When playing any golf course for the first time it is rare that you will score well – especially on a course as “big” as the Plantation. Local knowledge is a real thing – so here is some local knowledge from the Plantation Golf Course’s Head Golf Professional Michael Castillo, PGA. His top ten tips to maximize your chances of having a respectable scoring day:
- Call in advance and hire a caddy – it adds to the cost but is well worth it when playing a bucket lister. Talk about local knowledge……
- Play in the morning when there is less wind.
- If you can’t hire a caddy, bring a range finder that has slope capabilities as the Plantation course is located on the side of the West Maui Mountains
- Spend half your warm-up time on the putting green, practice all putts, downhill uphill sidehill…on big breaking putts, putt to a spot, and have the gravity bring the ball to the hole. Don’t forget to hit some lag putts. Play more break than you think on sidehill and downhill putts. The greens are big and three putts are common for first-timers. Additionally, take some time to hit a few chips down grain and up grain to help you understand how the ball reacts differently.
- The top four things to ask the Starter
- Strength of the wind (one or two clubs or more)
- Pace of the greens, firmness
- How to read the grain
- What are your best tee options (wind strength and skill come into play). Pro tip: Ignore your ego when selecting your tees.
- Be aware of ball position on the unlevel lies, play the ball back, and aim to the left on downhill lies and forward and aim to the right on uphill lies. This may be the hardest part of playing the Plantation – most of the uphill shots play to into the wind (when you want to play the ball low) and most of the downhill shots play with the wind (when you want to play the ball high).
- Club selection is based on more than just distance – wind, lie, and how much the ball will run out are also important factors. Many holes require playing your approach shot short and other holes require you to carry the ball onto the green. Caddies are very helpful here.
- Remain focused on your line with the tee shots. The fairways are big but there are “speed slots” that help you maximize your tee shot distance and finish position. For example: A straight 225-yard drive on 18 will end up at about 300 yards from the tee, however, a tee shot (aimed at the clubhouse) hit 225 yards and will end up at 350 yards from the tee.
- Be patient, there are more par and birdie opportunities on the back nine.
- Hole 18 is both strategic and beautiful and offers a real opportunity to make a birdie on the PGA Tour’s longest hole!