Monday, April 18, 2011

Ko'olau Golf Course

Five day work weeks and two day weekends are a cruel joke.  How can I possibly be expected to fully relax and enjoy Hawaii when I'm slaving away?  Last week was one such week.  No holiday.  No furlough.  Just a two day weekend.  Since my precious time was so limited, I had to pack in the activities.  Saturday I played golf at what Golf Digest in 2007 called the "toughest in the nation."  In 2010, it was merely the Third Most Diabolical.

Here's the review from ESPN: "With parts of the course receiving 130 inches of rain a year, this is target golf at its soggiest. You won't need a caddie so much as a backcountry guide. The roughs are tropical rain forests, the hazards mostly uncharted ravines filled with jungle and undiscovered reptilian life forms. Typical of the course's unsubtle presentation, the 474-yard, par-4 18th features two long forced carries over canyons plus a 330-yard bunker off the tee and a 220-yard bunker to the green. Legend has it that the course record was once 63 … lost balls. Ko'olau used to have a Slope Rating of 162, even though the maximum possible is 155."

I actually didn't find it all that difficult.  Don't get me wrong, I didn't shoot an 80 or anything, but I also shot under 100.  To me, I thought Luana Hills was much more difficult.  The one thing Ko'olau Golf course has that no other course I've played has is perfect conditions.  The sand traps were in immaculate shape.  The greens had no divots, holes, ball marks, or different colored sod.  The fairways had virtually no divot marks and even the tee boxes were in great shape.  On top of that, the course is at the bottom of the Ko'olau Mountain Range so there are sweeping vistas all around and ocean views on at least 4 holes.  It was by far the most beautiful course I have ever seen.  Even the club house and restaurant are picture perfect.  You enter the club house via a grand, carpeted staircase with a waterfall fountain in the middle and plants and flowers along the side.

From the 15th Tee Box
In terms of difficulty, you have to play VERY conservatively.  I think what saved me was playing for bogey.  The men's tees are at 6500 yards while the tournament tees are at 7400.  It's a long, narrow course with no forgiveness.  If you can play straight, though, you'll be all right. 

As I was standing on the 15th tee box, I had another "Hawaii Moment" where I realized how awesome this place is and how fortunate I am to have lived here for a brief period of time.  I also got a sense of real happiness when I realized that I will be here for a year instead of two.  There are not many things better than being able to play golf every weekend and enjoy 80 degree weather year 'round.  But I also have other things I am anxious to do in my life/career so this was the perfect opportunity to enjoy Hawaii on a temporary basis, take advantage of the weather and cheap resident-fees on golfing and then move on.  Saturday was the perfect epiphany.

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