Smart travel in Hawaii: Frequently asked questions for your Maui golf vacation

By Brandon Tucker, Managing Editor

Taking a golf vacation in Maui? Here are some answers to questions you may have that should help with your trip planning.

Kahili Golf Course on Maui - Kahili clubhouse
Which courses have ocean views on Maui? All of them, including Kahili.
Kahili Golf Course on Maui - Kahili clubhouseWailea Golf Club - Old Blue courseRoyal Ka'anapali golf course - hole 18
If you go

How much golf is on Maui?

There are about a dozen golf courses on Maui, including three at Wailea Golf Club in south Maui and two each at the Ka'anapali and Kapalua resorts on the west side.

Logistically, all the courses are within a 75-minute drive and many are much closer.

Are the golf courses expensive?

The best resort golf courses can run between $150 and close to $300 depending on the time of day and season.

But Maui also has a handful of daily-fee courses that offer great value at less than $100 and sometimes closer to $50.

Among the best bargains are the Dunes at Maui Lani and Kahili Golf Course. Both offer fantastic layouts, conditions and facilities without the resort price tag.

Which golf courses on Maui have ocean views?

All of them. Because Maui is made up of a giant volcano on one side and the West Maui Mountains on the other, most of the land on the island slopes in some way toward the water.

The Bay Course at Kapalua Resort has the island's only shot over water, but every course has spectacular ocean views as well as views of neighboring islands Molokai, Lanai, Molokini, Kaho'olawe and the dormant, volcanic cinder cone in south Maui, Pu'u Olai.

Is the weather on Maui the same year round?

The weather is always ideal for golf on Maui, though the summer can be a little warmer and the winter a little cooler with a little less sunlight. But its location near the equator means temperatures and daylight don't fluctuate too much.

The most interesting thing about the climate is that the weather can be different on each side of the island. Hana, for example, is very wet. And Lahaina, separated by just a couple miles from the greener Kapalua, is drier. South Maui tends to be the driest and calmest section of the island.

What are the busiest times of year on Maui?

Around Christmas, Maui fills up fast. Also, the summer months cater more to family vacations. So if you have flexible time off and want a quieter experience, consider the first half of December or the second half of January.

Is there anything new in Maui with the resorts?

A lot of resorts in Maui used the recent economic downtown to perform their first major renovation projects. Makena Beach & Golf Resort (formerly the Maui Prince Hotel) received new ownership and is wrapping up extensive hotel renovations in time for 2012.

Additionally, resorts such as the Sheraton Maui, Westin Maui and Fairmont Kea Lani are among properties that have performed recent upgrades. The island is also getting its first new hotel in years. Andaz, a 255-room property in Wailea, is expected to break ground in 2012.

From Maui, is it easy to get to Lanai?

The nearby island of Lanai has two Four Seasons golf courses, the Challenge at Manele and the Experience at Koele. There is a small airport that services local flights. But if you're on Maui, the easiest way is to take the one-hour ferry from Lahaina Harbor. Tickets are $30 each way, and the ferry leaves five times daily.

Does Maui have private golf clubs?

The best private club experience is King Kamehameha Golf Club, which is currently offering a "become a member for a day" green fee (the membership roster of about 300 includes Clint Eastwood and Don Nelson).

Additionally, Maui Country Club is a traditional nine-hole club on the north shore that offers limited public play.

What's the best way to save money on Maui golf and accommodations?

Maui has a variety of ways to save cash. Many resorts offer stay-and-play packages that group hotel with golf and sometimes even breakfast or other perks.

The most coveted time to play golf on Maui is in the morning, so if you're willing to wait until after 11 a.m. or even the afternoon, you can usually get a discounted rate.

Additionally, check for online Maui tee times deals here.

My partner doesn't golf. Is there a way I can get paired up?

A lot of courses on the island host a weekly skins game that pair single golfers with one another. Better yet, you can sometimes even get a local rate for participating. Schedules and courses change frequently, so it's best to call ahead.

Do I need a rental car on Maui?

Renting a car is a good idea if you are not staying at a resort or if you plan on doing a lot of driving to other courses, or if you are heading to places like the Road to Hana or drive up Mount Haleakala.

A lot of resorts, however, offer airport transportation and have on-site car rentals, so you don't necessarily need a car for the duration. For example, Makena Beach & Golf Resort offers free transportation to golf, beaches and shopping in nearby Wailea, but there's also a rental car counter at the hotel if you need it.

What is there to do at night on Maui?

There is nothing like Oahu's busy Waikiki on Maui. The towns of Lahaina and Kihei are the busiest spots (relatively speaking) here, and Ka'anapali has a collection of restaurants and bars at beachfront Whaler's Village. Sansei, a sushi restaurant with two locations on the island (Kapalua and Kihei) has late night happy hour karaoke that can get pretty lively.

You can also find a bar with satellite pretty easily if you're looking to catch NFL or other sports action. Click here for the top sports bars in Maui.

How large is Maui's airport?

While Honolulu on Oahu has Hawaii's largest airport that receives flights from many North American cities as well as Asia, the other islands all have airports large enough to receive planes from the mainland. Located in the main city of Kahului (airport code: OGG), it receives daily flights from numerous U.S. cities at fares that are generally pretty competitive with those connecting through Oahu.

What is there to do off the golf course?

Maui is absolutely loaded with ways to take in the surroundings. Some of the most popular are the Road to Hana and the Mount Haleakala sunrise bicycle tour.

Other activities include stand-up paddleboarding, surfing, kayaking, canoeing and hiking.

Click here for more Maui vacation activity ideas.

Brandon TuckerBrandon Tucker, Managing Editor

Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Advisor. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at BrandonTuckerGC.

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