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Challenging 9-Holes at Waiehu Golf Course
March 30, 2013 - Ray Tsuchiyama
After a friendly chat in a combination of Japanese and English with Starter Windy, spouse C. and I tee'd off on Hole One at the Waiehu Golf Course, on Maui’s cool northwestern coastline. It is a laid-back place, without the resort atmosphere of Wailea or up-scale Kapaula golf courses. Recent Waiehu golf tournament golfer lists were packed with Japanese and Okinawan names, many families going back generations to Pu’unene Camp or Happy Valley. The golf clubhouse Café O’Lei restaurant featured a Pork Adobo special with two eggs and even more nostalgic Filipino specialties (I made a promise to return for lunch).
In front of us was an older gentleman walking with a bag and what looked to be his son, who seemed to have a Ph.D. from the Arnold Palmer Graduate School of Golf: his swings made our driver shots look like the best of an eight year-old. Behind us -- fortunately since we lag in our longer shots and have to get of our cart and go trudging down the fairway and club away -- was a six-golfer group. The golfers seemed to be quite deep in discussions, even while walking. The group was less about golf and more about reminiscing a Baldwin High School senior prom night decades ago.
Hole One has an endless fairway of 512 yards to the hole atop what looks like a small cinder cone. I managed a good shot from the left with my trusty Pitching Wedge to loft the ball up onto near the flag.
Hole Two is the “Approach of Death”, over a dark, menacing lake. I lost my brand-new Noodle ball and immediately recalled my friend Ted’s advice to use only used balls, not new balls. Spouse C. (with a used ball) made a beautiful shot, over the water. I dropped my ball in the “Drop Zone” and made a shot – using a 7 Iron -- close to the flag.
Holes Three and Four were best forgotten. Spouse C. was surprised that I had a good putt. My hours at the sunny Kihei Elle Aire driving range with “getting to the green” shots were paying off. Good view of the mist/clouds descending on the mountains in the distance.
Hole Five is a shot around a side of a hill. I lost another ball in the brush. We finally had a moment to drink some water when the father-son duo slowed down – I cannot imagine walking with our bags – I would expire by Hole Three.
Hole Six is the flag-that-cannot-be-seen, over a knoll. The card said that it was a Par 4, but we required a couple of extra strokes to avoid the hill and the ocean. Nice ocean waves. From a near-by neighborhood a boy on a bicycle with a dog on a leash came out and rode out by the beach. On a previous outing my friend Ted – whose father is also Maui High ’37 – said to spend a minute enjoying the scenery, and we did so.
Hole Seven is a 490 yard Par 5 endless green flanked by trees. I could barely discern the flag; I felt like shooting from Maui to beyond to a green on Kaho'olawe – is this really a Par 5? Spouse C. lost her ball, but found another ball and continued playing – a good discovery. I was getting into my groove with two nice shots with a 7 Hybrid.
A short Hole Eight – barely 150 yards -- but deceiving, since there are more sand traps than Death Valley around this hole designed by some landscaping torturer. I liked it, since my short game prowess kicked in at this point for a nice putt.
The final Par 4 Hole Nine is 381 yards, but going up like Mount Everest – thankfully we had the cart on overdrive charging upwards. I had my trusty Pitching Wedge to get the ball to the hole. We were so tired doing a frenetic nine holes; it was good thing it was getting dark, so we had an excuse not to go to the “back nine holes” – perhaps in a future post (plus a review of the Pork Adobo special).
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