Monday, July 19, 2004

Playing Wolf - Golf @ the Princeville Prince Course

We set sail from Honolulu on the Pride of Aloha yesterday.  Our first stop was Kauai and that seemed like the perfect time for a round of golf.  I took a bus along with 9 other fellow cruisers from Nawiliwili up to Princeville to play the #1 course in Hawai'i (by Golf Digest) and one of the top 100 courses in the country.  I played with two guys from Texas and a very enthusiastic retiree from New Jersey named Lenny. 

I didn't get a lot of time on the range, but since this was the first round since my kuki'o debacle I was a bit nervous about how I would be playing today.  My first drive was good though, which is all the more interesting since the fairway was very tight and most of the other guys lost their tee shots.  My second shot, though, went left and was not to be seen again.  No matter, I dropped, chipped up and one putted for a double bogey.  After another double on 2, I parred three and four and was starting to feel much more relaxed. 

Around this point, one of the Texas guys suggested we play Wolf, a game where we rotate the first person to tee off, then that person gets to watch the next people tee off and pick a partner.  Then the two teams finish the hole basically playing best ball.  The teams would be re-picked on each hole by whoever was leading off and the person who tee'd off could choose to play "lone wolf" if they wanted to play their shot against the other three.  We agreed to play for a whopping $0.50 per hole.

I felt pretty popular for the rest of the day.  Whoever was picking the team always ended up picking me, and my team won the next five holes.  On the 14th hole, a 154 yard par 3 across a bunch of junk to a small green surrounded by more junk on 3 sides, I was picking teams.  I hit my shot first which was a 6 iron, but the wind pulled it a bit too left and it hit the edge of the green, then rolled off the hill into the crap.  Lenny hit his far right but into the fairway about 40 yards from the green.  I was waiting for one of the Texas guys to hit the green, but one of them went way long and right up a hill, and the other one lost his ball.  I decided to go lone wolf on this hole in hopes that I would have a good drop location just off the green and I could get up and down for a bogey.  By going lone wolf the bet was doubled.  I chipped up to about 4 feet and sank the putt.  Lenny, after hitting an awful lot of topped or fat shots over the previous few holes actually hit a pretty nice pitch shot that hit the upper lip of the greenside bunker and bounced up onto the green.  He two putted to match my bogey which then had us carry over a double. 
I doubled the next hole, which was a tight par 5 though no one did better and on 16, one of the Texans saved a par which beat my bogey and I lost all 4 points.  Dang! :)  By the end of the day, I was out just 50 cents, I would have been even if I hadn't gone lone wolf.  Of course, I would have won more if I had just gotten any pars on the back 9.  It was fun to have an extra game to think about though.  I ended up shooting 94 for the round (44 on the front, 50 on the back) and had 5 GIRs which was nice.  We played from the middle tees (still a slope of 138) and I think this helped me have fewer long irons into the greens and to hit a few more GIRs.

The views were beautiful and once again I brought my camera.  Lots of mountain and ocean views and on several holes you could see a huge waterfall in the distance.  The course itself was challenging but fair with plenty of places to bail out if you wanted to, but lots of opportunities to go for glory (I was about 15 yards from hitting a par 5 in two) and several of those Hawai'i "hit the ball a long way downhill towards the ocean" shots.  One of the holes had a tee shot that dropped 10 stories to a narrow green with mango trees along the right side.  Really fun to look at and giving you lots of options.  Very cool!

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