Saturday, July 31, 2004

Plateau Member/Guest Tournament day 3

It all comes down to this. Two more rounds to see who wins our flight.

In case you're in a hurry -- we didn't.

Before we started, Kevin and I talked a bit about our game plan. First was to look at putts more carefully. We lost too many strokes on Friday by not looking from both sides and hitting something that went flying by that was obvious with a bit more inspection. Second, we would try to be more cautious if the first person to hit got in trouble. Just make sure we have one ball in play. This was after terrible performance on 18 the day before.

Our first match today (the fourth of the tournament for us) started on the 9th hole at the Plateau and then looped around to 1 to do the front 9. For some reason today, we just couldn't get it going. Consistently bad shots off the tee kept us from getting into scoring position, or wasted shots to penalties or recovery shots. Even when we tried to be more careful off the tee, we were both pushing the ball or hitting uncharacteristically crappy shots. There were a lot of places where we could have won the hole, or at least halved them, but we just didn't get it done.

Today, all of the par 3s had prizes of some sort for hole in ones. On 4, where Rick got his second ace a few weeks ago, the price was a string of pearls worth nearly $30,000. I had been consistently coming up short all morning long so I figured that I was tired and I should take a longer club here to try to get to the hole. Instead of my 6i, which is pretty standard for a 160 yard shot (it was 163 to the hole) I took my 5i. I took a deep breath and looked at my target, then let it fly. Hit that thing pure, a bit left and watched it bounce next to the wall, then roll past the green and across the cart path. It turns out that this is out of bounds. Huh. I didn't know that, guess I've never done that before. I went back to the 6i and hit my second shot (ok, third) and it flew just left, bounced just before the wall, then up over the wall onto the green and rolled just inches past the hole, stopping about 6 feet away. The person watching the hole for aces said "you know, if it went in, it still wouldn't have counted." Yeah. I know.

We ended up with only 2.5 points on this round which is a shame. Our opponents were playing pretty well, and there were at least two holes that they clearly won with a net eagle putt on 1 and a birdie putt on 4 but beyond that, we could have won any of the other holes if we were hitting the ball like we were yesterday.

Our final round was against the team that was leading our flight. Even with our bad first round, if we beat them on 6 holes, we would take the lead. We didn't do this math before hand, perhaps it would have been good if we did. Our tee shots continued to be ass for this round though. I once again pulled my tee shot on 18 (our first hole) into the trees on the left. I topped and pulled my tee shot on 11 into the trees as well. 12 was left in the bunker. 13 was pushed to the right of the fairway. 14 was sliced into the woods and it took me 3 to get out (I should have dropped). Even with all of this badness, we were still halving holes because our opponents were sucking just as bad off the tees. They managed to win a couple of holes outright, though and it felt like we were behind the whole time. We agreed we had halved 14 with 5s when they counted up Kevin's shots and said he had 6. We thought about it and agreed and thought we had lost that hole too. Then, on our way down to the green on 15 I thought about it and realized that they both had 6s as well. They weren't trying to pull a fast one, we were all just spacing it. Kevin and I won 15 by actually hitting the green. We were down 4-3 with two holes to go. We still had a chance at winning the match.

Then on 16, I hit a low pull fade into the junk, dropped and hit my third into there as well. I was pretty much out of it. Kevin sliced his tee shot and then had trouble getting up to the green. We pretty much fell apart and one of our opponents, who received a stroke on this hole, hit a perfect driver / 3 wood combination to be on the green in 2. We had to concede the hole and with it, the match.

On 17, I finally hit a good drive. Straight, high and on the left half of the fairway. Then a perfect 3 wood to about 60 yards. Both Kevin and our opponents lost balls on this hole so I was looking pretty good lying 2 at 60 yards while they were all lying 5 short of the green. I took my lob wedge and hit a perfect lob which hit the front of the green and rolled to 4 feet below the hole. I made the putt for a birdie and the match was over. We had 4 points and they won the match and the flight. We were exhausted, but finishing with a birdie on 17 was nice -- it was the Golf Gods' way of saying "Thanks for playing -- come back again."

