I doubt the dead Hawaiians can hear the golfers yell, but their spirits may have something to say about all the errant balls landing on their final resting place in Po‘ipu.
What may be entertaining to some on a Sunday morning is downright disrespectful to the host culture.
The state has labeled numerous archaeological sites near Joe’s on the Green and Hapa Road. Educational signs — although incredibly bland — mark some of the dwellings and farms used by a community of Native Hawaiians several centuries ago.
Strolling along the interpretive path reveals carefully crafted rock walls that have literally stood the test of time. But strewn throughout these historic structures are Titlelists, Callaways and Slazengers from the nearby golf course.
This regrettable state of affairs should be rectified at once, but I’ve lived here long enough to recognize that as wishful thinking. In a state that requires so little from developers as far as their obligations toward iwi and artifacts are concerned, I can’t say I was surprised to see these ancient sites in less than pristine condition.
When did our values change to the point where we now prioritize the preservation of putting over a people’s connection to their past?
We can enjoy ourselves in a wide variety of ways that don’t involve wrecking irreplaceable relics. These links lovers should embrace the history here and demonstrate that commitment by keeping their balls on the greens.
I have no doubt the Hawaiians of old would frown at the utter waste of water and land that building and maintaining a golf course entails. In a culture that so appropriately prized its natural resources, I imagine 18 holes across hundreds of acres — solely for the recreation of an exclusive few — to be an unfathomable concept.
It may be too late to undo the course itself, but we can commingle better. Let’s tee up a renewed sense of respect for those who came before us.
Or maybe the spirits have already responded to the irreverence; construction sure seems slow on the South Shore.