Coolest spots in golf: King Kamehameha Golf Club
Courtesy of King Kamehameha Golf Club
Legendary American architect Frank Lloyd Wright was not a golfer, but he does have a distinct connection to the game. His prolific portfolio includes a handful of clubhouses — most notably, an unlikely, surreal edifice tucked into the west Maui foothills at King Kamehameha Golf Club.
Wright’s design was originally commissioned as a private home to be built in Texas, in 1949. The project was then reworked in 1952 for a Mexican businessman. Both deals fell through.
Five years later, when Marilyn Monroe and her husband, playwright Arthur Miller, hired Wright to design their Connecticut country house, the architect had a ready set of plans. The Millers, of course, requested their own design tweaks. Ultimately, the house was never built, and Wright’s drawings were tucked away at his Taliesin West estate in Scottsdale, Ariz., until 1988, when they were sold to Japanese investors whose vision was to convert the design into a golf clubhouse on their property in Hawaii.
Though the blueprints were expanded to accommodate a larger structure, the bones of Wright’s original design are intact. At more than 74,000 square feet, the King Kamehameha clubhouse is a grand exhibit, with stunning views through its distinctive porthole windows.
The building has three levels, the lower two added underground to preserve the integrity of the original work. The attention to Wright-inspired details shines throughout and the architect’s portrait hangs in the stairwell as a tribute to the man who dreamed up the epic spectacle that the King Kamehameha clubhouse would eventually become.