Aloha means good golf

By Paul ArnettJanuary 6, 2009, 5:00 pm

poipu bay
Poipu Bay Golf Course is just one of many options for oceanside golf in Hawaii
 
There are two dozen golf courses in the remote island chain of Hawaii that will make you forget you didnt break 100.
 
The sweeping beauty of the mountain vistas, the death-defying ocean cliffs jagged from centuries-old battles with Big Blue far below and the emerald rain forests featured on the hit TV-show Lost await anyone with a bag of clubs and enough time to swing them.
 
Sure, youre going to leave your share of golf balls on the lava rocks of the Big Island, in the steep ravines on Maui or Kauai and along those picturesque beach holes featured in magazines and brochures alike.
 
But who cares?
 
Those ragged scrawls on the scorecard can be blamed on all the digital shots youre beaming back to your jealous buddies trapped in the frigid air of the Midwest. Seeing you in Bermuda shorts and flowered aloha shirts, rescue club in hand, standing on the par-3 seventh at the Prince Course is worth every painstaking step of planning you took for your dream golf vacation.
 
Theres nothing quite like playing the Prince Course in north Kauai one day, then taking a ride through Jurassic Park on the way south to Poipu Bay the next. Scorecard? You dont need no stinking scorecard. You just saw humpback whales breaching off the par-3 11th at the Plantation Course at Kapalua. This isnt some municipal course in Jersey. This is golf mecca located thousands of miles away in the central Pacific.
 
You have enough air miles to make the flight, the boss gave you two weeks vacation and your significant other is willing to go with you to these exotic locations, just as long as you drive the cart.
 
So where to begin?
 
The first thing you have to do is be willing to island-hop once you touch down in Honolulu on the island of Oahu. Most of the people live on this rock known as the gathering place by the ancient Hawaiians. The other main islands with golf courses are Maui, Kauai, the Big Island, Lanai and Molokai.
 
The trick here is deciding which islands to visit and what golf courses to play. Even if you had a month and an unlimited pile of cash, youd be hard-pressed to play the top 25 courses in the islands. Heck, Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island alone would keep a professional busy, much less a weekend hacker.
 

Barack Obama Hawaii
President-elect Barack Obama gets in a round at Olomana in Kailua, Hawaii
The keys are to pace yourself and have a plan. If Oahu is your first destination, there are several courses that offer you a place to swing and not be overwhelmed by the difficulty of the 18 or 36 holes you plan to play that day. Courses the locals tour regularly include Coral Creek Golf Course, Pearl Country Club, Luna Hills Country Club, Olomana Golf Links, where Barack Obama enjoys a round or two, and the Hawaii Kai Golf Course.
 
These are all great places to play and are spread across the island to give you the unique views of the big city and the country vistas enjoyed by Hawaiian royalty centuries past. And they arent even the name courses, some popularized by major professional events.
 
Those belong to Ko Olina Resort located on the west coast of Oahu where the LPGA once called home and the Arnold Palmer Course at Turtle Bay where this years SBS Open will be played minus defending champion Annika Sorenstam. This North Shore location is 40 miles from downtown Honolulu and requires a good 90-minute drive from Waikiki.
 
If you come in the winter, the famed waves of the North Shore are only 15 minutes away from the Turtle Bay Resort, home of the Palmer and Fazio designs. There arent a lot of ocean holes on either course, but theyre fun and challenging. The Champions Tour has also held events here, as well as U.S. Open qualifiers, so you get the idea that par isnt always part of the plan.
 
Up the way from Ko Olina, which is located just outside Kapolei, is what many believe are the most beautiful 18 holes on Oahu ' the West Course of the Makaha Resort and Golf Club. This is one of those courses where your final score is secondary to your immediate surroundings.
 
