Country Club

Featured Holes 
15th thru 18th

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Welcome to our 'Virtual Tour' in digital pictures of the 15th thru 18th holes at the Waialae Country Club and the 2014 Sony Hawaiian Open golf tournament on the PGA Tour!  In 1998 John Huston broke the 72 hole PGA Tour record held by Mike Souchak for almost 50 years prior.  The next year with Sony taking over as the sponsor, they decided to put some 'teeth' back into the old girl as today's players, equipment, and golf ball had 'outmoded' this once classic test of golf.  So this 'old beauty' is back with a new facelift and now once plays again many years younger than her age.  Actually, the final scores can be the same but how many under par is now changed (last years -12 would have been an old version -20 at a par of 72 for example since they've made two par fives into par fours, the first and thirteenth holes and turning a par 72 into a par 70 golf course.  They've also moved a lot of tees back bringing the originally designed bunkers and hazards more into play again.  Get the latest Sony Hawaiian Open golf tournament news stories here; go here for 2014 Sony Hawaiian Open Live Scoring:
Here's a view (left) of the relatively short 398 yard par four fifteenth hole at Waialae Country Club#15 at Waialae is pretty much unchanged though and the short dogleg left is played with a 3 wood off the tee and a short iron with the most difficults pins being right and back right of the green.  (Pix left is from the green looking back down the fairway).

The players must be careful when attempting to draw the ball off the tee shot to not 'over-cook' it and get it into the tough bermuda rough left off the tee shot.  The green as you can see in the picture left is run-up friendly though as most of the green on this old style golf course were originally designed that way.

The green is 38 yards deep with some good pin positions mid and back right and front and back left.  You must be careful when playing the tee shot when there is a back right pin position as the big tree in the pix left that is in the top left may obscure your second shot because of the way it overhangs there.

It's a neat old tract and we don't get to play golf courses like this much any more on tour.

The sixteenth hole is pictured (right) and has been lengthened out and is a 417 yard dogleg left par four hole.  

The players aim it out to the bunkers pictured in the left center distance of this photo (right), and must be careful to not try to 'bend' the ball too much to the left around the corner as a large banyan tree protects the hole there.  

For the long hitters it's a minimum carry of 271 yards to the fairway to 'cut the corner' off the dogleg, and 300 yards to the first bunker in the distance (right).  If they drive it successfully though it results in a more scorable short iron into the green.

The hole often plays into the wind on the second shot to a small protected (with five bunkers around) thirty five yard deep green.

The seventeenth hole is a 194 yard par three with a green that elongates to the players left with the back left protected by a bunker (located in this picture to your left in the right center of a shot taken from behind the green looking back at the tee in the distance there)

Wind is always a big factor here at Waialae with openings in almost all of the greens to accept a low running type of golf shot.  #17 green sits up a bit though and since it is a par three was designed to take an 'air shot'

You must guard against hitting it past the right hand pins (left in picture) and over into the tough bermuda rough there.  An up and down is no guarantee as it's difficult often to predict how the golf ball will come out.

Again, depending on the wind, this can be a scorable and birdiable par three hole, or a bear of a hole with a hard wind in your face and blowing left to right.  The thick bermuda grain (more relevant this year with all the rain they've had on Oahu and in Honolulu runs predominantly from the front of the green to the back (towards the southwest) and the ocean.  

The 'Featured Hole of The Week' at the 2004 Sony Hawaiian Open golf tournament on the PGA Tour, from Honolulu, Hawaii, is the par 5 551 yard par five 18th hole of the famous tournament course at Waialae Country Club. 

Here is a view of the tee shot off this very reachable in two par 5 finishing hole at the Hawaiian Open.  As you can see, the hole really doglegs around to the left giving a 'Draw', (right to left ball movement) as the optimal 'shot shape' off the tee.  Should you hit it straight out at the wide banyan tree in the distance, there is a small bunker to the right and short of that tree at 270 yards thru the fairway, and the second bunker to the left of that tree at 295 yards.  If you 'baby draw' it over the palm trees out on the left corner of this pix, you'll end up in the middle of the fairway with a reachable second shot to the green.

This first bunker to the left in this pix is a 262 yard carry from the back cut of the 18th tee.  As the hole usually plays downwind, an average pro tee shot can carry it.  The second and further bunker left and more in the middle of this pix, is 287 on the right corner and 303 for a full carry of the tee shot to clear it.  (Only the long hitters can do that, unless you're down a gale)  And if you are down a gale, it's only a 3 wood off the tee, as your object is to be in the fairway with a good lie to try to control your ball into this down grain golf hole.
One of the beauties of this golf course is that it is an old style course which was built to be walking and 'caddy' friendly.  It's almost always a short distance from the greens to the next tees and relatively flat.  The tour caddies used to work this one barefoot but that is not as common today.

However this 'flat tract' does require you to drive your golf ball straight with a lot of good 'shot values' into many of the par fours and off the tees as well.  Hit it into the snarly and tough Hawaiian bermuda rough and watch out for those flyers and being able to control your golf ball!
  When the ball sits down in it, it's hard to predict how it will come out.

In this  last picture (left) of the 18th green at Waialae you get the view looking back down the fairway from behind the 18th green there.  Here are some of the players and caddies plying their trade during a practice round on Tuesday.  #18 can be a pivotal hole here over the years and most dramatically with Isao Aoki's holed wedge to win it in 1984 to dramatically defeat Jack Renner.  

Get the latest Sony Hawaiian Open golf tournament news stories here; go here for 2014 Sony Hawaiian Open Live Scoring:

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