Thursday, January 07, 2010

Kapalua: There's no place like it

If you're sitting there one of these cold evenings, watching the start of the PGA Tour season at Kapalua and wondering if it's really as eye-popping gorgeous as it appears on your big flat-screen, it is.

I've been fortunate enough to play the Plantation Course at Kapalua twice and it's stunning. It's different than any other golf course I've ever played -- it's the only one I've ever played that was carved out of a pineapple patch since there aren't many of those around these parts.

It's one of those places where they should hand out cameras on the first tee because it has more beautiful views than the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

It's borderline extreme golf, but that's part of the attraction. It has fairways so wide even I can't miss them. Let me rephrase that. They're wide enough that I can hit many of them.

I heard Bill Coore, who co-designed the course with Ben Crenshaw nearly 20 years ago, talking about how they wondered if a golf course could be laid across the property. The fact they got it done speaks to their imagination.

There are moments -- many of them -- when you just stop and look around. You see mountains and ocean and adjacent islands and some really great houses where really rich people live.

When they built the par-5 18th hole -- it's playing 663 yards from the tour tees this week -- they got it right. The view is spectacular and hitting a drive down the big hill is one of those moments you remember. It's like hitting a drive down an impossibly wide ski slope, only warmer.

Want to hit a 300-yard drive? You can do it there.

It's a good place for the PGA Tour season to begin. I know Tiger and Phil aren't there this week (for various reasons) but seeing Kapalua in January conjures up golf dreams.

And if you get the chance to go, you need to make that dream come true.


Jim Floyd said...

Ron Green got it right. Kapalua is the most beautiful setting for golf in the world. I am fortunate to live in Hawaii in the winter months from my home at Mt. Mitchell Golf Club near Burnsville. It is 10 there now and 80 out here in Honolulu. Best wishes to folks hunkered down back in the South. Jim Floyd