Story by Sky Barnhart | Photography by Tony Novak-Clifford & Steve Brinkman
An unknown golf addict once said: “A golfer’s best diet is to live on greens as much as possible.”
It’s a healthy regime that increasingly seems to be the diet of choice—to the point where many Maui residents and part-time residents are making “living on the greens” a way of life.
Maui County has more than twenty golf courses, several of which are world-renowned for their challenge and beauty. Developers are capitalizing on that irresistible golf course appeal, and laying out their new developments as close as possible to those smooth expanses of closely cropped green.
Green Wherever You Look
Hokulani Golf Villas sits on forty acres, surrounded on all sides by the back nine of Elleair Maui Golf Club. The red-tile-roofed homes overlook a panoramic view of South Maui: Molokini to Kaho‘olawe to Ma‘alaea.
“We think this project really upscales Kïhei,” says developer Doug Peterson. “We’re trying to create a community here, and it’s really shaping up that way.”
Hokulani will be built to 60 percent of allowable density, with single-family, detached condominium homes ranged along landscaped boulevards. The front yards are planted with drought-resistant native groundcover, and the homes are equipped with energy-efficient fixtures.
From the street, the first thing you see is the house, not the garage. That’s intentional, says builder Bob Leistikow. “We wanted to create a nice streetscape, so we have the garages tucked into the courtyards, with recessed doors.”
Like many new developments, Hokulani is gated for security, with grounds maintained by the condominium association.
“Many of our buyers are baby boomers who have lived in their own home their whole life, and they’re getting tired of maintaining it,” Peterson says.
We step into the “100” model (for the “empty-nester,” according to Peterson), where the living room features twelve-foot, vaulted ceilings and eight-foot, transom-topped windows.
Walk out onto the back lanai, and you are almost on the green, separated only by a low bougainvillea hedge. A golf cart rolls up, and a couple hops out with putters in hand.
Do owners have to worry about getting an errant ball through their bedroom window? Not likely—the homes are carefully placed to avoid that hazard, Peterson says. “I’ve never even seen a golf ball over here!”
Hokulani residents can purchase 100 rounds of golf at a special reduced rate.
“We’re selling a golf-course lifestyle,” Leistikow says, “even if you don’t golf. We had one buyer who said, ‘It’s like having entertainment all the time!’”
We move on to the “220,” the second of six models. This is more of a family home, two-story with nine-foot ceilings and a roomy feeling. Extra-wide hallways and plenty of arches and windows give an added sense of luxury.
West Maui glows in the late afternoon sunlight as we look out from the home’s upstairs bedroom lanai, facing what will soon be private parkland.
“The County requires one acre of open space, and we put in four acres in addition to the fairways, just because we thought that much open space was needed for the kind of lifestyle we’re trying to convey,” Leistikow says. “Wherever you look, it’s going to be green.”
Home Sweet Town Home
Heading deeper into South Maui, we arrive at Ho‘olei. These two-story villas of muted stucco and glass cascade down the hillside facing the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa. Gates secure the entrance, and the tropical grounds are immaculate.
“These town homes live like homes, but they act as condos,” says realtor and Ho‘olei homeowner Dano Sayles. “It’s really a lifestyle.”
The lifestyle is something in between vacation and real life—which is exactly why Grand Wailea regulars are often the ones buying units at Ho‘olei. “What was missing at the Grand Wailea was the suites,” Sayles says. “These units are built so that multigenerational families can stay here with their kids and grandkids—not in hotel rooms but in homes. They can enjoy the experience together.”
In the great room of a “Hibiscus” unit (one of three models available), Sayles slides open the glass pocket doors. Suddenly, the room is wide open on two sides to the soft trade winds. A blue slice of ocean sparkles beyond the palms of the Grand Wailea, and just below us, a huge waterfall tumbles over lava rock before splashing into the aquamarine Ho‘olei pool (what Sayles calls a “$5 million amenity”).
“All the units have this feeling of indoor/outdoor living,” Sayles says. Indeed, you could live quite well on this lanai: cooking on the built-in gas barbecue grill (with rotisserie), chilling your sauvignon blanc in the outdoor refrigerator, reclining on the cushy chaise lounges.
