Before you exit this life, be sure to play golf in Hawaii. Add it to your bucket list if it isn't already there. First of, Hawaii is like no other place on earth. It's raw, natural and ever-forming, especially if we are talking about the Big Island where there is an active volcano that is spewing lava into the ocean and forming new land. Where else can you drive your ball next to an ancient lava field?
Golfing in Hawaii should be on everybody's bucket list. The scenery is spectacular, the air is clean and the terrain is challenging. If you are into wildlife, you are in for a treat when you see wild birds on the golf course. Have you ever seen a wild turkey? How about peacocks roaming free? And then there's the Nene, Hawaii's state bird, only seen in Hawaii.
Before I get ahead of myself, let me warn you that golfing in Hawaii comes with a price. It is not cheap. Most courses that play along the ocean are $200 per round. Even playing a course that has ocean vistas will cost you about $150 per round. But it's worth it.
One way you can keep golfing in Hawaii under budget is to bring your own clubs. You don't want to rent a set every time you play. Rental sets are about $50 a day which is steep when you compared it to renting a car. It's around the same price but a car is worth $30,000.00 and a set of clubs is under $2,000.00?
Another way to keep costs down is to play at twilight. Playing at twilight has its advantages. For starter, twilight prices are dramatically lower and that makes playing the course more affordable. With a $30 to $50 saving off the rack rate, you can play a full round if you hurry a bit.
Before you get to the golf course, be sure to drop by Costco to pick up a box of balls. You don't want to be buying golf balls at the pro shop, unless you are willing to pay $15 a sleeve.
On your round, relax and have fun. Don't just focus on your game. Try to take in the view and enjoy the clean, unpolluted air of Hawaii.
Play where the Locals play
On the way up to the Haleakala volcano, the town of Pukalani offers a fantastic golf course that a lot of locals play in the morning.
The course is challenging and tight in some places. Golfers playing Pukalani is surprised when they reach the cliff and realize the green is tucked behind a cliff wall.
Pukalani Country Club is popular among the locals because it is in the town of Pukalani and in a residential area. If you're staying on the west side of Maui, you may choose to play in the afternoon because it would take you about 1-1/2 hour drive to the course. To make it to a 10am tee time, you will have to leave your hotel by 7:00am.
Maui's Best Kept Secret
If you're lucky, you can play the Dunes at Maui Lani for as low as $38 per play including cart. This course is wonderfully difficult and it will test the best players.
There is elevation, tight fairways, water and large bunkers. It is really a gem to play.
Trust your GPS
When packing for Maui, be sure to bring your golf GPS. When I play there, everything seems to be closer than it really is. Just look across the water and see another island. It's so close, you think you can swim there but we are talking about 10 miles. On the golf course, it's the same. When you look at the flag versus your GPS, you won't believe it. The best thing you can do for your game is to believe everything your GPS says instead of using your gut feeling unless you want to come up short.
Walk at Sunset
If you can't afford to play at Kapalua, it's worth taking a walk on the Kapalua Bay Course at sunset because there's a par 3 that plays over an inlet. From the white tees, it is a mere 150 yards over water to the green on the other side. It really is a spectacular hole to play and gets the adrenaline rushing when you hit that tee shot.