Makena Golf Course

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Summary: 18 hole regulation | 72 par | 6,914 yards | 73.6 USGA | 138 slope | Driving Range | GPS | Proper Resort Attire

Okay, let me preface this by saying the last time I played on Makena is was absolutely spectacular. This is a course that normally gets very high ratings, but I need to pull rating for now, and suggest that folks read what is going on here, and weigh if it is worth the risk scheduling a tee time here right now. (I definitely wouldn’t prepay for anything!)

Okay, a bit of history will make what is going on, and why I’m scared to send you here perfectly clear:

Owned by Makena Resort, the Makena Golf Courses closed their course with ocean holes (the South Course) in favor of developing the land, right around the peak of the real estate bubble. Ooops. Fast forward to end of 2009: owners decide that the investment wasn’t panning out, and so why should they have to pay? So they default on the loan as a maneuver to try and buy the place back cheaper after all the poor suckers investors are finished off and separated entirely from their equity.

As planned, the property went into foreclosure, which recently completed with an order to sell the courses and resort at public auction next month. We’ll see if the guys at the top will actually get the resort back – or if someone from a country that still has money snaps it up at fire sale and finds out the hard way they can’t just come in and run a resort here. (That’s a whole different rant!)

In the meantime, a court-appointed receiver is overseeing the management, the old management company, in the meantime ran like someone dropped napalm on the place (the moment the previous owners plans came to light), and a new (temporary) management company had to be brought virtually overnight. They will stick around for the transition process – and then yet another management company will take over after the sale closes.

This is what Makena South looks like now. An easy chip onto the green. Hope you brough your sand-wedge for putting!

This is what Makena South looks like now. An easy chip onto the green. Hope you brough your sand-wedge for putting!


The South Course, which I believe was supposed to be turned into a 9-hole now looks like this: (pic at right.)

The future of how this course will be managed is uncertain, but they are publicly insisting it is “business as usual”, and I have no knowledge that service or maintenance has tanked – but that said, I’m not fortunate enough to be able to check for you on a weekly basis!

The course that remains in play here is what they used to call the North Course. While this has always been a highly rated course, and might otherwise be in a close running to be rated best, I can’t rate this course at all right now because of the transition and horrible choices they’ve been making for both the courses and for Maui. Even before they opted to try and stiff the investors, they chose to lay waste to a course in favor of a “luxury enclave.” (If this were a “Luxury Enclave Review” it might be different – but clearly the priority here isn’t golf.)

Check back to see what transpires – as soon as they have new owner on the ground and have a chance to get everything in order, I’ll update this page.

PS – I was also a little bit disappointed in their “About Makena” page on their website where they call Kaho’olawe Island by the name of another Maui neighbor, Lana’i. (I know it isn’t a geography website, but, guys – hello??)

Opened: 1993, Architect: Robert Trent Jones, Jr., Golf Professional: Kirk Nelson, PGA

Key Info:
Location: 5415 Makena Alanui, Makena
Phone: 808-891-4000
Rating source:
Price: $59 – $149

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