But where’s the golf course? “That’s all around us,” Sayles says, gesturing up the slope. Sure enough, the units on the outer edge of Ho‘olei overlook the rolling greens of the third, fourth and fifth holes of the Wailea Blue Course. Beyond the joys of the golf lifestyle, owners also get the Kulana Club privileges of the Grand Wailea’s spa, dining and shops.
After touring the enormous upstairs bedrooms, padded with thick carpet that feels even softer after the cool stone and tile of the great room, Sayles asks, “Would you like to ride in the elevator?”
Yes—there’s a private elevator in each unit, neatly tucked into the hallway, waiting to carry tenants from garage to kitchen. “We wanted to overcome any objection of having this upside-down floor plan with the kitchen and master upstairs,” Sayles says.
We step in and sail silently down to the first floor, where another master bedroom opens onto a covered patio and is complete with a dry bar and refrigerator “so you never need to leave the room!” The master bath includes an infinity-edge tub that fills from the ceiling, and access to a huge walk-in closet with a private “owners’ closet” to store belongings, should owners decide to rent out their unit.
“You can lock up the house and go, and you don’t have to worry about it,” Sayles says. “It’s the size of a home, but you don’t have to deal with the maintenance and security.”
The “maintenance-free” trend is increasingly woven into the overall popularity of golf-course living. Another new development, Kai Malu at Wailea, offers a combination of views, resort amenities and that essential daily diet of greens. Bordered on three sides by the classic Wailea Blue Course, the development touts maintenance-free living in a Hawaiian-style luxury setting, close to the action of Wailea’s spa and shopping paradise.
A Double Helping of Green
Along Makena Bay, a local developer brings a new take to “living on the greens”—by making the development as eco-friendly as possible.
Maluaka aims to be Hawai‘i’s first residential project to obtain two levels of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification: Gold for the Club at Maluaka, and Silver for the residences. The homes are constructed with low-emitting materials (paints, adhesives and carpets that reduce indoor contaminants) and equipped with dual-flush toilets and low-flow fixtures to maximize water efficiency. Native and drought-tolerant landscaping further conserves water; while electricity is generated onsite through a photovoltaic system that collects energy from the sun. A storm-water management system eliminates pollution from runoff.
With Maluaka adjoining the eighteenth hole of the Makena South Golf Course, home owners have direct access to two Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed championship golf courses—and the chance to do some spectacular whale-watching during winter play.
On the island’s upper West Side, Kapalua—long an epicenter of golf greatness on Maui—is a hotbed of new, golf-centric environments. Luxury developments at Honolua Ridges I and II take advantage of the proximity to the world-class Plantation Golf Course, where the PGA-Tour Mercedes-Benz Championship annually attracts millions of TV viewers. As the final phase of the gated Plantation Estates at Kapalua, the Ridges are made up of home sites adjacent to the course, ranging from three to thirty acres. Homeowners are part of the Kapalua Resort community and have access to all the resort’s amenities.
In the mountainous region above Kapalua Resort, a brand-new golf course is luring buyers to the Kapalua Mauka home sites, villas and condominiums. The Mauka Golf Course & Clubhouse was designed by Tom Fazio, creator of fourteen of “America’s 100 Greatest Courses,” according to Golf Digest. Golfers taking time off the links can enjoy hiking trails, a ropes challenge course and a series of ziplines as part of the Mountain Adventure Center.
Down at the shoreline, the Bay Course is home to the new Residences at Kapalua Bay, set on twenty-four acres of oceanfront property where the Kapalua Bay Hotel once stood. Slated to open in late 2008, the Residences will include private-ownership homes as well as the Ritz-Carlton Club “fractional residences.” Not only will residents enjoy golf privileges, but they’ll also have access to Kapalua Beach Club dining and spa facilities.
Homes to Pine For
Hit a long drive (okay, a very long drive) from the bluff-top fifth hole on the Bay Course, and you just might land it at another luxurious newcomer across the channel: the Pines at Ko‘ele.
The Pines on the island of Lana‘i consist of detached luxury condominiums edging the second fairway of the Experience at Ko‘ele, a course designed by Greg Norman. Owners of these homes, some of which perch alongside a lake, will have special privileges at both the Four Seasons Lodge at Ko‘ele and the Four Seasons at Manele Bay, and preferred pricing at the hotels’ restaurants and shops.
With golf course developments blossoming like well-watered hibiscus flowers throughout Maui Nui, the “greens diet” is one resolution that won’t be hard for ambitious golfers to stick to in the New Year.