Sand traps to trap less

In about six months, the Puakea Golf Course’s bunkers will be filled with a new type of sand that should improve golfers’ games.

“It’s a finer, softer sand, so it should be much easier to get the ball out,” Puakea director of golf Paul Ito said.

The G3 Silica sand was shipped from China and sits in the back end of the parking lot of the course.

“It got here a week and a half ago. We’re probably going to be starting the project by the end of this week. We’re pretty much caught up with all the rain,” Ito said.

According to Ito, the project is expected to not interfere with normal golf course play.

“We’ll probably do 4-8 bunkers at a time. It’s a continuous process that takes about six months to get done, so around October, November, depending on weather,” Ito said.

The Wailua Golf Course and Kaua’i Lagoons received some of the sand in the same shipment, but not nearly the amount Puakea accepted.

The 3,600 tons of sand replaces sediment from around the island, but mostly from the Grove Farm quarry.

“The big reason for the change was playability. The old bunkers were not lined when they were built,” Ito said.

“We didn’t have very good bunkers here for awhile. We just needed to put out a better product,” he continued.

Puakea’s sister courses on Maui, Ka’anapali and Kapalua have already revamped their sand traps and fielded nothing but great responses.

“We did a lot of research and consulted with our sister courses. We were not looking to reinvent the wheel. It turned out very good for their courses,” Ito said.

Ito also received inquiries about purchasing some of the new sand, but every amount of it will be utilized.

“We lock the gate and we’re watching it. It is something we’re concerned about. It’s a fairly valuable commodity,” Ito said.

Puakea won’t be offsetting the cost of the sand with higher rates.

“Rates in ’06 won’t change. We also still have a lot of pending plans. They’re looking to do some major changes to (holes) 9 and 10, the driving range, the parking lot, and more,” Ito said.

Also, a survey was sent out to gauge some interest in having some sort of private club at Puakea, which would incorporate social dining, tennis, swimming, along with access to the to the golf course.

“The plans haven’t been finalized, but that’s certainly an option,” Ito said.

For more information on the Puakea Golf Course, call 245-8756 or check out their Web site at www.puakeagolf.com.

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