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

Bill BowmanBy Bill Bowman,
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Dunes at Maui Lani golf course - hole 1
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The Dunes at Maui Lani may provide the most bang for your buck on Maui. (John Byrne/Dunes at Maui Lani)

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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Kahili Golf Course on Maui - 12thElleair Maui Golf Club - No. 1Pukalani Country Club - 8thOld Blue golf course at Wailea G.C. - 4th
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Bill Bowman is a Las Vegas-based writer who has nearly 40 years in the sports-writing business. He's spent the past 15-plus years covering the golf scene in Vegas and has teed it up for magazine profiles with celebrities including comedian Bill Engvall, actor Jeffrey Donovan (USA's Burn Notice), ESPN personality Colin Cowherd, NASCAR's Kurt Busch, Collective Soul's Ed Roland, the Baltimore Ravens' Jonathan Ogden and many others.

 
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