Teeing it up

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island file

    Kade Kikuchi of Lihu‘e follows his approach shot in the final round of the Hawai‘i State Junior Golf Association 14U Junior Tour Series-Kaua‘i at Wailua Golf Course.

LIHU‘E — Princeville Makai Golf Course is one of several island golf courses that will experience a soft reopening on Tuesday after Kaua‘i County announced the reopening of golf courses.

Today, before the first day of reopening to the public, they will have a special day for their employees.

Some of the employees became victims of the COVID-19 pandemic because they were unable to retain their employment. Still, the employees they brought back will be treated to something special, and get to experience the reopening first before the course is open to the public.

“This is beautiful momentum for us, and we’ve been given the green light to reopen our business,” Princeville Makai Golf Course General Manager Doug Sutter said.

Sutter believes many people will benefit from exercising.

“I call golf a sport,” Sutter said. “You can go out and exercise, and it is is an outdoor activity that allows you and your friends to be outside and enjoying a sport together, laughing, smiling and telling stories while respecting social distancing.”

The soft open will include some restrictions for courses, according to the County of Kaua‘i’s recent announcement. Effective Saturday, the terms are that golfers will be able to reserve tee times by phone reservations only, with a group of four or less and with no walk-up reservations accepted on any course that chooses to open.

For the Princeville Makai Golf Course, the social-distancing parameters will be stricter than the social distancing recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Currently, the federal guidelines for social distancing are six feet apart. At Sutter’s golf course, they will ask patrons to have a 10-foot social-distancing requirement.

The club will have a manager at the starter area monitoring the patrons’ first tee, educating them on the strict philosophies and enforcing the new social-distance practice. Anyone who doesn’t follow it will be asked politely to leave, Sutter said.

In contrast, The Ocean Course at Hokuala will remain closed until further notice.

“We haven’t made any announcement when we will be opening,” Regional Manager for BCG Hawai‘i Melissa Dupois said. “There is a combination of reasons, and that decision was made through the facility. There are many people involved in making that decision.”


Jason Blasco, sports reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or jblasco@thegardenisland.com.

  1. Robert Lund May 4, 2020 8:49 am Reply

    Hokuala Ocean Course should cater more to locals now since the occupancy of surrounding hotels has diminished. Local golfers would play much more often if the rates were lower.

    1. LJ May 5, 2020 8:44 pm Reply

      @Robert Lund
      Thats exactly why they remain closed. No tourists mean it isn’t worth opening for us broke locals, I guess…

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