Just the other week, a guy in my hockey league came up to me and said, 'I'm headed to Maui in February and want to play golf, but who can afford it!?'
True, if you book a round at a resort course like Wailea, Kapalua or Ka'anapali, you'll probably pay three figures, and possibly over $200 for a prime morning tee time.
But Maui has bargains, too. The daily fee courses, while not as polished as the resorts, are still plenty memorable. After all, every course on Maui comes with a relaxed vibe and ocean views.
One of the best deals I've seen on Maui is at Kahili Golf Club. For much of 2011, Kahili promoted a special $55 rate all day long. That's currently gone during the peak holiday season, but GolfNow still shows special times for as low as $63 in the morning and $55 in the afternoon.
Nearby, The Dunes at Maui Lani (pictured above) is a sandy, rolling course with tremendous hole variety that I personally favor by a nose over Kahili. Rates can run around $100, but afternoon specials can be found on GolfNow for as little as $76. During down time on the island you can find tee times closer to $60.
In Maui's upcountry on the way to the summit of Mt. Haleakala is Pukalani Country Club. This hilly course is the highest of Maui's golf courses and the springy grass feels entirely different than the bermuda found down the mountain. Green fees can be found for about $73.
Resort golf can be affordable, too. In south Maui, Makena Golf Course is a beautiful, all-natural Robert Trent Jones Jr. design that has a peak season fee of well over $100, but you can find afternoon specials for $80 on GolfNow. Just up the street, you'll have a hard time playing any of Wailea's three golf courses for under $100, but you can play pleasant, local-friendly Elleair Golf Course for $60-75.
If you're a single golfer, it might be worth a call to a few courses to see if they're hosting any skins games (schedules and courses change frequently). Often times, local rates are offered to anyone to help fill up the game, so even if you lose a few bucks you'll still come out ahead.
Lastly, I must mention Ka'anapali Golf Club's Fit Club. This mini-membership was established primarily for locals but is offered to the most touristy of tourists, too. You can pay $50 for a whole month of golf after 4 p.m. until dusk. The day I participated, we played fourteen holes before darkness fell.
And as a bonus, we soaked up an afternoon rainbow for much of the evening: