For almost three decades, HawaiiGolfDeals.com has endeavored to provide outstanding value and comprehensive information for those intrigued by a Hawaii golf vacation. However, due to the Covid-19 crisis, we are hard-pressed to do what we do best.
Hawaii—its golf courses, accommodations, car rental agencies, restaurants and tourist attractions—has been hit hard by the pandemic. For all intents and purposes, the state has been closed since mid-March and there is no end in sight due to the re-emergence of the virus during the fall and winter months.
The fact that each island (and each airline, rental car agency, accommodation & golf course) also creates its own rules and regulations, which change on what seems like a daily basis, is making it difficult to keep up with and post pertinent information.
In order to carry on in the future, we must take measures that make economic sense. As a result, we cannot guarantee that any golf course, restaurant or attraction will be open for business from one week to the next or that rules will not change. We are truly sorry for any inconvenience
Covid numbers are minimal in Hawaii. However, the state has chosen to protect residents and the overall lack of ICU hospital beds. The neighbor islands (Big Island, Maui & Kauai) have very few ICU beds and small hospitals. The chosen scenario basically revolves around keeping the virus out of the island state.
The very real question you must address: Are you prepared for a bout of the virus in terms of quarantine, available health care, insurance and the recovery period, which could involve weeks of added room nights and other assorted expenses? If you are not extremely healthy and well insured, or your insurance carrier does not cover you out-of-state, or you are not prepared for a significant added expense, visiting Hawaii can be very tricky during the next several months.
No matter what, if you are planning to travel to the Aloha state, be sure you know ALL the constantly changing rules, regulations and protocols regarding Covid-19. Every airline, every island, every vehicle rental, every accommodation, every restaurant and every golf course has their own protocols. Please be fully aware of what the rules are before arriving.
There have been two types of course closures in Hawaii during the past several months. Upon information, two courses—Koolau GC on Oahu & Volcano GC on The Big Island—have shuttered permanently. The other course closures are generally found at multi-course resorts, where operators have decided to open only one course rather than two in the interest of cost efficiency.
There are also various new rules and regulations at courses regarding Covid-19 testing, cart sharing and restricted operating hours (opening a little later and closing earlier than what has been customary). While making a tee time is now possible on day of and day before, there is absolutely no reason to make a tee time more than a week out. The day before is just fine. What is most important is to call and inquire as to best rates, specials, new rules and hours of operation.
All of our 2020 golf programs run through January 31. Due to the pandemic, we will be reaching out to our golf course partners during January to put together a quality program for the balance of 2021. Please check back with us after January 31 (or a little sooner).
Hawaii’s rental agencies returned more than 30,000 vehicles to the mainland during the middle of the year. This means there are far fewer available vehicles and the price has gone way up due to the reduced inventory. Our rates more than doubled, so we are not offering vehicles as a stand-alone offering at this time. There are better rates out there right now that we cannot compete with and we urge you to shop around.
If you have visited Hawaii the past three years, expect vehicles to cost you at least $100 more per-week. Your best value will be full-size, premium and certain SUVs, not the small vehicles that are generally not well suited for golfers anyway. We advise you to shop early and reserve a vehicle without prepayment. Then, shop it out every couple of weeks until your trip and react to the best deal. We can still include vehicles at competitive pricing within our complete packages and land packages.
If you are planning to visit Hawaii during the second half of the year, there is a chance we will receive a worthwhile contract and be able to offer the best rates at that time. Please contact us again after April 15th.
The lodging scenario is the opposite of the vehicle scenario. There are plenty of accommodations available to visitors, but not necessarily at bargain prices. Hotels are in flux right now. While most were intending to open prior to the Christmas holiday season, a few openings were postponed. Most hotels are open (Kauai’s hotels may be the exception). Condos and villas are generally open for business, cheaper, carry few or no special fees or surcharges, and may be much better in terms of social distancing and space. Again, make sure a full refund is possible due to the pandemic. More on this in future posts.
All the airlines have significantly reduced schedules to and from Hawaii from what they were in 2019. When inquiring and booking, be sure to be fully informed on ‘cancellation’ and ‘change’ rules & fees. By all means, stay away from non-refundable fares. Since Southwest Airlines entered the Hawaii market in late 2018 with some inter-island service, we expect they will be particularly aggressive price wise and may add schedule more readily than the legacy carriers. Hawaiian Airlines has announced new service from four mainland cities, including Orlando, starting in late-March 2021.