Golf courses in Maui are slowly reopening after the historic fires

The deadliest wildfire in recent U.S. history displaced thousands of residents in Maui back in August, killing more than 100, swallowing the historic Lahaina town in flames and closing many of the area’s golf courses.

Officials are unsure what started the blazes that prompted some locals to bolt into the ocean to escape marauding flames, but some experts said they suspect human development on the island is at least partly to blame for the destruction.

Wildfires have quadrupled in Hawaii in recent decades, and many scientists say the culprit is unmanaged, nonnative grasslands planted by plantations and ranchers and others unfamiliar with the island’s native ecosystems. The grass is dry and prone to fires.

Kapalua Golf’s Bay Course re-opened on Sept. 20, and its Plantation Course is set to do so on Oct. 18. Both golf courses had been closed since the Maui wildfires on Aug. 8. Located in West Maui, the golf courses and facilities at Kapalua Golf were spared from the fires, which devastated Lahaina, about 10 miles away.

According to a story on, another major resort on the island is also nearly back up to full speed.

Kā‘anapali reopened its driving range and Royal Kā‘anapali Golf Course on Sept. 18 and will reopen the Kā‘anapali Kai Golf Course on Nov. 20.

Kapalua Golf ‘s Bay Course’s practice range reopened on Aug. 28. Wailea Golf Club remained open after the fires with Wailea’s Gold, Blue and Emerald Courses continuing to welcome guests.

The fires impacted associates at all three golf resort properties with many losing their homes and possessions. As the Maui community heals, the properties continue to welcome back team members to work as they are ready to return.

All three properties have focused efforts to support team members who lost their homes or loved ones, while also continuing to help the larger Maui community recover through donations and fundraisers.

“As part of Mauiʻs recovery process, we need our visitors to help keep our community employed,” said Sherry Duong, executive director of the Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau. “We welcome respectful, responsible and compassionate travel to all accessible parts of Maui. We encourage our visitors to buy local, dine at local restaurants, enjoy Mauiʻs incredible activities and attractions including our beautiful golf courses, and most of all visit our island with patience and grace.”

“Our team truly appreciates the outpouring of support from around the globe over the past six weeks,” said Kapalua Golf & Tennis General Manager Alex Nakajima. “Our staff was deeply impacted by the fires, with nearly a third losing their homes and possessions. As associates and the community work to heal, we continue to support them; welcoming back team members to work as they are ready. As we continue the recovery process, we are reopening our two golf courses for Kamaʻāina (local residents) on island and for those planning their return to Maui. As millions discovered during the pandemic, a round of golf can be good medicine for the mind, body and soul.”

Kapalua Golf’s Plantation Course and Bay Course are open to resort guests and daily-fee play. Arnold Palmer designed The Bay Course first, in 1975, which is more forgiving than the Plantation, a Coore-Crenshaw design that the duo built in 1991 and renovated in 2019. The Sentry is played annually at the Plantation Course, which ranks No. 17 in Golfweek’s Best Resort Courses list.

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