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New management named for Francis H. I’i Brown golf courses

Updated: 
August 11, 2017 - 8:07am

KOHALA COAST — Troon, the world’s largest golf management company, has been hired to head operations of The Francis H. Ii Brown North and South courses at Mauna Lani Resort. The news was announced Monday, following DiamondHead Land’s purchase of the resort, golf courses, spa and fitness center last week.

Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Troon manages more than 270 golf courses around the world. At Mauna Lani, they will focus on agronomy, retail and golf-related sales and marketing for both of the 18-hole courses.

With the addition of Mauna Lani, Troon operates 135 golf holes in Hawaii, including Kapalua Golf in Lahaina, Maui; King Kamehameha Golf Club in Wailuku, Maui; Kahili Golf Course in Wailuku, Maui; and Princeville Makai Golf Club on Kauai.

“Troon values the history and traditions of Mauna Lani Golf, beginning with Francis H. I’i Brown’s vision for the property decades ago,” said Patrick Fitzgerald, a partner with DiamondHead Land. “That respect, combined with their global reach and experience operating iconic golf resort properties, makes them a perfect fit to lead Mauna Lani Golf moving forward.”

All current employees at the golf courses have been retained.

The cost to play the courses remain the same. Standard rates begin at $225 per person, $195 between 10 a.m. and noon or $145 after 12-noon. Kama’aina rates begin at $110, $85 per person after 11 a.m. or $70 after 1 p.m.

“Mauna Lani is an incredible golf resort,” said Mike Ryan, Troon’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “It has an amazing history and features some of the most picturesque golf holes in the Aloha State. We will be deploying many of our Hawaii-based resources to further elevate the Mauna Lani brand and overall golf experience.”

In addition to a rich golf history, the courses feature numerous archaeological sites important in the Hawaiian culture, including trails, fishponds and ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs.

The original 18 holes — also called the “Classic Course” — opened in 1981, designed by Homer Flint and Raymond Cain. It featured one of the most scenic and photographed holes in golf: the over-the-ocean par-3 that plays today as No. 15 on the South Course.

In 1988, architect Robin Nelson was brought in to add an additional nine holes onto each end of the original layout, creating the North and South Courses. The South Course was home to the Senior Skins Game from 1990 to 2000, bringing some of golf’s legends to the island, including Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Chi Chi Rodriguez and others. Golfweek ranks it as one of the “Best Courses to Play in Hawaii.” The Hawaii State Open was also played on the course last year and will return in December.

The North Course requires more shot-making skill, playing through kiawe forests as it makes its way to the shoreline. A 230-acre protected archaeological district lies on the northern edge of the course, while feral goats roam the layout, cropping the grass and providing a unique neutral hazard. The par-3 17th is the signature hole on this course as a series of elevated tees shooting down to a natural amphitheater with the green at the base of a lava bowl.

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