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Maui is Hawaii's premier golf and travel destination

William K. WolfrumBy William K. Wolfrum,
Kaanapali Golf Resort on Maui
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Offering 36 holes on its Kaanapali Kai and Royal Courses, Kaanapali Golf Resort gives golfers a taste of the very best. (Courtesy of Kaanapali Beach Resort)

More than nearly any other major golf destination, Hawaii has the reputation of a chameleon. From the bustling Big Island to smaller isles like Lanai and Molokai, golf travelers can have the energy of a big-time tourist town, the laid-back, unfettered beaches of hidden island gems, and all delights in between.

But when it comes to getting it all, there may be no better Hawaiian golf island for a traveler to head to than Maui.

With the awe-inspiring beauty of its tropical landscape and beaches, as well as the ever-present Hawaiian culture at a traveler's fingertips, Maui is sure to dazzle. And that's before you get on the golf course.

More than 20 golf courses make their home on Maui, making this Hawaiian Island one of the world's greatest golf destinations.

While the sheer number of golf courses makes it impossible to highlight them all, here's a sampler plate of some of the amazing golf courses Maui has to offer.

Maui golf courses

When it comes to discussing the merits of Maui golf, the conversation nearly always begins with one name: Kapalua. The The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua is home to 54 breathtaking holes of golf that will satisfy even the most ardent golfer.

While Kapalua's Plantation Course has garnered the most attention -- hosting the PGA Tour's Mercedes Championship and receiving endless accolades will do that for a course -- the Bay Course and Village Course give Kapalua a triumvirate of runs that leave golfers agog.

Once you've got your Kapalua fix, however, Maui has plenty more to offer a golfer, and shows why golf packagers have their work cut out for them when putting together the perfect Hawaiian golf vacation package.

If Kapalua is the Michael Jordan of Maui Golf, Kaanapali Golf Resort is the Scottie Pippen -- a golf resort that would stand out as a superstar on any other island. Offering 36 holes of golf on its Kaanapali Kai and Royal Kaanapali courses, the resort gives golfers a taste of the very best.

The Royal Kaanapali Course is one of only two courses in all of Hawaii designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., while the Kaanapali Kai Course provides golfers with a challenging run cutting through sugar cane and native fauna.

Another stellar golf resort offering diverse golf is Grand Wailea Resort, which gives golfers a choice of three world-class 18-hole runs. While the Gold Course and Blue Course offer golfers all they could want from Maui golf, it's Grand Wailea's Emerald Course that's the star of this show.

"The Emerald is labeled Wailea's Tropical Playground, an appropriate name for a round of golf on a jewel of a course," wrote a reviewer for Hawaii Golf Guide. "Rated one of the best new courses by Golf Magazine and Golf Digest, as well as one of North America's most women friendly courses by Golf For Women, the Emerald course lives up to its name."

Other Maui golf courses worth a look

Starting to see the amazing opportunities of Maui golf? We've highlighted 144 holes of great golf, and have barely scratched the surface of what this spectacular island has to offer.

Some other Maui golf courses worth a look include (but by no means are limited to):

With Makena Golf Course's North Course and South Course, you'll not only have 36 more holes of Maui golf to experience, but you'll have the option of playing toward the sea, or up into the brilliant Hawaiian landscape.

At Pukalani Country Club you'll not just get the astounding scenery that makes Maui golf so spectacular, but you'll get it for less at this run, which is a "country club" in name and attitude, but not when it comes to green fees.

The Dunes at Maui Lani is another design by Robin Nelson, Hawaii's most prolific golf course architect. The Dunes epitomizes the word "unique." That is, unless you consider playing a links-style course in the midst of Hawaii's tropics to be pedestrian.

In the end, golf travelers expect a lot when they book a trip to their favorite golf destination. And more than nearly any other Hawaiian Island, Maui delivers the goods.

More photos

Kapalua Resort - Plantation golf courseNorth Course at Kaanapali - 11th holeWailea G.C. - Emerald golf course - 13th

William K. Wolfrum keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation. You can follow him on Twitter @Wolfrum.

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