As I am writing this, I am racking my brain trying to remember how specific holes went. The tough thing about a tournament like this is that I am looking at everyone's shots, trying to count how many strokes everyone has taken, really focusing on putts and how they will break (both mine and Kevin's). And on days like today, trying to figure out what will work (but not trying to fix anything) and just trying to stay focused and not worry about all of the other games going on. At the end of the day, it all becomes a blur. Where did my tee shot on 13 go? I don't remember, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't good. Or was that yesterday? I think that in general, my iron shots were good today and most of my trouble was off the tee but I could be glossing over a lot of stuff. I also think I made a couple of nice long putts to push some holes -- but that might have been yesterday too :)

We ended up with 25.5 points out of a possible 50. That means that we won more than we lost - but just barely. We were third in our flight. We certainly didn't embarrass ourselves and we had a good time. Better luck next year.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Plateau Member/Guest Tournament day 2

Today the real matches begin. We had three matches scheduled for today and two for tomorrow. Each of them are nine hole matches where you get one point for winning the hole or 1/2 point if you push. The team who wins the match gets an extra point (which is also split if the match is a push) for a total of 10 points per match. Add up your score over the 5 matches and you have your score within your flight of teams. The winner of each of 11 flights compete in another horse race to determine the overall winner of the tournament.

Our first match was on the back 9. We started out halving the first hole, then losing the next two holes. Not good, but it is early and there is a lot of golf to be played. In other tournaments, I noticed that momentum has a way of switching slowly. Rarely do you win one hole, then lose the next one. Usually there is a transition hole where the teams push. Today fit that rule with only one exception. On 13 we pushed and then we started winning the holes. On 15 Kevin and I both got across the junk on our tee shots while our opponents both dropped into it. We halved two more holes and won the other ones to win the match and the bonus point. Total points for this match: 6.5

The second match started about 30 minutes later, this time on the front 9. Kevin hit a great drive but I pushed my drive to the right and was in some trees and decided to try to punch it down the fairway. I pulled the shot, though, hit a tree dead in the middle and watched as the ball rolled 20 yards back up the fairway towards the tees. hah! Not much I could do but laugh about that. Kevin hit a great second shot though and was lying 3 about 6 feet from the hole. Then he three putted and we halved the hole. Ick. On then next hole, our opponent 4 putted to lose the hole. Not pretty golf by either team so far. It did get better though. On 7, I pulled my tee shot a bit, but it made it across safely, hit a great 9 iron bump shot to about 2 feet and sank it for par. Kevin nailed his drive on 8 to the bottom of the hill. On 9, we ended up with 3 net birdies (2 naturals) to push the hole. Nice putting that time from everyone. Total points for this match: 6.5

By the third match, I was getting pretty tired. Our opponents had been having a bad day and were drinking by this point. A lot. Let's just say that everyone's golf got pretty sloppy this time. My tee shot on 11 was left and it was right behind a tree. I mean touching it at the base. I it an interesting backwards shot to get it over towards the fairway but on my next shot I hit it right into the woods. Here is the interesting part. This was the first ball I lost all day. It wasn't until my 20th hole of the day. That has to be some sort of record for me at the Plateau Club :) We won several holes in a row though, most notably 15 (again) where I hit a great shot which landed 3 feet in front of the cup and rolled about 10 feet left. I two putted for par -- well, I would have except Kevin got his par and I didn't need to go any further :) We were up with 5 points heading to 18 when Kevin and I both blew up. I pulled my drive left into the trees. Then Kevin did the same -- twice. I took a drop and hit two more crappy shots and was lying 4 still sitting at the bunker. Kevin hit his next shot across the fairway into the trees. We ended up losing the last hole but still coming away with 6 points.

So now we have a total of 19 points after winning all three matches. There is one team ahead of us in our flight with 21 points after three wins. They are our second match tomorrow.

I am really happy with how we played today. I never thought we would win three matches overall, let alone all three on the first day. Who knows what will happen tomorrow. The odds are against us winning so I'm not going to worry about that. Having already exceeded my expectations, we'll just be out there to have fun.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Plateau Member/Guest Tournament day 1

Kevin and I are playing in the Member/Guest tournament at the Plateau Club this week. This is really the thing that I have been working towards all summer. It started today with a practice round/skins game and then a horse race.

