Posts Tagged ‘golf’

Better Than Any Day at the Office

Posted: June 30, 2013 by Nathan Kam in Oahu
Tags: , , ,

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As the saying goes, a day on the golf course is better than any day at the office. In this case, it was a round at New Ewa Beach Golf Course. Lucky we live Hawaii!

-NGK

Sure it might take you six long hours to play 18 holes at Pali Golf Course, but with a view like this on the 18th hole at sunset, it’s all worth it. Sometimes. ;-)


Hacking it around on Kaanapali’s Royal Course with my cousin Grant and brothers-in-law Kevin and Jon. Mahalo to Melissa Ludwig for snapping this photo.

If there’s one thing I wish I had more time to do these days, it’s golf! Getting out to play once a month is a major accomplishment, so when the opportunity to play arises, I try to make the most of it. As was the case during our recent family vacation to The Valley Isle. We had one free day to hit the links so we headed to Kaanapali Golf Resort’s Royal Course for some fun in the West Maui sun.

My friends Ed Kageyama (Kaanapali’s General Manager) and Melissa Ludwig (Kaanapali’s marketing manager) were kind enough to host my family and me for the round. This was everyone’s first time playing the Royal Course – also the home of the Wendy’s Champions Skins Game in January - so were were quite excited to tee off at 7:30 a.m. And needless to say, we had a great time. Heck, I even somehow managed to shoot a sneaky 79 (thank goodness for par 71 courses). All around great day enjoyed by all.

What follows is my five reasons you should tee it up at Kaanapali’s Royal Course.  Here we go…

NO. 1 – FRIENDLY STAFF AND FUN COURSE

The first thing I noticed upon arriving at the course was the staff’s warm, welcoming spirit. It wasn’t forced. It was more like being greeted by your uncles and friends….like coming home. We had fun talking story with the cart guys about things back on Oahu, they shared tips on playing the course, and Assistant Head Pro David Havens even found a stiff shaft, 8 degree driver for me to use for the round. Sweet!

The course itself is a fun track. We decided to play the white tees since the skill level of our foursome was all over the place. Generous fairways, not much water hazards, and not all that long to be honest. But you know short holes can be deceiving and the ones here need to be handled with care or else a big score lurks on a 340-yard par-4. There are some good elevation changes on this course too, which makes a solid second shot and distance control important…two things I’m not always the best with. But as expected, the course was in perfect condition…hardly a weed in the fairway and beautiful, fast, and true greens. Keeping your ball in the fairways is key as the rough, albeit not that tall, is still penal.

NO. 2 – GPS IN THE GOLF CART

It goes without saying that one of the most helpful pieces of information any golfer can have on the course is an accurate yardage from tee to green. If you’re like me, half the time your playing your second shot from the rough…on the other fairway or nowhere near a yardage marker…which can make getting an accurate distance tough. Well, not at Kaanapali. All golf carts are equipped with state-of-the-art GPS systems that give you all the yardages you need to know, enables you to keep score, and keeps your foursome on schedule by letting know how far ahead or behind your group is. Awesome!


The No. 5 hole on Kaanapali’s Royal Course. Challenging par-4 to a narrow green by the ocean. 

NO. 3 – BONDING TIME

One of the main reasons I don’t play a lot of golf these days is because of the time commitment. Days can get long when you take into consideration time to get to the course, the actual round, then the usual 19th hole shenanigans. But, when I do get out there, I’m quickly reminded how that quality time on a golf course can really be an incredible bonding experience for family, friends, and colleagues. There’s tons of time to talk story and you really learn a lot about someone’s character out there. Bottom line…it’s worth the time investment as long as you’re playing with the right foursome. ;-)


The No. 10 hole is a downhill par-4 through a treelined fairway. Beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean!

NO. 4 – FOOD AND BEVERAGE CARTS ARE AWESOME!

One of the things you don’t see at too many golf courses anymore are the food and beverage carts circling the course throughout the day…bring happy golfers snacks, food, and BEER! So when the cart girl came upon our group at Kaanapali with refreshments, we had no choice but to patronize…twice during our round. That’s all I’m going to say about that. LOL! But the convenience of having the beverage cart come to you during your round is a service I wish more courses would offer.


