Rob Cartlen came all the way from Chicago to see if golf in Hawaii was everything he had dreamt about.
"They've been telling me for years about the golf here," says Cartlen. "It's nice to finally get an opportunity to play, and it's exactly how they described it."
If you're like Rob--looking for that quintessential Hawaiian golf experience--you'll find it at Wailea Golf Club on Maui's Southwest coast. Cut from the lava fields, Wailea's Emerald Course--with it's picturesque palm trees, ocean views, and lush fairways--is the kind of tropical playground most people just dream about. But here, that dream becomes reality.
"We get the 'wow' factor," says Wailea Head Professional Rusty Hathaway. "When they finish, for a lot of people, this is one of their favorite golf courses on the islands. It's just a magnificent golf course."
Sitting on the West slope of the island, much of the 6,800-plus yard layout will challenge you with elevated shots over some forced carries. But while the weather and wind hit other parts of the island, Wailea's climate is noticeably even-keeled.
"Can't find better weather," says Hathaway. "(Anywhere) in the world, as far as I'm concerned."
As for Wailea's finishing hole, the 553 yard, par-5 18th, if you can string together a good drive and a nice second shot, your approach should leave you less than 100 yards looking at the green. If you can stick it on from there, you can set yourself up for birdie to finish.
"Again, the views are just spectacular," says Hathaway. "It kinda leaves you with a lasting impression of what this golf course is all about."
As for Rob and his group, Wailea Emerald was all they thought it would be.
"The course itself is absolutely pristine," says Cartlen's father-in-law, John Turner. "And the views....they are the very thing why I'm not playing well. "It's magificent."