Discover paradise at the PGA Tour's first stop of the season in Kapalua, Hawaii

Wednesday January 7th, 2009
The 18th hole at the Plantation Course in Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii.
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

While Super Bowl winners inevitably mouth "I'm going to Disney World" into the camera, PGA Tour winners get golf's version of an amusement park: the rollicking Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort. When the wind blows here — which is pretty much always — Plantation serves up one of the most thrilling rides in golf.

The Bill Coore-Ben Crenshaw-designed track hosts the PGA Tour's season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship every year. Past winners include Tiger Woods and Ernie Els, but no one has sliced up this 7,411-yard, par-73 former pineapple plantation like Stuart Appleby, who has three times. The course has extra-wide fairways and huge putting surfaces. The ramps that run into greens and those ever-present gusts mean that knockdown shots and the ground game are critical here. Most memorable is the downhill-plunging, 663-yard 18th, with jungle canyons left and the Pacific beyond.

Reservations may be made 25 days in advance. Green fees are $295. 877-527-2582, kapaluamaui.com

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