Best golf in Hawaii Oahu
No. 17 at the Arnold Palmer Course at Turtle Bay Resort (Mike Bailey)
When it comes to golf in Hawaii you can’t go wrong with any of the four main islands – Maui, Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island. In fact, each island has such great golf that you could argue any one of them is best of the bunch. As the 2011 PGA Tour season shifts to Oahu for the Sony Open, we make a case for 'The Gathering Place.'
So you're planning a golf trip to Hawaii, but you've only got the time or the funds for one island. Which one do you choose?
The argument can be made for any one of the major islands of Hawaii, but here's a suggestion that may surprise you: Pick Oahu, especially if it's your first time to Hawaii.
The reasons are compelling. No other island has as many golf courses or as much variety. But perhaps the biggest reason to choose Oahu is the variety of things to do, which revolve around the bustling city of Honolulu and Waikiki Beach.
'From snorkeling on Hanauma Bay to visiting the (USS) Arizona at Pearl Harbor, there are so many more activities on Oahu vs. the other islands,' said Kevin Carll, head golf professional at Waialae Country Club, host of the PGA Tour's Sony Open.
What makes Oahu different is that even though there are plenty of golf resorts on the island, there are also plenty of good daily-fee courses, which are often far less expensive than the resort courses on the other islands. This gives the golf vacationer the best of both worlds. You can choose to stay at a resort like Turtle Bay on the North Shore or the Makaha Resort & Golf Club, or you can make Honolulu your base and drive to different parts of the island to play golf. The advantage to the latter is that you have the outstanding nightlife and dining of Honolulu, which backs up to one of the best beaches in the world: Waikiki.
Accommodations near Waikiki run the gamut, from high-rise luxury hotels like the Hawaii Prince (which also has 27 holes of Arnold Palmer-designed golf off property) to more budget-minded digs like the Park Shore Waikiki, a modest hotel with a great location in the heart of the city with views of Diamond Head and the beach. At your disposal are hundreds of restaurants, clubs and shops, including the incredible outdoor Ala Moana Mall, which has the most expensive retail space per square foot of any shopping venue in the United States.
'There's anything and everything, all within walking distance,' Carll said.
For golf, though, you'll have to rent a car or spend a lot of money on cab fare if you're staying in Honolulu. Of course, if you stay at Turtle Bay Resort, golf and recreation are in your backyard. The resort's backdrop is one of the great surfing spots in the world. The views rivals any resort in the entire state, and Turtle Bay boasts two excellent golf courses. The Palmer Course, ranked among the best in the state and host of the Hawaii State Open, only has one true ocean hole. But the rest of the course, which meanders through wetlands and tall ironwood trees, is a great test away from the ocean. The other course at Turtle Bay, the George Fazio Course, has several holes on the Pacific and makes for an enjoyable and slightly easier golf experience.
There's also the Makaha Resort and Golf Club on the west coast of Oahu in Waianae. William Bell designed this 7,077-yard par 72 in a valley that once served as the playground of Hawaiian royalty.
Perhaps one of the most difficult golf courses in Hawaii is Ko'olau Golf Club, which has a slope rating of 152. Designed by Dick Nugent in 1992, the course is laid out in the middle of a rain forest at the feet of the Ko'olau Mountain Range. Here you'll see waterfalls and plenty vegetation to gobble up wayward shots. Similarly, on the east side of the island, Luana Hills Golf Club, once a private Japanese club, is also treacherous. This Pete Dye design was carved out of the mountain jungle, and despite its relative lack of length, is difficult because of the unforgiving nature of the misses.
On the Ewa Plain is Ewa Beach Golf Club, a plush paspalum golf course designed by prolific Hawaii designer Robin Nelson. The locals sure know about this little gem, which is carved out of a kiawe forest and dotted with plenty of lakes and bunkers. It's well worth the 30-minute drive from Honolulu. The same holds true for Royal Kunia Country Club on the end of the Ft. Weaver Road corridor. Royal Kunia is another Nelson design that has plenty of good holes and even better views of Pearl Harbor, Honolulu and the surrounding mountains.
You'll also want to check out Ko'Olina Golf Club, a fun Ted Robinson layout that features waterfalls, fountains and plenty of interesting holes. Located across from the J.W. Marriott Ihilani Resort and Spa, Ko Olina was Michelle Wie's home course as well as a host site for the LPGA and Champions Tours.
Additionally, if you have some connections, be sure to check out the military courses on the island, which are surprisingly good, especially the Bell-designed Navy-Marine Course. And private club members should get a referral to play Waialae Country Club, a Seth Raynor and Charles Banks design. This classic golf course is one of Oahu's best with design characteristics borrowed from some of the best venues in the world laid out in one of the best settings in the world.
South Korean LPGA stars lead KLPGA team
South Korea’s LPGA team of all-stars took the early lead Friday on the Korean LPGA Tour in a team event featuring twice as much star power as this year’s Solheim Cup did.
Eight of the world’s top 20 players are teeing it up in the ING Life Champions Trophy/ Inbee Park Invitational in Gyeongju. There were only four players among the top 20 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings when the United States defeated Europe in Des Moines, Iowa.
Park led the LPGA team to a 3 ½-to-2 ½ lead on the first day.
Park, who has been recuperating from a back injury for most of the second half of this season, teamed with Jeongeun Lee5 to defeat Hye Jin Choi and Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4, in the lead-off four-ball match.
So Yeon Ryu and Park, former world No. 1s and LPGA Rolex Player of the Year Award winners, will be the marquee pairing on Saturday. They will lead off foursomes against Ji Young Kim and Min Sun Kim.
Nine of the 11 South Koreans who won LPGA events this year are competing. Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim are the only two who aren’t.
