Welcome to Hawaii, a golfer’s dream destination where lush green fairways meet breathtaking ocean views. With its stunning natural beauty, warm tropical climate, and world-class golf courses, Hawaii offers a paradise-like experience for golf enthusiasts. This guide will provide you with essential information on the best time to travel, peak and low seasons, main golf areas on each island, and the best methods for traveling between the islands. One of our favourite things about Hawaii are that there are so many different ways to enjoy everything it has to offer; every time we revisit, we do a different itinerary and still do something new.
Best Time to Travel
Hawaii enjoys a year-round mild climate, making it an ideal destination for golfers. However, the months between April and October are considered the best time to visit, as they offer pleasant temperatures and less rainfall. This period provides golfers with optimal playing conditions and a more enjoyable overall experience.
The peak tourist season in Hawaii falls between mid-December and March when visitors flock to the islands to escape winter in other parts of the world. During this time, golf courses can be busier, and accommodation prices tend to be higher. Advanced reservations are recommended for both tee times and accommodations.
The low season in Hawaii generally spans from April to mid-December, excluding the peak season mentioned above. This period offers a quieter atmosphere, fewer crowds, and more affordable rates for accommodations and golfing. It’s an excellent time to enjoy golfing in Hawaii while experiencing the islands’ beauty and tranquillity.
Main Golf Areas on Each Island
Oahu, the most populated island in Hawaii, offers a wide range of golf courses suitable for all skill levels. Some notable golf areas on Oahu include the North Shore, Ko Olina, and the Waikiki area. The Ko’olau Golf Club, with its challenging fairways and stunning mountain vistas, is a must-play for avid golfers. In particular, Royal Hawaiian Golf Club is 25 minutes from Waikiki and is a must-play Pete Dye course. Or Turtle Bay on the North Shore offers some Arnold Palmer and George Fazio-designed golf courses at Turtle Bay Resort. Most international flights arrive via Hononlulu so it makes sense to spend two or three nights at Waikiki. The best shopping is on Oahu and in particular the Waikiki area.
Maui, known as the Valley Isle, boasts numerous championship golf courses surrounded by stunning coastal and mountain landscapes. The Kapalua Resort and Wailea area are popular golf destinations on the island. The Plantation Course at Kapalua is renowned for hosting the PGA Tour’s Tournament of Champions. The Bay Course is also a great option at Kapalua. The Wailea Resort has three courses: Emerald, Gold and Blue. There are other courses you could consider but starting with those three will ensure a great start. Staying at the Wailea Beach Resort is the obvious choice for a premium experience. Day trips are possible from Maui to the small island of Lanai where the famous Manele Bay Golf Course resides. If staying on the island, the Four Seasons Resort is the most luxurious option.
Big Island (Hawaii Island):
The Big Island is home to diverse terrain, including volcanic landscapes and dramatic coastlines. Golfers can tee off against breathtaking backdrops at courses like Mauna Kea Golf Course and Hualalai Golf Course. The latter is part of the luxurious Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. We recommend playing Hapuna Golf Club and Maun Lani. The southwest side of the island has amazing weather and is generally sunnier and warmer. At Hilo on the northeast side of the island, it is usually raining so not good for golf, but it is lush and beautiful for a day trip.
Kauai, known as the Garden Isle, offers spectacular golf courses nestled amidst lush tropical scenery. The Princeville area on the North Shore is a golfer’s paradise, featuring renowned courses like Princeville Prince Golf Course. Otherwise, Poipu Bay and the Ocean Course at Hokolua, or Puakea Golf Course are fantastic options. An upmarket accommodation is the Timbers Resort at Hokolua. Staying on the south side of the island is generally the better option with sunnier weather but there are plenty of options along the east coast right up to the north. Don’t stay on the west side of the island as there is not much there except the famous Waimea Canyon which is an excellent experience afoot or by helicopter.
Traveling between the Islands:
To explore multiple islands during your golfing adventure, inter-island flights are the most convenient option. Hawaiian Airlines and other local carriers provide frequent flights between the major islands, ensuring easy access to golf courses across the archipelago.
Alternatively, some golfers prefer to take a cruise or use ferry services to hop between islands. However, these options may limit the time available for golfing, so careful planning is essential.
Additional Travel Tips
- Rental Cars: Renting a car is highly recommended to maximize your mobility and explore golf courses and other attractions at your own pace.
- Tipping: It is best practice to tip each meal with 15-20% being the norm. It is best to tip a minimum of 15% and for the best service, there is no limit.
- Make dinner reservations well in advance
- Take a good travel golf bag. If travelling inter-island, you’ll need to be smart about how you pack your bags for ease of access
- Ensure you take some more time to enjoy non-golfing activities like day tours, snorkelling, surfing or hiking.