Hawaii's 18 ‘O'S
Golf Asia|December 2020
With A Cheeky Dig At The TV Series, Two Friends Hit The Land Of White, Sandy Beaches And The Pina Colada For Some 18 ‘O’s Golf
Benny Teo

I am standing on the shore in front of the biggest waves I have ever seen in my life, waves that tower like a huge moving, shimmering translucent wall. Breaking dangerously close to the beach, no power on Earth could move me to get into the water; anyone who goes in would be swept out to sea and drown.

“Let’s go! The water’s perfect!” I yell as I plunge into the churning, foaming water. For a traveller used to seeing the calm, almost dead waters around Singapore, Hawaii is a real eye opener. But it is not just the waves of the North Shore on Oahu Island that makes Hawaii different, it is truly one special place.

This is an island of activity. Whether you’re learning to surf along the crowded bikini-clad beaches of Waikiki, hiking through the rich rainforests of Waimea Valley, or watching the brilliant pastels of dusk fade off of Sunset Beach, you’ll find variety at every turn on Oahu.

Pearl Harbor and Waikiki

On the day we visited Pearl Harbour, the rain was a sober reminder to the site of the Japanese attack on the naval warships stationed in Hawaii, the act that triggered the United States official entry into World War Two. The memorial sits on top the battleship USS Arizona, still visible in the shallows where Japanese warplanes attacked and sank it on December 7, 1941.

With a bit of creative planning, we scheduled our trip to cover a weekend in Honolulu with the sole intention of experiencing what the great state of Hawaii can offer in terms of nightlife.

The boutique hotel we are staying at, the Aqua Surf and Spa, is within the main tourist strip that is downtown Waikiki and the gorgeous beach a little farther down.

Main street here is a lively stretch, with buskers touting their brand of entertainment to the masses as we strolled around looking for grub and ended up with a local favourite, luncheon meat on rice with two eggs sunny side up.

Modern cuisine of Hawaii is a fusion of many cultures, particularly of American, Chinese, Japanese and Polynesian influences. Local restaurants serve a lunch plate featuring two scoops of rice, simplified macaroni salad, with toppings ranging from a hamburger patty to spam, a fried egg, and brown gravy. Known as a Loco Moko, it is like what fried rice is to us.

Golfing, Finally

When the time came for golf, the first we headed to was Pearl course at Pearl Country Club. Designed back in 1967 by Japanese golf architect Akira Sato, recent history tells us it is also the unofficial home course to the state’s most famous golfing export, Michelle Wie.

This course has stood the test of time in terms of its layout and playability. A public course with reasonable rates (USD75 - weekday and USD85 - weekend) the condition is well kept and resembles that of a private club.

Graced with stately trees, this beautiful layout challenges all golfers with its elevated terrain, undulating fairways and winds. It also overlooks Pearl Harbor, the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Missouri, and the Waianae Mountain Range to the west.

I took a moment to take in the sights and remember the WWII vets whose names I’ve seen gracing the various memorials before hitting my first tee shot down the par 72, 6,787-yard course.

A fair play that allows for aggressiveness off the tee, this is a course that suits my eye. With wide valley-like fairways that help slightly straying flights and well-spaced trees that lets you find your golf ball and hit it, the Pearl course is certainly a good start to any vacation round on the island of Oahu.

Formerly operated by Kamehameha Golf Course and Restaurant, they have changed management since November 1, 2020 to Antares Gold Management.

Another public course that is reputable and a smidgen more evolved than Pearl Country Club is Kapolei Golf Course, located just 11.5 miles west of Pearl Harbor. Its location is also known as the golfing centre of Honolulu with three other courses – Hawaii Prince Golf Club, Barbers Point Golf Course and Hoakalei Country Club - literally at each other’s doorstep.

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