The No. 18 finishing hole on the Royal Course is beautifully challenging with water all the way down the right. Solid drive and second shot required! 

NO. 5 – FOUR HOUR ROUNDS ROCK!!

Nothing beats a four hour round of golf where the pace is brisk and not rushed. No waiting for the group in front to tee off on every…single…hole…like is the case at many of Hawaii’s municipal and public golf courses. I’m the kind of golfer who appreciates an efficient round and my scores reflect that. My family and I enjoyed a round in just a little over four hours. We probably could have finished faster, but we wanted to take it all in. This gave us plenty of time to do our guy thing in the morning, before catching up with family and friends at lunch and having the other half of the day to explore Maui. While you may pay a little more to play a resort course, it’s worth it if you value time. I’ll take a four hour round over a six hour round any day!

So there you have it. My two cents on why you might consider a round of golf at Kaanapali’s Royal Course. You’re probably thinking this can apply to any resort course in Hawaii…and you’re probably right.

The takeaway: Get out, tee it up, and enjoy the 80+ golf courses Hawaii has to offer. Some of the best golf you’ll play anywhere in the world. But don’t take my word for it. Check it our yourself!

I’d love to hear your Hawaii golf stories too, so feel free to share them here. In the meantime, keep ‘em in the short grass!

-NGK

It’s been quite some time since my last blog post. I blame it on work, quality family time, and the pending arrival of our second child any day now. Exciting stuff! But this being Good Friday and a holiday for me, I thought I’d take some time to give thanks and praise to a few of my favorite things that took place this past month…

(1) University of Hawaii Baseball Games – It’s hard to beat a lazy weekend afternoon at the ballpark and Les Murakami Stadium is no exception. As University of Hawaii alumni, Kelly and I have enjoyed coming to cheer on the UH Rainbows for years, usually sipping on a couple of ice cold beers, chowing down on ballpark food, and the just kicking-back and taking in the atmosphere. And now Ensen loves it too. For $5/person, we sit in the upper deck and soak up the action. Give it a shot if you’re looking for something fun to do the next time the Rainbows are in town.

(2) Golfing – Those who knew me a few years ago know that every chance I got, I was usually on the golf course…though that has changed significantly since Ensen was born. I’ve chosen to cut back on my golf game to spend more time with family, watching Little E grow up, and doing as much family activities on the weekends as possible. It’s the way life should be. But don’t get me wrong, every now and then, I need to be on a golf course, hack it around with friends, and enjoy some friendly competition. In fact, a couple friends – John Garcia and Shawn Nakamoto – and I recently started a new “social media golf club” of sorts – TwitterTeeOff.com. It’s our humble attempt to mix social networking with one of our favorite sports. Here’s a few photos from our first get together at Hawaii Kai Golf Course’s Executive Course on March 6. Hope you’ll come out and join us for our next…stay tuned.

@TherapyGrill @johngarcia @surfchik4jesus @shawnnakamoto

@beradical @annie_lee

@gypsyraven @kaeok

@hawaiidawg

(3) Kuru Kuru Sushi – The Kam family loves sushi and Kuru Kuri Sushi in Pearl Kai Shopping Center is our go-to place when we have a craving. As “conveyor belt sushi joints” go, this place is superior to all the others in my opinion. The quality of the fish and portions are always great, service is consistently awesome, and the prices are right. Plus the diversity of raw and cooked items on the menu means there something to please everyone’s palate. However, be prepared to wait for a seat as this place is extremely popular. We’ve waited for up to 45, but I will tell you it’s worth it. If you get there, let me know what you think.

(4) Chef Ed Kenney and Downtown/Town – One of the great things about working in downtown Honolulu is all of the great places to eat. One of my favorites is Downtown at the Hawaii State Art Museum (HiSAM). This is one of Chef Ed Kenney’s two great restaurants in Honolulu (the other being Town in Kaimuki on Waialae which we love too!) where his motto is “local first, organic whenever possible, and with aloha always.” And this shines on his beautiful plates of food. Fresh, simple, clean, and ono is the way I like to sum up the menu.  For a true taste of local farm-to-table cooking, this is the place. I recently had lunch there with PR colleagues Melissa Malahoff-Kamei and Robin Carr and enjoyed the Kulana Ribeye with Ho’s Farms Long Beans, Roasted Tomato, Chimichurri. Talk about one tasty steak!