The fourball results:
LPGA’s Inbee Park/ Jeongeun Lee5 def. Hye Jin Choi/Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4.
LPGA’s Mirim Lee/Amy Yang def. Ji Hyun Oh/Min Sun Kim, 3 and 1.
LPGA’s M.J. Hur/Mi Hyang Lee halved Ji Hyun Kim/Ji Young Kim.
KLPGA’s Ha Na Jang/Sun Woo Bae def. Sei Young Kim/Hyo Joo Kim, 5 and 4.
LPGA’s Na Yeon Choi/Jenny Shin halved Jin Young Ko/Da Yeon Lee
LPGA’s In Gee Chun/Eun Hee Ji halved Jeongeun Lee6/Char Young Kim.
NOTE: The KPGA uses numerals after a player’s name to distinguish players with the exact same name.
Cut Line: Lyle faces third bout with cancer
In this week’s holiday edition, Cut Line is thankful for the PGA Tour’s continued progress on many fronts and the anticipation that only a Tiger Woods return can generate.
The Fighter. That was the headline of a story Cut Line wrote about Jarrod Lyle following his second bout with cancer a few years ago, so it’s both sad and surreal to see the affable Australian now bracing for a third fight with leukemia.
Lyle is working as an analyst for Channel 7’s coverage of this week’s Emirates Australian Open prior to undergoing another stem cell transplant in December.
“I’ve got a big month coming,” Lyle said. “I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me.”
Twice before things have panned out for Lyle. Let’s hope karma has one more fight remaining.
Changing times. Last season the PGA Tour introduced a policy to add to the strength of fields, a measure that had long eluded officials and by most accounts was a success.
This season the circuit has chosen to tackle another long-standing thorn, ridiculously long pro-am rounds. While there seems little the Tour can do to speed up play during pro-am rounds, a new plan called a 9&9 format will at least liven things up for everyone involved.
Essentially, a tournament hosting a pro-am with four amateurs can request the new format, where one professional plays the first nine holes and is replaced by another pro for the second nine.
Professionals will have the option to request 18-hole pro-am rounds, giving players who limit practice rounds to just pro-am days a chance to prepare, but otherwise it allows Tour types to shorten what is an admittedly long day while the amateurs get a chance to meet and play with two pros.
The new measure does nothing about pace of play, but it does freshen up a format that at times can seem tired, and that’s progress.
Tweet of the week: @Love3d (Davis Love III) “Thanks to Dr. Flanagan (Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center) for the new hip and great care! Can’t wait to get back to (the PGA Tour).”
Love offered the particularly graphic tweet following hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that he admitted he’d delayed because he was “chicken.”
The surgery went well and Love is on pace to return to the Tour sometime next spring. As for the possibility of over-sharing on social media, we’ll leave that to the crowd.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
Distance control. The Wall Street Journal provided the octagon for the opening blows of a clash that has been looming for a long time.
First, USGA executive director Mike Davis told The Journal that the answer to continued distance gains may be a restricted-flight golf ball with an a la carte rule that would allow different organizations, from the Tour all the way down to private clubs, deciding which ball to use.
“You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible.”
A day later, Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet, which includes the Titleist brand, fired back in a letter to The Journal, questioning among other things how distance gains are putting a financial burden on courses.
“The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate,” Uihlein wrote.
For anyone paying attention the last few years, this day was inevitable and the likely start of what will be a drawn out and heated process, but Cut Line’s just not sure anyone wins when it’s over.
Tiger, take II. Tiger Woods’ return to competition next week at the Hero World Challenge was always going to generate plenty of speculation, but that hyperbole reached entirely new levels this week as players began giving personal accounts of the new and improved 14-time major champion.
“I did talk to him, and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years,’” Day said as he prepared for the Australian Open. “If he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.”
Rickie Fowler added to the frenzy when he was asked this month if the rumors that Woods is driving the ball by him, by 20 to 30 yards by some reports, are true?
“Oh, yeah,” he told Golf.com. “Way by.”
Add to all this a recent line that surfaced in Las Vegas that Woods is now listed at 20-1 to win a major in 2018, and it seems now may be a good time for a restraint.
Golf is better with Woods, always has been and always will be, but it may be best to allow Tiger time to find out where his body and game are before we declare him back.
Searching for answers. Twelve months ago, Hideki Matsuyama was virtually unstoppable and, regardless of what the Official World Golf Ranking said, arguably the best player on the planet.
Now a year removed from that lofty position, which featured the Japanese star finishing either first or second in six of his seven starts as the New Year came and went, Matsuyama has faded back to fifth in the world and on Sunday finished fifth, some 10 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka, at the Dunlop Phoenix.
“That hurt,” Matsuyama told the Japan Times. “I don’t know whether it’s a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well. It seems there are many issues to address.”
Since his last victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has just two top-10 finishes on Tour and he ended his 2016-17 season with a particularly poor performance at the Presidents Cup.
While Matsuyama’s take seems extreme considering his season, there are certainly answers that need answering.
Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ
Updated at 11:14 a.m. ET
An Instagram user known as hwalks posted photos to her account that included images of Tiger Woods, President Trump and Dustin Johnson Friday at Trump National, as well as video of Woods' swing.
Here are some other social media posts that have surfaced:
Trump Jupiter Tiger, Johnson, Faxon,Trumps staff &team treats everyone the best, members and media guests alike, FACT pic.twitter.com/TB61q7Qe3y— Dr. Eric Kaplan (@drekaplan) November 24, 2017
Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.
President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
After Turkey call I will be heading over to Trump National Golf Club, Jupiter, to play golf (quickly) with Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson. Then back to Mar-a-Lago for talks on bringing even more jobs and companies back to the USA!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 24, 2017
Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.
Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong
HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.
Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.
''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''
Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.
Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.
''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''
Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.
Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).
''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''