Category Archives: Design

Makena Golf and Beach Club: Maui’s New Jewel


Makena Beach and Golf Club: Maui’s New Jewel


is a major part of Makena’s future, too. The routing of the North Course had good bones, but it would require both capital and imagina­tion to bring it up to Discovery’s lofty standards. That job fell to Dennis Wise. His name may not be well known to most golf­ers, but it’s a very familiar one within the Discovery family. Over the course of nearly 30 years as a senior designer in the office of noted golf architect Tom Fazio, Wise has produced scores of highly regarded lay­outs around the country, and, beginning with the Estancia Club in Arizona, he has played a significant role in almost every one of the company’s golf projects.

Wise em­barked on a complete renovation of Make­na’s North Course. His first action was to study the land and identify its major assets. The property’s strong points were pretty apparent: “The first thing I noticed was the relief in the land,” he says. “There’s over 400 feet of elevation change from the low­est hole on the course to the highest. The second asset was the ocean and the vast views of the Molokini Crater and the West Maui Mountains. I asked myself, ‘How can I show off more of these vistas?’…

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Estancia Golf Club: The Pinnacle of Golf

GOLFINC November 1996

Estancia Golf Club: The Pinnacle of Golf:

Excerpt… Dennis Wise says he couldn’t label a signature hole at Estancia. “That’s like saying which is your favorite kid,’” he says. “I became emotionally involved with each hole,” Wise says.

He lined up with a group of journalists to play on the club’s media day and every hole was named as a favorite one by at least one of the golfers. Some like the long-range views, others liked seeing Pinnacle Peak.

Unlike some other desert courses, Estancia does not penalize a player if he makes a good shot. “It’s forgiving but challenging from the back tees,” Lang says. The 6th hole is a good example of risk-reward golf. If a golfer plays up the swale that runs the length of the right side near a fairway bunker, he or she is rewarded with the best approach into the partially blind green. However, if the hole is played to the safe left side, the approach requires a shot over bunkers to a green slope that fades away.

“The course shows the vision that John Lang had in developing Estancia,” Wise says. “He allowed us to route the golf course where we felt it would naturally fit in with lots.”

Wise described his toughest task: “Once we got permits, it was trying to find places to put cart paths. We went through great expense to hide the paths,” he says.

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