We checked in and got our great swag bag. New Footjoy shoes, a box of Pro V1s, a nice polo shirt, baseball cap, new glove -- even a shoe horn! Good stuff! Kevin and I headed out for our practice round. Practice round is a strange name for it though. Since this was also the skins game, they set the course up very differently from how it will play for the actual tournament. Some holes are playing from tees that are much farther back and the holes are cut in very difficult locations. Nice for a skins game, but it doesn't really let the guests practice for what the tournament will be like. The play was slow and after 4 hours, we had only gotten to hole 14 and the horse race was about to start so we bailed early. So much for practice :)

The horse race is great fun. For those who don't know, it works like this. The entire field is broken into 3 groups of 20 teams. Each of those groups heads to one of the holes. We started on 8. One person from each team tees off in order until there are 20 balls out in or near the fairway. Then we switch players for each subsequent shot until everyone is on the green. Then everyone putts from the inside out, again alternating players, until everyone has holed their putt. At the end of the first hole, they cut 1/2 of the teams with the highest score and we move to the next hole.

Kevin tee'd off on 8 and pulled it so it was sitting past the bunker on the left, but blocked out from a shot to the green. The lie looked worse than it really was but we got lots of sympathy from other players as they saw it on the way to their ball. I guess you could call it sympathy. Sometimes it sounded like laughing. I hit a good punch shot down the hill so the ball was sitting about 50 yards from the green. Kevin hit a great pitch onto the green to about 12 feet. We ended up two putting for a bogie. Not bad. Problem is that after all was said and done, six teams had better than bogie, and eight teams had worse, but only 10 teams could advance so we had a chip off to decide which four of the bogie teams would advance.

I elected to do the chip and had to stand off the right side of the green with my back to the green so I couldn't see how everyone elses chips went. More so that I couldn't see how it breaks than to not see where they ended up. From the right side of the green, a chip is very likely to roll all the way across to the rough on the other side and it sounded like a few people met this fate. I was the last one to chip and I was determined to not get caught too short or too long. I hit it pretty softly and let it roll, it rolled a bit more to the left than I wanted but it stopped short of the hole and did not roll past. They called the 3 closest chips (all short of the hole) and said they moved on and were ready to call one of the ones next to the rough when I stepped off my ball (13 feet from the hole) and then walked the same distance toward the rough and showed the judges that I was at least 2 feet closer than the ones at the fringe. They agreed and we moved on to the next hole. Yes!

On the next hole, we got a stroke since due to our team handicap. I tee'd off and was right of the fairway. Kevin hit a good second shot and I layed up to about 90 feet. Kevin then hit a great approach over the junk and we were about 8 feet from the hole lying 4. Yeah! The putting was not nearly as good though. I hit it a bit hard and it went about four feet past the hole (had I taken the time to look at it from the other side, I would have noticed it was much more downhill than I thought). Kevin missed the comeback by mere inches and I tapped in for a 7 net 6. 6 was the playoff line to get down from 10 teams to 5. Time for another chip off. This time Kevin did the chipping and he hit it pretty well. Of the five teams chipping, we were the third closest, but there was only room for two teams so that was the end of our horse race. I figure we came in 6th, but nothing lower than 3rd counts so there ya go :)

Tomorrow is the start of the match play rounds. Five rounds of nine holes each against different teams in our handicap range. Should be fun.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Navy Helicopter Airlifts Injured Divers From Cruise Ship

Navy Helicopter Airlifts Injured Divers From Cruise Ship

Coast Guard Investigating Diving Incident

A couple of stories about the rescue at sea mentioned below. Still no info on the people who were rescued.


Zach, Kate and I Snuba diving. Snuba is a blend between scuba and snorkeling. We are breathing using the same aparatus as in scuba but connected via a hose to the tank on a raft 20 feet above. It took a bit of time to get used to it, but it was really fun!

Kate with a pencil coral during our snuba dive.

