Sunday, July 04, 2004

Looooonng - Golf @ Kapalua Plantation Course

We are on our trip to Hawaii and the first stop is Maui. To celebrate the 4th of July, I left our hotel in Wailea around 6:30 to get up to Kapalua for a 9:00 tee time. I was plenty early and rather than send me out to complete the Takasawa foursome, they sent me out about an hour early with just one other guy. I headed out to the first tee and just stood there for a minute looking at the amazing vista that greeted me. I had played this course many times on Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 on XBox so I was familiar with the layout of a bunch of the holes, but seeing them in real life is much more impressive (don't tell the XBox team...).

I tee'd off and crushed my driver 280 yards straight ahead. HEY! That was cool! My second shot was a bit left and hit the greenside bunker but I splashed out to about 5 feet and sank the putt for par. What a great start! Sadly, I wouldn't see another par for the next 10 holes but this got me off on the right foot. The struggle for the front nine was getting used to putting in Hawaii. The greens are either really slow, or really fast. Paul warned me about this, but it really takes practice to start to get it right. I three putted four of the first seven holes but I started to get used to it and only had 15 putts on the back 9.

Some memorable holes:
On 12, I killed my drive over the hill but I couldn't tell where it went from there. As we went over the hill, we saw my partner's ball down just past the bunker but my ball was not in the fairway where I thought it would be. It turns out that it rolled down the hill to the right of the green. A 320 yard drive on a 328 yard hole! Sure, there was hill involved, but this was my first 300+ yard drive that didn't include multiple cart path bounces :)

I recognized 17 from the game. A long downhill par 4 that curves around a bunch of junk to a sloped green. I hit the drive just like I did in the game, 283 yards down to the landing area just before the junk. My second shot had a slight draw over the junk, hit the green and rolled just off the back. While I was playing it, I kept thinking it was a par 5 (after all, #5 is a par 5 and is only 18 yards longer than 17) so I was very excited when I was just over the green in 2. It turns out that it is a par 4, but I was still pretty psyched to have it all go just like in the game.

18 is just like 17, only about 120 yards longer. I hit a similar drive and my second shot was about 120 yards from the green. I hit the green in regulation and 2 putted for a par, so I started and finished the Plantation course with pars and ended with a 93 (+20 since the course is a par 73).

The round was really a lot of fun and the course is beautiful. Also, my driver was working really well today. I hit 9 out of 15 fairways but most of the ones I missed were not that far oof the fairway and eight of the drives were 250 yards or longer. Wow!

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