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Maui, Kapalua Village Golf Course, Part 2

As I continued my hike of the old Kapalua Village Course, I really began to understand how much it has changed as it has grown so much wilder. I recalled some of the beautiful vistas which I was not seeing, partly because of the overgrown fairways but also because I no longer knew where I was on the course (should have printed that map).

In 2010, I shared this photo with you and wrote, "Just when you think you have seen the most beautiful view in all of Hawai`i, another one pops up to rival the former. This was hole number eight — a very challenging hole, although it is hard for someone who has not played it to imagine what it looked like during its playing days. When I took this photo I was standing on the tee box, so try to imagine with me. Just below the tee box was tall grass and scrubs which were easy to carry unless you badly flubbed your tee shot. Below that was a wide, steep expanse of mown grass. When your tee shot landed here, the ball would roll almost forever. The only problem was that this hole was cart-path-only. So if you hit your shot to the right (the cart path is on the left), you faced a long walk carrying a bunch of clubs because you would not know which you would need until you found your ball. Then your shot had to carry a small ravine to a medium-size green. That patch of shrubs and grass just this side of the Norfolk Island pines in the center of the photo was the location of the green. Oh, how I miss it."

But it is gone and those of us who loved this course (I was not the only golfer who claimed this as their favorite Kapalua course) have to accept it. The best we can do is hike the trails and try and find a landmark that looks familiar. This is not a landmark but a guava tree with ripe guavas on it — perhaps it will have to do.

Somehow this looks a bit familiar — I think this is near the tee box and the fairway went uphill and to the left (don't recall the number of the hole). One thought came into my brain as I hiked these trails — I wonder if this is anything like what Arnold Palmer saw when he viewed this site for the course for the first time. Maybe, or maybe it was covered in cultivated pineapple plants lined up in parallel rows. Who knows?

A bit farther, another spot that looks familiar — I think this was the area where the green was — the end of that hole in the previous photo.

Some more colorful Christmas Berries — I almost wanted to cut some sprigs and put them in a vase at the condo to celebrate the holiday season.

I was far enough away from civilization that when this Mokulele plane flew over my head, my instant reactions was, "Ah, rescued at last!" But in reality, as long as I had the cart paths and able to head downhill, I was not really lost.

BTW, for those of you who don't know, Mokulele serves the Kapalua West Maui Airport with regular flights from Honolulu. If you are staying in West Maui and want to shave a bit of time off your trip, check them out.

Looks like a house plant — and I believe it is — Schefflera or Queensland Umbrella plant. It sports a beautiful flower and seed cluster to help you identify it.

Eventually, I returned back down the trails and took a turn over to what used to be the last hole on the course in the old configuration. I recall that once Kona and I played this hole as darkness settled over the islands. We used to play the twilight tee times to save money which meant that we might be playing in twilight on the last hole or two. I hit my ball and could not see where it went — never did find it. Just score my handicap on that one.

They have now reconfigured the hole to be a par 3 (was a par 4) and added a new cart path to bring the golfers to the new tee box. I liked it better before.

One of the things I recall from my 2010 hike was the profusion of butterflies — there were hundreds if not thousands of them. No problem to find one settled on a branch posing for its portrait. This visit, I encountered few butterflies — in fact, I could literally count every one — probably about two dozen. And they would not settle for a photo op so I had to borrow a photo from that previous trip.

These butterflies appear to be mainland Monarchs (there is a Hawaiian Monarch as well but its wing pattern is different). According to the Butterfly Society of Hawaii's website, these butterflies feed on the nectar of the Crownflower. I did not see any such plants — my guess is that the tall, now wild grasses have smothered out the Cornflowers and thus the Monarchs have disappeared. Makes me quite sad to have lost both a fabulous golf course and the subsequent butterfly population. Times change but not always for the better.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com