Practice Rounds @ The Plateau Club

Back home.  The Plateau Member/Guest tournament starts tomorrow and goes through Saturday so I wanted to practice some and get used to playing some non-resort golf again.  I played 18 holes yesterday and the front 9 twice today (once with Zach, and once with Paul and his dad).  

Here are my thoughts in preparation for this weekend:
  • Focus.  Pick my targets and focus on hitting the ball to that target
  • Relax and take the club back slowly.  For the last couple of days, I was rushing my swing and all sorts of bad things were happening.  I think the same thing happened at kuki'o.  When I get excited or nervous, I speed up and get out of sync. 
  • Have fun.  This game sucks when you are not enjoying it.  Enjoy the good shots, laugh at the bad ones.  I'll be playing with Kevin this weekend so that should make it more fun from the get go.

It is a best ball match play, one of my favorite formats since each hole is a new game and there are two of you to get the job done.

It should be fun!

Monday, July 26, 2004

Back home!

We are  back home from Hawaii.  Finally! It was a great trip but three weeks is a long time to be gone from home. 

Lots more stories to tell.  Leslie has a couple of them on her website too.  More pictures to come too.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Do you know what is big?

Do you know what is really big? The Kilauea caldera. You know what else is really big? This picture. It is a 14136x1932 panorama. If you look closely (and you can) you can see sulphur deposits on the side of the caldera. Cool!

Friday, July 23, 2004

Family Affair - Golf @ Wailea Emerald Course

Kate and Zach joined me today for a round at the Wailea Emerald course.  Since the course wouldn't let us put 3 people in a cart, Zach rode with one of the other members of our foursome from the ship and Kate rode with me.

Let me say this: I still love resort golf courses :)  Wide fairways that even if you miss them, you still have a chance to save par.   Sure, I'm supposed to be able to just hit it right down the middle of the fairway each time but it sure makes the game more enjoyable when I can miss it by a bit (or a bit more) and still have a chance to make a cool recovery shot rather than dropping near lava rocks.

Today, though, it didn't matter so much.  I was hitting the ball really well both from the tee and in and near the fairway.  I hit 9 greens in regulation and was only 4 over after nine holes.   It was a great feeling to be able to pick out a target and have the ball actually fly straight towards that spot.

After a couple holes, Kate decided that she wanted to be my caddie for the rest of the round.  She said she would get me the right club and keep an eye out for my ball.  She did a great job!  I told her that I hit my 6 iron about 160 yards and that each club was about a 10 yard offset from that.  With that info, she started making good club recommendations and getting them ready for me.  She would run ahead and "check for the swoosh" to identify my ball.  She even started naming my clubs.  My driver's name is now Melrose, my putter's name is Ben and my 9 iron's name is "The Guy".  Kate has never shown an interest in golf before, so it was really great to have her participating in my round.

By the 16th hole, I hadn't had a par for about 5 holes.  I was due.  The 16th is a 147 yard par 3.  As I walked up to the tee, I told Kate "This shot is going to be so close to the hole, that you are going to wonder how it didn't fall in".  I hit my shot, it flew straight as an arrow, landed just short of the hole and rolled to about 12 inches.  I turned and smiled.  She was excited.  It was a great moment :)  I tapped it in for birdie and followed it with another par.

Zach had fun too riding with another player -- a young guy who hadn't played very much yet, but had some pretty good shots.  After a few holes, Zach was giving him some pointers and I heard them laughing several times throughout the round.

I ended up shooting a 40 front and 43 back for a total of an 83.  A great final round for this trip.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Princeville Prince Course - Amazing views of mountains, waterfalls, and the ocean.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Rescue helicopter coming alongside our ship

Rescue at sea!

OK, so this isn't even related to golf!

We were sailing along the coast of Kauai today, and I was taking pictures of the shoreline.  I noticed that we were starting to make a hard turn to port (left) and I wondered if we were making a U-turn to take another pass along the cliffs.  Having taken a ton of pictures already, I started heading back to my room when someone someone made an ominous announcement over the PA.  "Code Alpha to the Medical Center - Code Alpha to the Medical Center."  

