In a nutshell: Challenging true old-world-style links course..
Sound-bite: “I swear they would have shined my shoes if I asked them to.”
18 hole regulation | 72 par | 6,841 yards | 73.5 USGA | 136 slope | Driving Range | GPS | Collared shirt & soft spikes are mandatory
Very well kept true old-world-style links course. Uncrowded with spectacular views of Haleakala and the West Maui Mountains. The only view-spoiler (for some) will be the homes scattered along the course – but that has become the rule rather than the exception on many courses here in Maui, and they truly have pulled it off well here with careful placement.
Now countless courses back on the mainland call themselves “links” without remotely resembling the true classic links courses that started it all. Not the case here. This is a British Open course on Maui, built into the rugged terrain, and not the other way around. The course plays with the land, traversing up, around and over the natural million-year-old dunes – as their website says quite accurately: “Golf shots must be played through these gaps formed by nature, much like they are in the greatest links courses on earth.” and goes on to define the course “Like many classic links courses, the front nine heads out, and the back nine heads in. According to Nelson, “Anyone who has seen Ballybunion, Wild Dunes, or Shinnecock Hills will recognize a similar look and feel at The Dunes.”
The Dunes is designed to be very challenging for good players, but with the significant challenges presented it is also cleverly engineered to be an enjoyable play for higher handicap players as well.
Playing aggressively and trying to shave off some strokes will prove ill-advised. You definitely want to read the yardage book notes as a primer, and if you have the opportunity to join a local player or two, seize the advantage to garner insider tips as your ace-in-the-hole during play. Also bear in mind the holes closest to the clubhouse are not dune protected and #1 & #18 are long par 5’s that push the limits to a point where not respecting the wind can absolutely wreck your game. This is especially true later in the day when the tradewinds typically pick up – Nelson’s design is merciless for those who opt to rest on their laurels coming in to that final hole with an otherwise hard-earned scorecard.
When it comes to service, the genuine Aloha spirit and attention to your every need here is absolutely undeniable – even the high-maintenance types will leave impressed with the attention to detail. In one review I read the gentleman said “I swear they would have shined my shoes if I asked them to” when speaking of how eager the service was to please. That was no exaggeration – the staff here has genuine Aloha spirit and the kind of service you like to think you could expect (but don’t always get) when playing at a top-notch golf club.
This is a newer course on Maui (1999), and like most here, they have GPS in the carts. Oh and even more Aloha: your kid can come and play with you for just ten bucks! (You will be kind and tell him about the wind, right?!)
Designed by Robin Nelson (ASGCA). Dave Gleason manages the course as the General Manager.
Course Tour on their website
View The Dunes at Maui Lani in a larger map