The Plantation course at Kapalua might look the same when Xander Schauffele returns next year to defend his title.
But it probably won’t play the same.
Kapalua is shutting down the course next month for Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw to begin a restoration project that will include a new surface, new greens, bunkers, pretty much everything from tee to green.
“Every single item on the golf course will be touched,” said Alex Nakajima, general manager for golf and tennis at Kapalua.
Coore was delighted to hear the grass Kapalua chose is “Celebration Bermuda,” which he said was key to making the Plantation course play how it’s intended — fast. The past several years, the course has played soft. Previously, the 4-iron Gary Woodland hit into the 18th green would not have stopped rolling until it was on the green. Coore recalls telling one resort guest years ago to hit a club he normally hits 150 yards to the seventh green, even though he had 250 yards. It rolled to the green.
Mark Rolfing, a TV golf analyst who has lived at Kapalua from the start, summed it up best.
“For the average player, the course has become much harder,” he said. “For the best players in the world, the course has become much easier.”
Work is expected to be finished about two months before the Sentry Tournament of Champions starts.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.