A good 45 miles from Honolulu and a 70-minute drive on a clear day, Makaha feels like another world. You can get this setting on the neighbor islands and the difficult Koolau Golf Club on the Windward Side, but thats about it for Oahu. If you do decide to put Koolau on your list, bring plenty of golf balls. This striking layout is tough, although local golfer and PGA Tour veteran Dean Wilson holds the course record with a blistering 62.
 
After youve stayed on Oahu a few days, enjoying the nightlife of Waikiki and historical Pearl Harbor, its time to do a little island-hopping. We recommend Maui for the first-time visitor, Kauai on the next sojourn and maybe even the Big Island or Lanai on the trip after that. You cant lose with any choice.
 
Maui is the second-largest island in the chain, both in size and population. While Oahu is about 60 miles long and 12 miles wide, Maui is big with two distinct mountain ranges. On one side, you have the West Maui mountains, home to Kaanapali and Kapalua where four wonderful courses can be found.
 
The east side belongs to the Haleakala volcano that reaches 10,023 feet. On one slope, in the small community of Wailea, just down the road from Kihei, are five more courses that will keep you busy if you let them. Among this cluster of layouts is the Gold Course at Wailea Golf Club, former home to the Senior Skins Game. At the right time of day, the sunlight bathes these 18 holes in pink and orange hues that cant be fully appreciated until seen firsthand.
 
A 90-minute drive to the west and you find yourself in a true tropical setting at the Kapalua Resort, home to the Ritz Carlton and too many villas to count. Here you will find the Plantation Course where the PGA Tour begins each season with the winners-only Mercedes-Benz Championship.
 
kapalua 1st hole
The first hole at Kapalua's Plantation Course during the 2008 Mercedes Benz Championship
Built on the side of a mountain, this course will test your skill and endurance, but will award you with views of the Molokai and Lanai islands that will make you stop and stare. A slow guy in your group? You wont mind. Watching the surfers and the sunsets will leave you feeling lucky to be swinging a golf club in January.
 
Just down the road about 10 minutes away are the two Kaanapali courses. The Kai Course is home to Big Break Kaanapali and the Royal Kaanapali is the current home of the Senior Skins where Greg Norman is expected to make a rare appearance. Both of these courses are near several resorts, as well as the beach-side community of Lahaina where quality restaurants and shops await the discerning traveler.
 
If you fly in to Maui via Kahului, make sure you play The Dunes at Maui Lani (North Course) on your way in or out of town. Many believe these are the most unique 18 holes of all the islands. Its links-style design in a tropical location is pleasing to the senses.
 
Its not a bad idea to stay an extra day or two and take the ferry over to Lanai where two of the most beautiful courses in the world await. They are The Experience at Koele and The Challenge at Manele, both home to Four Seasons resorts. When Bill Gates was married, he reserved the entire island for the weekend. Enough said.
 
Should your choice be the Big Island on one end of the chain or Kauai on the other, plenty of scenic golf awaits at both locations. Kauai is a small island to the north with eight incredible courses at your disposal, including the Makai and Prince designs to the north and Poipu Bay and Kiahuna Golf Club to the south.
 
Kauai is called the Garden Isle and its hard to argue that description. The farthest north of the main islands, expect plenty of rain, especially in the winter, hence rain forests. There is very little nightlife, but the beaches are to die for and a trip to Hanakapiai Falls or Waimea Canyon a must.
 
The Big Island offers a much dryer climate, particularly in the lava fields of South Kona where you will find some of the most beautiful resorts in the world. The South Course at Mauna Lani Resort and the 18-hole layout at Hualalai Golf Club, home to the season-opening tournament on the Champions Tour, will leave you longing for more. Youll find just that at the Mauna Kea Beach Golf Course and Waikoloas Beach Course where the ocean holes rivals those on Kauai.
 
These places will pamper you, so much so, you might not wander down to the coastal community of Kailua-Kona, but you should on your way to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to witness how the Earth was formed. Kilauea remains an active volcano and produces what the locals call vog. When the wind is from the south, it can rival Los Angeles on a bad day, so be prepared. If the prevailing tradewinds are blowing, youll be fine.
 
