After our not-so-great experience at Wailea Emerald, we were a little apprehensive about going back to play the Wailea Gold course. The course staff was still somewhat unfriendly when we showed up, though it was better than the previous visit.
We went to the right side of the driving range this time and found the ground to be a little more flat. The same complaints about hitting into the sun still applied.
Fortunately, the two-some we were paired with for this round were a lot more capable than the group we played Emerald with. Again, I was playing from the back tees but I was able to reach the par 5, 525 yard 2nd hole with a driver and three wood. There was about a one club wind for most of the round, which made some of the par 3′s pretty tough. Three of them were 200+ yards into the prevailing wind.
Around the 11th hole it started raining, by the 13th it was pouring. The course held the water quite well, but it made the rough a lot tougher. General note about the rain: when your hand slips on your driver grip, bad things happen.
The course was well bunkered around the greens and generally had a couple of fairway bunkers around the landing areas. On some holes, I took 4-iron or 3-wood off the tee to take the bunkers out of play. Doing this generally left a 140-170 yard approach shot, pretty reasonable. The longer holes (410+ yards) set up well for driver, but generally required a 280+ yard drive or the approach was a real bear. The longest par 4 is 490 yards; I hit a duck-hook left which left my approach blocked by trees along the left side of the fairway.
The Wailea Gold course has a lot more holes near the ocean than the Emerald course does. We admired the views and through the front nine but pretty much stopped looking as it rained on the back nine.
We had lunch at the clubhouse again, much better service this time around. The views are awesome and the food is decent.
Our experience at the Wailea Gold course was much better than our Wailea Emerald experience, however I think I’d still play both Makena courses before coming back here.