Monday after the event.

Jones notes that during tournament week, most golfers on Maui like to book a tee time between 8 and 9 a.m. in order to catch the action on the Plantation in the afternoon. So if you haven't booked your tee time yet, it's time to get serious.

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