Hawaii on the cheap: Maui golf courses that are easy on the wallet

By Travel ArticlesFebruary 1, 2013, 9:53 pm

KAHULUI, MAUI, Hawaii -- Face it, enjoying your vacation can be a little expensive ... especially if you're looking to play golf. Add in a spot like Maui and that 18 holes of golf in paradise can get a bit expensive.

Luckily, we're here to give you a few tips on places to play that won't break the bank, and will also give you a golf outing that will leave money in your wallet for another round -- or two.

Grab your clubs and get ready to see some of the best values on Maui, 18 holes at a time. These golf courses often have listed rates of less than $100. Add in tropical breezes, swaying palm trees and nicely designed golf layouts, and you've got a bargain on your hands.

Let's tee it up.

The Dunes at Maui Lani

The Dunes at Maui Lani, a Robin Nelson design, not only is affordable no matter what time you play, but it's a solid test of golf.

The layout takes players on a links-style journey with elevation changes galore. At 6,841 yards, it's not an overly lengthy course, but from the tips, it's all the test a player can want.

The par 5s range from short -- the 509-yards fourth -- to PGA Tour-length -- 588 yards on the 18th -- and will provide players a variety of shot-making challenges. Going for the green in two on these holes may seem like a good idea, but elevation changes and wind, along with perfectly placed bunkering, might change players' minds.

Overall, the Dunes at Maui Lani may provide the most bang for your buck on Maui. And it's a course that will certainly bring you back for more.

Kahili Golf Club

The sister course to King Kamehameha Golf Club, Kahili Golf Club is a picturesque, tree-lined course and is another Robin Nelson design (along with Rodney Wright).

With the shorter length, just 6,554 yards from the tips, the course is certainly a layout that lends itself to players of every ability. The par-3 eighth, at 189 yards (from the tips), is one of the most picturesque on the course. The tee shot plays entirely over a pond to a large but undulating green.

Add in elevation changes, and you've got a course that won't beat players up but will provide challenges on every hole. It's a great course that will make players think their way around.

The combination of affordable pricing and solid layout are a winner.

Elleair Maui Golf Club

Another centrally located course, Elleair Maui Golf Club combines views, elevation changes and large greens on this Bill Newis layout.

On the course, golfers will face 6,801 yards of rolling fairways and greens that are receptive. Their large size, however, will definitely test players' putting skills. Add in views of the Pacific Ocean, Mt. Haleakala, Molokini and the West Mountains, and players might find it difficult to concentrate on their golf.

Also on hand is one of the best practice facilities around where players can stretch out and work on every aspect of their game.

Pukalani Country Club

Just south of the airport, Pukalani Country Club is nestled into the hillsides of 'Upcountry' Maui. Dramatic views, rolling terrain, elevation changes and tree-lined fairways add up to a golf outing that is well worth the price.

This Bob Baldock-designed course is 6,962 yards from the tips, so players can let 'er rip if they hit it straight. Tree-lined fairways make up for the fact there are no fairway bunkers. But the greens have more than their share of bunkering.

One of the more impressive features on the course is the par 3s. They all require pin-point accuracy as ravines and gorges come into play on a couple of them. Don't bother looking for your golf balls if you come up short.

The par-3 third hole is one players will always remember, because they have the choice of two greens: a tougher shot over a ravine or a less-intimidating iron shot to a well bunkered green about 80 feet below the tee box. Players will find both are large and receptive, if they manage to hit the green.

Wailea Golf Club's Old Blue Course

With great views of neighboring islands as well as Mt. Haleakala, Wailea Golf Club's Old Blue Course is a nice stroll through one of Maui's classic old courses, filled with trees and true-rolling greens.

The Jack Snyder design measures 6,765 yards from the tips, but at sea level, players will find it's a big-hitting test. The par 3s here also provide quite the challenge with water, bunkers and length teaming up to test even the best players.

There you have it, five golf courses that will impress and test players -- plus leave a few bucks in the wallet for post-round dinner and drinks.

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Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

“The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

“I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

“The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

“I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”

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Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 1:55 am

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.

The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.

''I like winning. I like challenging myself,'' Kerr said. ''Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, 'Man, why does my hamstring hurt?' From working around this hilly golf course. The golf ball doesn't know an age. I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.''

She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.

''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''

Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.

''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.

Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.

Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.

Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.

''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''

She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.

''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''

Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.

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DJ hits 489-yard drive, but it doesn't count for history

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 12:22 am

AUSTIN, Texas – Dustin Johnson is no stranger to big drives, but even for DJ this one was impressive.

Trailing in his Day 3 match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson launched a drive at the par-5 12th hole that traveled 489 yards, but that number comes with an asterisk.

“He got lucky it hit the road,” smiled Kevin Kisner, who was leading the world No. 1, 3 up, at the time. “I thought he would make an eagle for sure, he only had 80 yards [to the hole]. He didn’t hit a very good putt.”

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

Johnson’s drive, which was 139 yards past Kisner’s tee shot, is the longest recorded on the PGA Tour in the ShotLink era, surpassing Davis Love III’s drive of 476 yards in 2004 at the Tournament of Champions.

The drive will not go into the record books, however, because the Tour doesn’t count statistics from the Match Play.

It should also be noted, Kisner halved the 12th hole with a birdie and won the match, 4 and 3, to advance to the round of 16.

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Durant leads Champions event in Mississippi

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 12:21 am

BILOXI, Miss. - Joe Durant had three straight birdies in a back-nine burst and a shot 6-under 66 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Rapiscan Systems Classic.

Durant birdied the par-4 11th and 12th and par-5 13th in the bogey-free round at breezy and rain-softened Fallen Oak. Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway.

''It just sets up nice to my eye,'' Durant said. ''It's a beautiful golf course and it's very challenging. The tee shots seem to set up well for me, but the greens are maybe as quick as I've ever seen them here. You really have to put the ball in the right spots. I played very nice today. With the wind swirling like it was, I'm really happy.''

He won the Chubb Classic last month in Naples, Florida, for his third victory on the 50-and-over tour.

Full-field scores from the Rapiscan Systems Classic

''Done this long enough, Friday's just one day,'' Durant said. ''Especially in a three-day tournament, you've got to go out and shoot three good numbers. Fortunate to put one on the board, but I know I have to back it up with a couple of good days because you can get passed very quickly out here.''

Mark Calcavecchia was a stroke back. He won last month in Boca Raton, Florida

''It's probably my best round I've ever had here and it was a tough day to play,'' Calcavecchia said. ''The greens are just lightning fast. They're pretty slopey greens, so very difficult to putt.''

Steve Stricker was third at 68. He took the Tucson, Arizona, event three weeks ago for his first senior victory.

''Just getting it around and managing my game I think like I always do,'' Stricker said. ''You get in the wrong position here with the greens being so fast and you're going to be in trouble. I did that a couple times today.''

Billy Mayfair, Billy Andrade and David McKenzie shot 69. Jerry Kelly, the winner of the season-opening event in Hawaii, was at 70 with Wes Short Jr., Glen Day, Gene Sauers and Jesper Parnevik.

Bernhard Langer opened with a 71, and two-time defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 72.

Vijay Singh, coming off his first senior victory two weeks ago in Newport Beach, California, had a 73.