That can't be good.

I decided to stay away figuring that someone was clearly very sick and I didn't want to get in the way.  As best as I can piece together, it turns out, that some people had been diving off of a catamaran when a speed boat came by and hit at least one of the divers, seriously injuring him.  The catamaran made a mayday call and our ship responded (hence the hard turn).  The catamaran came alongside and unloaded two injured people and they were treated at our medical center. 

I was standing on the front deck hearing about this from someone who watched the unloading happen about 45 minutes earlier when we saw a helicopter coming in.  The Navy helicopter came alongside the ship, made a few passes and came in behind our smokestacks, hovering about 30 feet off of the upper deck.   The process of unloading someone from the helicopter, picking up two injured people in a stretcher and a basket, then retrieving the crewman and what looked like someone from the crew of our ship took about 25 minutes.   Hats off to the crew of the helicopter who did an amazing job of hovering over the deck for that long while rescuing the injured people and to the crew of the Pride of Aloha for responding to these people in distress, treating them and getting them safely aboard the helicopter.  A very impressive show.

Hoisting one of the injured people

Many onlookers recording the event

The crowd cheers a job well done.

Amazing views of the Kauai coast

The captain of the ship came over the PA system to tell us that we would soon be going by some amazing shorline views along the port side of the ship. He was right. This waterfall is at the bottom of a huge cliff. Magnificent views!

More views from the Pride of Aloha along the Kauai shoreline

Monday, July 19, 2004

Princeville Prince Course - Amazing views of mountains, waterfalls and the ocean

Princeville Price Course -- 10 story drop to the fairway below

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!

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

The Pride of Aloha - This is the ship we are taking next week. We saw it today from our helicopter trip.

Hot magma from Mauna Kea in Hawaii!

Our helicopter from today's trip

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Dolphins leaping at Waikoloa Hawaii. There are a whole bunch of them in this lagoon as part of DolphinQuest.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Eruption - Golf at Kuki'o

Leslie's cousin Holly is married to Casey.

While that alone is an interesting post, I'll continue. Casey is the director of golf at Kuki'o, a private course on the big island of Hawai'i and I was really looking forward to playing there. Casey's 9 year old son Mack (quite the golfer himself), Casey and I headed out this afternoon for a round there and it was quite remarkable! First, the course is beautiful, ambling up and down the hillsides just north of Kona with fantastic ocean views and daunting lava rock formations bordering most of the holes. There is usually some space when you miss the fairway, but if you go into what would usually be the longer grass or trees, you can kiss your ball goodbye (unless Pele is in a good mood -- and she wasn't).

I should mention that the last time I played with Casey, it was about a little under a year after I started playing golf. He was working at Rancho San Marcos near Ojai, CA and I played, perhaps my worst 9 holes ever. When we arrived at the range today, I couldn't hit anything. 80% of my shots was fat, or shanked or topped. Hmmm... We headed to the first tee, and I hit a nice drive down the middle and ended up getting a par on the first hole. Phew! The second hole was a par 5 and I chipped up pretty close to the hole on my 4th shot and ended up getting my second par. Wow!

I should have stopped there.

On the third hole, I hit into a greenside bunker and it took me two shots to get out. I ended up with a triple. Yick. On the next hole, my tee shot hooked into the lava rocks. At the Waikoloa course, lava rocks were lateral and I could go drop up where it went out, but it seems that Kuki'o treats them as OB so I had to hit another one. Another two shots from a bunker and I had a quad.

The day continued more like the second two holes than the first two. Hitting way too many shots into bunkers and even more shots not getting out of them. Also, losing too many balls into the lava. The net score was 110 which is my worst score in well over a year. My putting was pretty good, though with several one putts and only one three putt.
I suspect I would have done better if I had played from one of the shorter tee boxes. There are 5 sets of tees, Mamao -- or really freakin' long -- and I through IV. We played from the I tees and I had a ton of long shots into greens and when I missed them in any direction, I got into big trouble. The course was beautiful, though, and in great condition and I really appreciate Casey letting me play there!

