Vacations at PGA Golf Courses

© Courtesy of Kapalua

Maui, Hawaii

Great Moment: In the 2000 Mercedes Championships, Tiger Woods and Ernie Els, tied for the lead going into the final hole, boomed matching drives and monster second shots to reach the 663-yard, par-5 18th of the Plantation Course in two. Both pros made eagle, then Woods won the tournament with a birdie on the first playoff hole.

The island of Maui has the rolling terrain and trade winds you can set your watch by that guarantee superior golf, with the blue Pacific as a dream backdrop. Savor it all at Kapalua, a 23,000-acre preserve with many lodging options: a Ritz-Carlton hotel, the airy and opulent Kapalua Villas (rooms from less than $200 to $500-plus) and private residences available through a rental pool.

Even if you don't plan a trip to this award-heavy destination as an eco-tour, the beaches and bays adorning Kapalua's shoreline may grant you one anyway. Broad, beautiful D.T. Fleming Beach can't be matched for a morning run or swim, while compact, secluded Oneloa Beach is Kapalua's to-sigh-for hideaway. (Yes, your swimsuit may be put to use before your golf clubs.)

When the sticks do come out, the resort's Bay Course is the place to swing them first. Arnold Palmer and Frank Duane designed this course for pure enjoyment, carving wide landing zones and greens that are generally wide and deep. The Plantation Course, by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, is where the PGA Tour kicks off its season with a tournament now known as the SBS Championship.

Beloved by course-design connoisseurs, the Plantation offers a rare combination of panoramic width and strategic intricacy. Though completely fulfilling at first impression, it takes repeated playings to truly know and appreciate.

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