You know that you have been posed a bit too long in your follow-through on the driving range at the Kapalua Golf Academy—watching a well-struck 5-iron sail into the blue Maui sky—because Jerry King, the academy’s directing professional, has moved over to your station to ask how things are going. In other words: Are you here to enjoy the view or improve your golf game? The likely answer is a little of both.
Set within the Kapalua resort on Maui’s northwest shore, the Kapalua Golf Academy features an 18-hole putting course, indoor hitting bays with video-analysis equipment, a 3,500-square-foot learning center, and 85,000 square feet of outdoor teeing areas. But considering the academy’s ocean and Molokai Island views (and its location next to one of the country’s premier beaches), it is understandable that King may, at times, struggle to hold the attention of his students. The instructor tailors his classes accordingly, gearing most sessions to golfers who want to learn how best to play Kapalua’s three courses—Bay, Village, and Plantation—where uneven volcanic terrain and gusting trade winds create hazards unfamiliar to most visitors. However, he also caters to more serious golfers with two-day schools for 12-or-lower handicappers and, for players of all levels, three-day schools that address every aspect of their games. “Our goal is to provide not only corrective but developmental instruction,” says King, who has been named Hawaii’s top instructor by the PGA for four of the last nine years. “We really focus on each individual’s needs, helping to improve the natural swing and strength of each player.”
Strength is critical when taking on Kapalua’s courses, especially the mountainous Plantation track, site of the PGA’s annual Mercedes Open. And while they may seem a world away, the courses and academy will provide plenty of fodder for folks to bring back to the country club. “When players come to Kapalua Golf Academy,” says King, “they not only have more fun playing in Hawaii, but they are able to take what they learn home.”Kapalua Golf Academy
Location: Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii
Instructors: PGA Aloha Section Teacher of the Year winners Jerry King (1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000) and Ben Hongo (2002) lead a staff of five instructors.
Format: Half-Day School (all levels) focuses on putting, chipping, wedge play, and video analysis; Two-Day Player’s School (12 handicap or lower) incorporates instruction on reading greens, shot selection, and course management and psychology, and includes after-class tee times; Three-Day Comprehensive School (all levels grouped by playing abilities) covers all aspects and includes on-course instruction.
Rates: Half-Day School, $325; Two-Day Player’s School, $795; Three-Day Comprehensive School, $995.
Accommodations: The Kapalua resort’s hotels operate independently and include the Kapalua Bay Hotel (808.669.5656, www.kapaluabayhotel.com), the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua (808.669.6200, www.ritzcarlton.com/resorts/kapalua), and Kapalua Villas (808.669.8088, www.kapaluavillas.com).
Contact: 808.669.6500, www.kapaluagolfacademy.com