Make sure when you come to the 50th state, you adjust to the local lifestyle, check your road rage at the counter and enjoy what Hawaii has to offer. The golf is the most beautiful and challenging in America. And best of all, your money is good here in this tropical paradise.
 

Paul Arnett is the sports editor of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. He covers professional golf during the Aloha Season in Hawaii.
 
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CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.062 million

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 12:50 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:

1 Jon Rahm -22 $1,062,000
2 Andrew Landry -22 $637,200
T3 Adam Hadwin -20 $306,800
T3 John Huh -20 $306,800
T3 Martin Piller -20 $306,800
T6 Kevin Chappell -19 $205,025
T6 Scott Piercy -19 $205,025
T8 Brandon Harkins -18 $171,100
T8 Jason Kokrak -18 $171,100
T8 Sam Saunders -18 $171,100
T11 Harris English -17 $135,700
T11 Seamus Power -17 $135,700
T11 Jhonattan Vegas -17 $135,700
T14 Bud Cauley -16 $106,200
T14 Austin Cook -16 $106,200
T14 Grayson Murray -16 $106,200
T17 Andrew Putnam -15 $88,500
T17 Peter Uihlein -15 $88,500
T17 Aaron Wise -15 $88,500
T20 Ricky Barnes -14 $57,754
T20 Stewart Cink -14 $57,754
T20 Brian Harman -14 $57,754
T20 Beau Hossler -14 $57,754
T20 Charles Howell III -14 $57,754
T20 Zach Johnson -14 $57,754
T20 Ryan Palmer -14 $57,754
T20 Brendan Steele -14 $57,754
T20 Nick Taylor -14 $57,754
T29 Lucas Glover -13 $36,706
T29 Russell Knox -13 $36,706
T29 Nate Lashley -13 $36,706
T29 Tom Lovelady -13 $36,706
T29 Kevin Streelman -13 $36,706
T29 Hudson Swafford -13 $36,706
T29 Richy Werenski -13 $36,706
T36 Jason Dufner -12 $27,189
T36 Derek Fathauer -12 $27,189
T36 James Hahn -12 $27,189
T36 Chez Reavie -12 $27,189
T36 Webb Simpson -12 $27,189
T36 Tyrone Van Aswegen -12 $27,189
T42 Bronson Burgoon -11 $18,983
T42 Ben Crane -11 $18,983
T42 Brian Gay -11 $18,983
T42 Chesson Hadley -11 $18,983
T42 Patton Kizzire -11 $18,983
T42 Hunter Mahan -11 $18,983
T42 Kevin Na -11 $18,983
T42 Rob Oppenheim -11 $18,983
T50 Alex Cejka -10 $14,025
T50 Corey Conners -10 $14,025
T50 Michael Kim -10 $14,025
T50 Kevin Kisner -10 $14,025
T50 Sean O'Hair -10 $14,025
T50 Sam Ryder -10 $14,025
T50 Nick Watney -10 $14,025
T57 Robert Garrigus -9 $13,039
T57 Tom Hoge -9 $13,039
T57 David Lingmerth -9 $13,039
T57 Ben Martin -9 $13,039
T57 Trey Mullinax -9 $13,039
T57 Brett Stegmaier -9 $13,039
T63 Scott Brown -8 $12,449
T63 Wesley Bryan -8 $12,449
T63 Brice Garnett -8 $12,449
T63 Sung Kang -8 $12,449
T67 Talor Gooch -7 $12,095
T67 Tom Whitney -7 $12,095
T69 Matt Every -6 $11,623
T69 Billy Hurley III -6 $11,623
T69 Smylie Kaufman -6 $11,623
T69 Keith Mitchell -6 $11,623
T69 Rory Sabbatini -6 $11,623
T69 Chris Stroud -6 $11,623
75 John Peterson -5 $11,210
76 Abraham Ancer -4 $11,092
77 Ben Silverman 4 $10,974
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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.