Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Warm-Up #3: Turtle Bay - Palmer Course

One reason I started off on this golf marathon was to create the opportunity to visit all 50 states. Julie and I have never been to Hawaii until this past Friday when we departed Chicago at 7 AM arriving in Honolulu by 2 PM. We booked hotel on Waikiki Beach which proved to be a beautiful setting, especially when you are escaping from winter in Iowa.
Some people might have started off their first full day in the sun on Waikiki Beach. We jumped in the car and drove 42 miles to the northern tip of Oahu so I could play another “practice” round of golf. Julie visited the nearby Polynesian Cultural Center. We did stop by the Dole Plantation on our drive to Turtle Bay. It was not yet open, but we were able to walk around and read some of the information posted on growing pineapples.

Round: Warm-Up #3
Location: Kahuku, HI
Golf Digest Best-In-State Rank: #11
Date: 2 Feb, tee off at 10:22 AM
Conditions: sunny skies, 10 MPH wind, 74 degrees
Yardage: 6,795
Lost balls: 6
Score: 91 on a par 72

I was paired up with three men for the round of golf. They were employed by the same health care company and were visiting Hawaii on a stag golf outing. Henry was a CFO at a hospital in Seattle, Scott operated an imaging center in Seattle (cat scans, MRI’s, endoscopic exams, etc.) and Steve operated an imaging center in Honolulu. Steve had relocated to Honolulu 5-months ago from Las Vegas; he was still trying to get used to the humidity. It was obvious Scott and Henry were old college buddies - complete with nick names for each other - Beavis & Butthead. The names were quite fitting as they harassed each other throughout the round of golf. There was a bet on the line between them that Beavis (Scott) ended up winning all of $2. Although their careers were linked to health care, these boys did not let that stop them from enjoying a couple of beers and a few good cigars. Scott even had a cigar holder so he did not have to set it on the ground when he was ready to hit the ball.

 Steve, Scott (Beavis) & Henry (Butthead)

Scott's cigar holder

I expected to see more flora and vegetation on the golf course which was not what I would have expected - but that did not translate into a lack of challenge, as evidence by the number of golf balls lost. The twists and turns of hole #11 was one example where the underbrush reached out and grabbed my ball. Hole #17 was the most memorable with an uphill drive through a myriad of sand traps, the green overlooked the shoreline with a stiff wind that only added to the challenge.

 The twists & turns of hole #11

 The uphill drive to hole #17

View of the shoreline from hole #17 green

After the round, I waited in the bag drop area for Julie to pick me. A couple drove up on a golf cart and the gentleman started to give me a hard time about the Iowa Hawkeyes. The gold Herky sewn on the side of my hat had caught his eye. The UNI Panthers hat he was wearing helped explain his comments; they were visiting Hawaii from Cedar Falls, Iowa.
The northern edge of Oahu is famous for high surf. We stopped briefly at Sunset Beach to watch a group of surfers catching some early morning waves. The news reported a surfing competition and 20’ waves at Sunset Beach on Monday morning. Maybe that is what attracted the vehicle pictured below. This surfer travels with all of his worldly possessions, including his two dogs who came out barking from underneath the van when I got too close.

A surfer dude's home???

One of the two faithful companions protecting his possessions

There were two surprises awaiting us when we stopped for an early dinner in Kahuku, on the northern shore of Oahu. Nearby shrimp farms made and the associated diners would have one believing we were driving along the Gulf Coast in Louisiana. We stopped by a place named Giovanni’s, which makes me think of deep dish Chicago pizza. The standard diner in this area is an old truck, and Giovanni’s served up their shrimp scampi and rice with flavor and ambiance. We dined in an adjacent picnic pavilion. A flea market next to the pavilion included a stand selling grilled sweet corn on the cob; the vendor found one method for recycling old surf boards.

 The original restaurant  (located too far back from the road)

This sign will get your attention

 Backside of Giovanni's restaurant

Step up & place your order for a shrimp plate

A good use for old surf boards

We completed our drive along the north shore with a stop at a farm advertising macadamia nuts. After pulling into the parking lot we could see there were actually several small shops, some of whom had already closed for the day. I walked around while Julie started to shop. An old tractor in need of a complete restoration caught my eye. As I was taking a closer look, one of the tour guides from the farm walked by and I struck up a conversation with him. His name was So’o, a native of Hawaii whose parents immigrated to Hawaii from Samoa. I was curious about the traditional Samoan tatau (tattoo) he proudly displayed on his body. The tatau’s design was selected for So’o and applied free-hand by a native Samoan artist. The artists repeatedly dips a sharpened wild boar’s tusk into ink and taps it into the skin during a lengthly ceremony. For So’o, the ceremony involved 4 men over a 10 day period: 2 men held So’o still while a 3rd man played soothing guitar music and the artist tapped away. It was painful as you would expect but So’o was following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather in keeping this old tradition alive. When I asked if this would someday put a lot of pressure on his young son So’o said that it would be his choice when that time came.

The old tractor in need of some TLC


On Sunday we drove to Hanauma Bay on the southern tip of Oahu for an early morning snorkel dive. The bay is actually the floor of a volcanic crater believed to be 35,000 years old; it is now a protected nature preserve due to the extensive coral reef and abundant sea life. We were in the water less than 5-minutes when we observed a young sea turtle feeding on the coral reef. The abundant marine life clearly visible on the reef in 2-5 feet of water was perhaps the best snorkeling we have ever experienced.

 Hanauma Bay

Swimming & fishing cove along southern Oahu coast

1 comment:

  1. It looks like you and Julie are off to a great start on your visit to Hawaii. The pictures are beautiful. Look forward to reading more about your trip.