Emerald Course at Wailea Golf Club in Hawaii: Maui's scenic, playable RTJ Jr. gem

By Travel ArticlesFebruary 6, 2012, 5:00 am

WAILEA, Maui, Hawaii -- Start with three golf courses, add in beach-front resorts, mix in a variety of restaurant choices and top it off with ocean views you've got all the ingredients you'll need for your next golf vacation. In fact, with three 18-hole golf layouts (Emerald, Gold and Old Blue), the Wailea Golf Club can be your one-stop golf getaway.

'We have amazing course conditions, great weather, beautiful scenery and three different courses -- what else can I say?' said Rusty Hathaway, head professional at Wailea Golf Club. 'It's just a great place to get away and play golf. And three distinctly different courses give players a lot of choices.'

Wailea Golf Club's Emerald Course

For this story we're going to focus on the Robert Trent Jones, Jr.-designed Emerald Course at Wailea G.C. At 6,825 yards, the Emerald has plenty of distance to challenge even the best players.

But it's not the length that will catch your eye. It's the golf course's design. There are Pacific Ocean and Mount Haleakala views everywhere on this course that features winding fairways, elevation changes, well bunkered greens and consistent course conditions. There are no houses on the course, so it's just you and a four-hour golf outing that will tantalize the senses.

And that outing starts at the 380-yard, par-4 first hole. A wide, inviting fairway awaits the drive, allowing players to be a little wide off the tee. The second shot is in to a receptive green that can get players off to a birdie start.

One of the more intriguing features on the course is the double green shared by the 10th and 17th holes. A huge mound separates the two greens with a pond and bunkers adding to the challenges. Then there's the par-3 13th. This well guarded, tricky green makes this short hole still quite the test.

The 18th provides players one last chance to put a birdie on the scorecard. The par 5 plays 553 yards from the tips, but a wide fairway (on both the tee shot and the second shot) will let players be a little more aggressive. Lay up with the second shot to have a wedge into this greem. Try to stay below the hole to ensure an easier putt to end your day on the Emerald.

'This is one of the best finishing holes on the island,' Hathaway said. 'With the Pacific Ocean in the background and hitting down to the green, it's just a great way to end your round.'

Two final notes for those looking to get away to play golf with the wife (or husband): The Emerald Course is constantly rated as one of the best anywhere for women to play. And don't let your ego stand in the way of having a good time. Remember, you're at sea level so drives will have a tendency to be shorter. Don't be afraid to move up a set of tees.

Wailea Golf Club: In the clubhouse

The food and the views are both impressive. Looking out over the golf course to the Pacific Ocean in the background as the sun begins to set is a great spot for that romantic dinner. With a menu from Chef Bev Gannon (including, but not limited to, cashew-crusted Mahi, Tandoori loin of lamb, braised short ribs and rock salt-crusted ribeye), there are dining options to fit everyone's taste.

Wailea Golf Club: Where to stay?

If you're looking for a place to call home during your next Maui trip, Wailea G.C. should be on the top of your list. There are plenty of resorts in the area, including the Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui; Four Seasons Resort, Maui; Grand Wailea Resort and Hotel Wailea. Add to those five white-sand beaches, spa getaways and an abundance of dining and recreational choices. There's a package that will fit everyone's budget. And they are all just minutes away from the three golf courses.

Now it's just a matter of narrowing down your choices -- just like with the golf courses.

Wailea Golf Club: The verdict

There's no doubt Wailea Golf Club should be a must-play stop on any golfer's list when traveling to Hawaii. But make sure you schedule at least a couple of days here because you can't play just one course. After all, two more courses -- the Gold and Old Blue -- are right on the property.

'These are three really enjoyable courses,' Hathaway said. 'These typify resort courses. We want players to come out and have a great time and have fun. We provide some of the best customer service and really want to make the players feel welcome when they come here. It's that simple.'

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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”

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Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06

By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.

Hoylake in 2006.

That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.

So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”

With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?

“The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”