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Lava Rocks - Golf @ Waikoloa Beach Course

I'm a bit behind writing the summaries, and the farther I get from the round, the fewer details I remember. The Waikoloa Beach course is a resort course sitting down near the ocean just north of Kona on the big island of Hawaii. Lots of lava rocks all around, in fact, most of the area is built up on top of lava flows from the nearby volcanos Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. I headed out for an early tee time and was paired with another resort guest. The Championship tees were only about 6600 yards so we decided to go from back there. This ended up only being an issue on the par 3s.

I was trying to think similarly to my second front 9 at Makena and it worked pretty well. Have a bit more confidence in my shotmaking, pick out a good target and let the swing happen. On the front 9, I was playing about average, shooting a 45. The most memorable hole was the par 3 seventh hole which was pretty much all carry 205 yards over water. There isn't much you can do when your swing thought is "How about I just take the penalty stroke and go to the drop area -- but save the ball?" I took my 3 wood and pulled it a bit. It carried a good 180, but ended up plopping in the water short of the green.

On the back 9, I started slow with 2 doubles, but then I got going and had a string of 5 pars in a row. Then I came to the 17th, another long par 3 with lava rocks around the edges. I hit the tee shot into the lava and it was kind of fun to watch. The rocks are very jagged so when a ball hit in there, it will bounce hard, but in a very unpredictable direction. It ends up bouncing about 5 times in all different directions, but then it fell down somewhere deep in the rocks. Someone mentioned that the Hawaiian volcano god Pele likes to take golf balls and play with them. Pele had fun :)

I ended the round with an 88 which given the slope was one of my better rounds over the last few months. Little did I know what was in store for my next round....

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Replay - Golf @ Makena South Course

Makena is right next to Wailea, so I didn't need to get up quite as early for this round, which was very nice. I joined another three golfers, a single who was pretty similar to me in skill level and a twosome including a middle aged guy and his mother. Play along the front nine was reeeeaallly slow and the long delays really messed with my play. I was slicing my driver, pulling irons, and leaving approach shots really short. I just never got into a groove and by the end of the front 9, I was at 53.

For the back nine, we broke into 2 twosomes and it got a lot better. First, I stopped using my driver and just hit my 3 and I started hitting the fairways again. My putter also got much hotter on the back 9 where I had 15 putts.

On 13, I hit a 154 yard shot that bounced just short of the hole and rolled to about 1/2 inch from the hole. One more turn and it would have been in the hole. One More Turn.

So after a 53 on the front 9, I had a 46 on the back for a 99, but I wasn't ready to call it a day yet. I started over again on the front 9 playing by myself.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Stunning Views - Golf @ The Challenge at Manele

Zach joined me for this round, we left around 5:45 am to catch the 6:45 ferry from Maui to Lanai. We arrived around 7:30 and took the shuttle up to the course. Tony told me that this was the most beautiful course he had ever played and I am inclined to agree (though Pebble Beach is definitely up there though).

Zach and I took a ton of pictures (which I will post soon) and I think the views distracted me on my longer shots. Yeah. That's it. The beautiful views messed up my drives and iron shots. My putter, however, was working really well. I one putted on the first two holes and then I putted in from off the green on the third hole for a birdie. I had 9 one putts for the round and a total of 27 putts! I had 5 penalty shots though, and I had the most difficulty on the dramatic tee shots across deep ocean chasms. I think I was trying to hit the ball too hard to make sure it got across and I would just slice it either into the junk, or into the ocean. Some fish is having fun with my ball today though.

I had one nice 283 yard drive but everything else was in the 200 yard range. Playing from the back tees made this course much longer. I ended up with a 95 and was feeling a bit frustrated with some of my shots but the views were totally worth it. If you ever get to Maui, you should definitely make the trip over to Lanai for this course.

Teeing off across the abyss at the Challege at Menele

The Challenge At Manele

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Fireworks on the beach on Maui

Kate at the Grand Wailea on the 4th of July

Wipe Out! I like the arms in the wave below the board :)

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!

The 17th hole at Kapalua. Sometimes it is tough to tee off -- when you are too busy looking at the view