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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

ALA WAI GOLF COURSE


Ala Wai Golf Course is, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the busiest in the world, with 500 rounds/day.  Waikiki is to the right and Diamond Head in the background.  My trek up to the Diamond Head Lookout earlier this month resulted in this photo:


I like to do things in bunches, and, for example, go to 3 movies in one day.  In February of this year I golfed 198 holes at this course.

There are regular scandals for getting starting times, but our groups do it with no legal implications.  For example, telephone company employees have been caught and there have been incidents involving bribes to starters.


Speaking of scandals, a few decades ago when Frank Fasi was Honolulu Mayor, George Carter chaired a committee (on which I served) to review all the municipal courses.  I guess, though, that we failed to perfect the starting time system.  However, I mention George because it is with much sadness that I report he just passed away in California.  George was a prolific author and close friend.  He is the founder of the local Serteens organization of gifted students.  The local chapter is named:

Basically, if you have a local golf ID card, you can call the week before at 6:30AM and contend with a computer.  If you don't get in by 6:33, forget Ala Wai and move on to another course.  I've gotten times as late as 6:45 for the Pali and Makalena Golf Courses.  I think visitors can call three days before and see what's available.  Usually, nothing is.  However, I've just shown up on numerous occasions to get on a waiting list and 90% of the time walked on within half an hour, and many times at that moment of checking.

Finally, if you are 65 years old, you can purchase an $80 monthly card, which allows for 9-holes of golf twenty times, or 18 for ten.  If you walk, then this would be the equivalent of paying $5 for each  9-holes. Seniors are ticked because just six months ago the monthly card only cost $45.

Considering that it just about costs $100 at any good course around the world these days, these prices are a bargain.  Another way of looking at this is that my typical $350 hotel room would allow me to golf for more than four months here.

Of course I golfed today.  Here is the leader of our group, Ken Watanabe:


Note the double rainbow.  Ken is approaching the age of 90 and still hits a perfect drive almost every time.  He is one of my role models.  Next Tom Shibuya (behind Ken above), who is has the lowest handicap, and with his son, coaches Eddie Chiu, one of our weekend golfers, and below.


The problem with rainbows is that there is rain.  We got soaked.  But even in December, the rain was relatively warm and almost comforting.

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What a day, as the Dow Jones Industrials shot up 338 to 12,104 (almost +3%), and so did the world, with Germany and Brazil also increasing by about the same percentage.  Gold jumped $25/toz to $1624, while the WTI Cushing Spot leaped $3.34/barrel to $97/barrel and the Brent Spot is at $108/barrel.

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