The Maui Country Club houses the oldest operating golf course on Maui. Founded in 1925 when a group of golf enthusiasts convinced Hawaii Commercial and Sugar Company to repurpose their cane fields, the nine-hole course was painstakingly constructed to showcase some of the island’s most breathtaking views - from the Haleakala volcano to the breathtaking Iao Valley. And while the exclusive organization has hosted prestigious players and high-profile tournaments, the main draw, members say, is the club’s sense of community.
Paia resident, photographer Mike Adrian, was immediately taken by the MCC’s laid-back, family-friendly atmosphere. “There’s often an air of stuffiness within a country club. This is kind of the opposite of that. I started coming here in 2013 with some friends who are members, and it wasn’t long before my wife and I decided to join. You hear of so many memories people have of growing up here, running around the club as a kid. I wanted my family to have that sense of place.”
“There’s often an air of stuffiness within a country club. This is kind of the opposite of that.”
Lukas Nelson has a similar connection, counting MCC as one of his favorite spots to spend time as a teenager. “When Lukas came on as a member it was the same kind of thing,” says Adrian. “He grew up coming here. The family has been a member since back in the day.” Upon joining the club himself, Nelson asked if he could host a show as a way of giving back to the community. According to Adrian it was one of the club’s most successful events to date. “We thought, ‘maybe we’ll get 300 people.’ In a couple of days it was closer to 600 that ended up coming out.”
Nelson isn’t the only member dedicated to contributing to the club. According to Adrian, “the members take it upon themselves to donate their time. They take ownership because it’s such a special place. The management is really wonderful in that they harbor a lot of ideas from the committee and members, so it really does feel like a family.”
“You hear of so many memories people have of growing up here, running around the club as a kid. I wanted my family to have that sense of place.”
MCC prides itself on high-profile clientele, maintaining that its celebrity members - which include Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson - are able to enjoy the club’s offerings without worrying about fan intrusion. “They can just come and be themselves. For a country club that’s a very different mentality. Here they can just relax and come spend time with friends and family.” Adrian recalls a recent tennis match with Wilson: “He was cracking me up the whole time, and I kept thinking, ‘This is just like watching one of his movies. Is he, like playing a role?’. Then I realized, that’s just the guy he is. And here he is, just being himself.