Welcome to my very first blog post. My own blog has been a long time coming and I decided to finally make the plunge. Can you believe it?! I'm excited to share lots of my daily adventures with you and I couldn't think of a better catagory to start with than GOLF and my HONEYMOON!
Nick and I got married on December 12, 2015 at Flowerfield in Saint James, New York. The Monday following the wedding we jetted off to Hawaii with our first stop being Maui, Hawaii. If you have never been to Hawaii you absoultely NEED to visit this island. I have so much to say about Maui but that will be in more blog posts to come. I want to focus on the Kapalua resort, specifically The Plantation Course, because that is where this weekend's PGA TOUR Tournament of Champions event is taking place.
As PGA members, Nick and I are lucky enough that we are able to play golf courses for a minimal cost. I have to say, out of the four golf courses we played on our honeymoon this was the most expensive rate but it was DEFINITELY worth the price. Having played many beautiful courses around the country, we can both attest to the fact that you will be getting the best value for your money at Kapalua. You will have spectacular views, challenging holes, great conditions plus have an opportunity to play at a PGA TOUR stop here at The Plantation Course. I would recommend calling a month in advance to book your tee times, especially during the winter months. The PGA TOUR Tournament of Champions is event is typically played the first week of January.
We teed off of the Back 9 at our 7:30AM tee time because the Professional Staff said it would be our best opportunity to see the humpback whales playing off the coast. I didn't get a chance to see any that morning but the view was unreal. We could see the surfers getting ready to tear it up down at the famous Honolua Bay. Here is a photo of the Par 3 11th hole and YES, I made par.
The one thing that you cannot capture in photos and even when watching the Tournament of Champions event on television is the elevation and slope changes. That, combined with the tradewinds, makes for a difficult course so you might just want to sit back and enjoy the views rather than try to grind out a good score.
ABOVE: This is me teeing off the Par 5 18th Hole. You definitely want to aim towards the clubhouse because everything slops severely right to left. Even if you don't hit a great drive you'll still be rewarded because of how far downhill this hole is. It's no wonder the Pros find this hole easy to reach in 2 shots. I will give Nick kudos here, he did made birdie from the tips. :-)
I mean, does that view ever get old? It's impossible! The Plantation Course is definitely a CART only course and the distance from green to tees can be substantial sometimes. We were told that because it is such a difficult walk there aren't many spectators at The Tournament of Champions. Most spectators will stay on the flatter parts of the course or post up at 9 and 18. I found the front 9 to be much more difficult and could see why it would be a challenge for spectators to walk. The elevation changes and hills are HUGE!
Despite the fact that we weren't playing at the resort, the outside services crew still offered to make us personalized bag tags. It took only a few minutes and it was FREE memorabilia. WIN!
Course Conditions: 4 STARS out of 5 (I only say that because the greens were a little long but it's because they were trying to preserve them for the event)
Staff: 5 STARS
Driving Range: 3 STARS (Golf balls WERE INCLUDED with our greens fees but the range is a bit narrow and short. We also had to hit off of mats but that was also to preserve it for the TOUR event.)
Short Game Area: 4 STARS
Views: 5 STARS
After we finished our round, the outside services crew recommended an awesome food truck and told us to go check out the surf at Honolua Bay. It is only a quick right out of the resort and up the road a mile and half. I defintely recommend checking it out to get an authentic Hawaiian experience. Food trucks became my new obession while I was on my honeymoon.
We had two shrimp tacos and two mahi mahi tacos. They were super tasty although the tortilla fell apart easily. I think the heat got to them a bit so they weren't as fresh. The seafood though was AWESOME!
The water was SO clear that you could actually see wild seaturtles playing in the surf. I was just using my iPhone so I couldn't get it on camera, take my word for it! It's pretty amazing to see these animals in their natural habitat.
Yup, we forgot the selfie stick. As our trip went on our selfies actually improved though!
So, even if you're not splurging on staying at Kapalua's Ritz-Carlton resort I would definitely recommend making the drive to play The Plantation Course. If you're staying on the south end of the island it could be almost an hour drive, so make the most of your day. Get an early tee-time, hang out at Honolua Bay watching the surfers with a bomb taco and then prepare yourself to get dinner at THE BEST restaurant (in my humble mainland opinion) at Merriman's. It is located on the Ritz-Carlton resort and is open to the public. You will literally have the most beautiful and BEST dining experience of your life. I PROMISE! This restaurant is VERY difficult to get into so make sure you get in contact with your travel agent or hotel concierge to get a reservation.
Personally, I would get there at least a half-hour before your reservation time so you can enjoy the view. Definitely get a time that is going to allow you to see a sunset. The view will leave you breathless.
Am I right?! Everything from the ambiance, the view, the food, the wine, and the live entertainment is PERFECT! The ahi tuna poke (which Hawaii is famous for) will MELT in your mouth. Not to mention, I had the BEST dessert (and I LOVE sweets) EVER! These little balls of love are dough filled with WHITE CHOCOLATE, deep fried (aka doughnut), and then topped with cinnamon and sugar. They provide you with even MORE chocolate with the dipping sauce. OUT.OF.THIS.WORLD.
If there is ONE place that you need to eat at while on Hawaii, it's Merriman's. Even if you've read this post and can't make the time to play golf you NEED to eat here. It will be a memory that lasts a lifetime. If I could rate this place more than 5 STARS I would because it deserves it. Nick and I can't wait to go back!
Now, it's time to turn on the Golf Channel and see what these boys are up to today!