Only in Hawaii: a new take on pace-of-play
Okay, I just had an interesting experience I can put under the category of ?things that happen only in Hawaii.?
I just called to get a tee time on my favorite course in the world. ?Anything open in the next couple of hours?? I asked.
?Let?s see,? said the reservationist. ?You?re American??
?Uh, yes,? I answered, not sure where she was going with this line of questioning.
?We have a 9:57 if you?d like it,? she said. ?And a 9:02, but it?s with two Japanese. I don?t know if you?d want that one.?
?Why wouldn?t I want the 9:02 again??
?Well, they?re Japanese,? she repeated. ?They might be a little slow.?
Ah, the light finally dawned. I thought the “Japanese play slow” thing was just a stereotype, kind of like the “women play slow” stereotype we have at home. Do reservationists actually try to leave Japanese twosomes as twosomes? Is this the ugly underbelly of Hawaiian golf, racial profiling on the course? Someone call the ACLU!
I play golf somewhat regularly with a Japanese friend of mine at home, and yes, she?s a little slower than average. Mainly because she?s a beginner, not because of the land of her birth. She?s acutely aware of her pace of play, though, and even has a tendency to run between shots. How many Americans do you see running on the golf course?
From what I?ve heard, if I were in Scotland, I would be the one reservationists would warn against. I can hear it now: ?Well, I have a 9:02 spot, but it?s with two Americans, and one of them’s a woman.” Click. “Hello? Hello?”
So I took the 9:02 spot. Maybe I?m risking a five-hour round, I don?t know. It?ll be interesting to find out.
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Maybe the starter didn't put it as tactfully as he should have but if you play alot of golf in Hawaii, you just come to expect that. Alot of the Japan tourist (not all) are inexperience golfers. Not unusual for them to be playing the first round of golf in their life. Probably because it's so expensive to golf in Japan.
I think they were trying to keep the twosome a twosome so as not to slow up the course.
We did end up playing with the Japanese couple, really nice people and both experienced, fast golfers. The round was painfully slow anyway, unfortunately, because of the four (American) Ben Crane types in front of us--we had to wait on every shot.
What amazes me most is that the reservationist has as much as admitted that the management team of your favorite course has given up on finding a solution for slow play.
The truth is that it is not the players that are the major cause of "Slow Play," it is management's day-to-day practices that lead to overcrowding the course that stand at the root of the problem.
They and every other course could do something about slow play, they just don't know the real causes and therefore, won't easily find the real solutions.
We in the islands have all become accustomed to really, really slow Japanese players. It manifests itself both in their deliberate play and also in such time consuming actions as leaving their carts 100 yards behind or running back numerous times for different clubs. Painstakingly slow Putting (they have no concept of waving players on) alone can add an hour to a round. They are in no hurry to end what may be the first and only round of real golf they ever play.
Of course there are many exceptions to this well earned reputation, but overall a five to six hour round is not unusual?especially at a difficult course such as Koolau or Turtle Bay if the winds are howling.
Another factor is that there are many golf tour companies focusing exclusively on these japanese tourists so it is very often the case that there are several foursomes back to back bringing in hefty sums to these courses.
That said, given that they typically pay $150-$200 a round, it is easy to see why they're not in a hurry and management are very uneasy upsetting their endless gravy train.
Please don't think that racism or bigotry is rampant in Hawaii, based on these unfortunate comments by the desk worker. As you have probably seen during your visit, the islands truly represent the melting pot of america as on any given street or place there are likely dozens of nationalities living, working and thriving together. I happen to be mixed caucasian and my five main golfing buddies are a Japanese guy, a chinese/Italian girl, a Filipino malaysian guy, a Hawaiian girl and one guy who is at least six different nationalities?a poi dog as he likes to call himself.
That said, how long are you here? I'd love to give you some ideas on where to play.
No offense taken. It was just an unusual experience worth noting. I've definitely noticed how well people seem to get along out here. And my Japanese friend at home has told me about the difficulty of playing in Japan--most people learn on those six-story ranges, and never get a chance to play on an actual course.
So tell me about your ideas on where to play? Which courses would you say are worth the big bucks, which are overhyped, and which should be avoided altogether?
The worst courses for slow play are Mililani, Pearl CC, and Hawaii Kai which all bus in loads of tourists.
If you notice, a lot of the upscale resort courses have tees about 150 yards from the hole and those are for the slowest of the slow players.
However, I've learned to read golfers, mainly through their golfspeak. If I have a couple of men who talk the talk and otherwise appear to be players and want to play at 8:00 am. And I have Jane Dawdle and her friend going off at 8:00 am. I tell the men,"If you like you can join the Ms Dawdle twosome at 8:00, or I have an opening at 8:30 with the Yamaguchi twosome."
Beyond my booking duties, I feel I have an obligation to maximize the golfing experience of all my guests. While the majority aren't concerned with who they play with, there are others with preferences. I try to accommodate them all.
we are going to hawaii next feb, probably to maui
where should we stay / play ?
p.s. we like to play in under 4 hours but will put up with a longer round as it gets us out of winter!