Xander Schauffele’s storm-from-behind victory at the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Championships earlier this month was a stirring kickoff to the 2019 golf season. And the television coverage most likely had golf fans around the world once again dreaming about the chance to someday take their own shots on Kapalua’s Plantation Course. But it looks like golf travelers will have to wait a little while longer to book that famous tee time. The Maui gem will be closing Feb. 11 for a bit of a facelift — or at least a nip-and-tuck here and there.
The project is expected to be completed in November, well in advance of the 2020 Tournament of Champions next January.
The original design team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw (known for their courses across North America, from Nebraska’s Sand Hills to Oregon’s Bandon Trails to Canada’s Cabot Cliffs) will assist with the extensive course-enhancement project. Troon Golf’s Design-Development-Agronomy team, as well as longtime Maui resident and Golf Channel personality Mark Rolfing, will also be involved.
“All of the Plantation Course refinements will be focused on improving the playability of the golf course for our guests while also providing new challenges for PGA Tour professionals,” says Alex Nakajima, general manager, Kapalua Golf & Tennis. “For all of the changes, it’s important to note that the overall Plantation Course layout and routing will remain the same.”
What will tourists and professionals see when the course reopens? Green complexes will be reconstructed and then resurfaced with Tif Eagle Bermuda grass Bermudagrass; Fairways, rough and tee boxes will be re-grassed using Celebration Bermuda; Bunkers will be renovated and some will be eliminated or relocated; Greens will be refined to create more options for hole locations (without changing the character of the greens); Existing tee boxes will be rebuilt and additional tees will be added, including a significant number of new forward and family tees, plus a new combined back tee will be added for holes 3 and 9.
“This will be a very thoughtful restoration and refining process, but it’s not a redesign. We are very happy with the way the course looks and the way it has gone through the past nearly three decades,” Coore says. “It’s like when you have a special piece of art, or something really special to you, and you get a chance to dust if off and make it new again.”