Monday, April 3, 2017

73. Hawaiian Quickie March 27-28, 2017

Hawaiian Quickie March 27-28, 2017

Good news is that I was able to work out the logistical issues and figured out a way to play both courses in HI in a much reduced time frame.  Way back in November 2013 I had a similar issue.  I had played 91 of the Golf Magazine 2015 World Top 100 and my plan was to first visit Cabo, Mexico for 48 hours and in that time play three courses including two World 100’s (Ocean and Diamante-Dunes) and second play the last 7 of my “unplayed” on a round the world trip in May 2014.  Due to weather delays flying to Houston to connect to a flight to Cabo, I missed my connection and lost a day.  I ended up being “on the ground” in Cabo for 25 hours during which I played both World 100’s.

This trip I had to change the order of my visit from MauiàKauai to KauaiàMaui.  I also had to take four separate flights on Monday 3/27: CharlotteàPhoenixàKauaiàHonoluluàMaui, while also playing 18 holes at Hokuala.  But must admit it was also made possible by the proximity of Hokuala to the local airport in Lihue (literally right next door), and the time zone change of 6 hours.  I will tell you that when I reached my hotel Monday in Maui at 11pm local time, I was one tired puppy!!

Hokuala—Ocean Course (formerly Kauai Lagoons—Kiele Course) March 27, 2017:  It seems like there a lot of golf courses and clubs around today that must be identified by their current name and their former name.  A sign of the economics of the game of golf these days.  I asked two people how many owners the resort has had since its opening in 1993…one said seven and the other said three…who knows??  One bad sign was that construction appears to have been halted on some real estate lining the course…

I teed off on the back none and had a 38-42 = 80.  The course played to 7156 yards from the back and about four holes sit along the Pacific or a small bay.  Simply put, the course was disappointing.  There is one outstanding hole and two others that are very very good.  But there are also several very disappointing holes, including #16-18.  The 16th reminded me of the 5th hole at Quivera, a Nicklaus design in Cabo that I played last year.  Quivera’s 5th is a ridiculously tight short par 4 that doglegs left down hill to a blind green.  Hokuala’s 16th is a straight version with, but at least Quivera had the excuse that the course had to transverse a large stone mountain…Hokuala has no such excuse.

The best hole by far (and a really great one) is #5, a 219-yard par 3, slightly uphill with a carry over a “jungle like gorge” of about 175 yards from the tips.  Green is two tiered, round in shape, slopes from back to front, and sits up high…making it very subject to the winds (which are masked down on the tee).  Other good holes are #12-15.

Course played firm and fast and is good condition, but I certainly had the sense that the economics of this resort were in deep trouble.

Pictures follow:
Holuala #13 474 yd par 5 headed to Pacific

Hokuala #14 210 yd par 3 over gorge

Hokuala #16 2nd fairway to hit off tee and silly 2nd shot

Hokuala #3 436 par 4...bunkers well protect route to green

Hokuala #5 219 yd par this hole

Royal Kaanapali Golf Course, March 28, 2017:  After about 5 hours of sleep (which followed about 4 hours of sleep the previous night), it was up at 5:15am to pack up and get over to Royal Kaanapali (less than a mile from my hotel room) for a 6:30am tee off.  I was scheduled to fly back to LAX at 1:13pm and Maui traffic can be difficult.

Royal Kaanapali opened in 1962 and has hosted a number of professional golf events, including:

o   Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf in July 1963 (New Zealand’s Bob Charles shot a 66 to defeat USA’s Dave Regan);
o   Canada Cup (now the World Cup) in December 1964 won easily by USA’s team of Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus;
o   Woman’s Kemper Open from 1982-85 (won by Amy Alcott in ’82, Kathy Whitworth in ’83, Betsy King in ’84, and Jane Blalock in ’85); and
o   Senior PGA Tour Kannapali Classic 1987-2000 won by Orville Moody, Don Bies (2x), Bob Charles (3x), Jim Colbert, Tommy Aaron, George Archer, Bob Murphy, Hale Irwin (2x), Jay Sigel, and Bruce Fleisher.

Played with two other golfers, one from Minneapolis and the other from Alberta, Canada.  Good guys and we played fairly quickly.  Course was over watered and not very interesting.  Plays 6700 yards from the tips but played much longer given the conditions.  Had a smooth 47-42 = 89…and could not wait to finish the round (just a bit tired!).  Course is very very hilly except for #1 and # 17-18 which are dead flat.  And of course has plenty of Robert Trent Jones Sr. 60 yard long tee boxes (commonly called runways).  Good to have this in the rear view mirror! 

But I got it done…on the ground in HI for all of 23 hours, played two courses on two different islands with two puddle jumper flights as well…even better than Cabo in 2013!

Drove to the airport and the flight to LAX was early.  When I arrived I had a message from on my cell phone, saying there was problem with my hotel reservation.  Good news was that it got resolved with one phone call as they secured another room at a nearby hotel.  Drive up to Thousand Oaks CA took about 50 minutes and was in bed by 11:30pm.  Next two days were 36 holes/day and lots of driving!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing the information. Quite informative and very well explained. Keep up the good work.

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