(5) Blarney Burger at Murphy’s Bar and Grill – Just ask my pal and co-worker Dan Zelikman and he’ll echo the same sentiments about the Blarney Burger at Murphy’s Bar and Grill. What exactly is a Blarney Burger you ask? Well it’s a juicy  and delicious burger topped with imported white cheddar and Guinness cheese and served with a good helping of fries. It’s even more heavenly if you add bacon (as shown below). Murphy’s is a favorite lunchtime spot of ours for good food and inspiring conversation. It’s also a great place to run into the “who’s who” of downtown Honolulu.

(6) Student Tours of Anthology Marketing Group – One of the rewarding things about working at Anthology Marketing Group is being able to share our company’s story, expertise, and values with college students.  The latest group to visit us a few days ago was the young men and women of the University of Hawaii’s Business Executive Society of Tomorrow (or B.E.S.T.). One of my best buddies, Brad Araki, was one of the original founders of the club back in the day and this group has kept the momentum going. I’ve always been impressed with the leadership and activities this club organizes for its members. Mahalo to president Cody Momohara and his board for coming by to visit the agency.

So now I ask you. What’s on your list of favorite things to do? I actually should have put photography on the list, but I’ll save that for the next one. Happy Good Friday to all!

-NGK

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p1080933

This foursome doesn't play nearly as much golf these days as we should. Help!

Hi. My name is Nathan and I used to be a golf-a-holic. I say “used to be” because I went from playing golf at least four times a month (just a few years ago) to only once a month these days if I’m lucky. The reasons for me neglecting my game are plentiful:

  • I have an 18-month-old son now, so spending quality family time together is a premium.
  • I work for a company where business golf rarely occurs.
  • The guys I regularly play with don’t play as much anymore either.
  • Golfing on vacation isn’t easy since I’m the only one that plays.
  • Golf is just to0 damn expensive to play every week.

As I sat at the PGA Aloha Section’s Hawaii Golf Industry Conference a couple weeks ago, the message and challenges were obvious. Golf rounds played in Hawaii (and across the nation) have been flat for years. With the visitor industry struggling right now, the courses are taking a hit. And while the PGA of America’s mission is to grow the game of golf, getting new players into the fold can’t happen soon enough. Even a recent story on MSNBC.com earlier this month titled “Golf industry in trouble as economy worsens” paints a less than ideal situation noting more courses are scheduled to close than open this year. Not a good sign.

So what’s a struggling industry to do? I’m no golf marketing expert, but as an avid golfer and fan of the game, I offer these six (6) ideas to get me – and potentially the rest of the nation’s golf community – back on the course more often:

  1. Lower green fees – In this current economy, it’s difficult for me to spend $50+ each week on green fees, plus another $20 on range balls, food and beverage at the course (which is usually expensive as well). At the end of the day, I’ve spent round $70 and courses expect me to do this week after week.  Sorry, but that ain’t happening and I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels this way. Golf courses here’s a hint: lower your green fees and I promise you’ll see me -  and a lot others – more often. And yes, we’ll still be buying your overpriced food and beverages. :-)
  2. Speed up play – Courses need to find a way to shorten an 18-hole round so I can get back home to my family. The advantage of playing at resort courses or country clubs is we can finish in 4 hours at the pace we play. But public and municipal courses are where I play most of my golf and 5.5 to 6 hours rounds are ridiculous. Course marshals need to do their job and push slow players along. Too many times we’ve been behind groups of hackers who insist on playing every shot and putting out. Get these folks off the course or at least to the next hole.
  3. Rethink the traditional 18 hole round – I wish courses would make 9-hole play available more during better times of the day. The premium tee times are still given to the 18-hole round, which I can understand, but in my situation where I’m strapped for time, I’d love to be able to play shorter rounds every now and then. I’ve also heard a 6-hole option discussed, where a course could still fill a single time slot for 18-holes with three different groups. Not sure how feasible this is, but it sounds like an idea worth looking at.
  4. More business golf If the golf industry can figure out a way to get me on the golf course during the work week for business golf, you’ll definitely see more play. I work at a company where business golf is scarce and I’m sure I’m not the only one. What’s the industry doing to get more corporate play? To show how valuable building client relationships on the course can be? Or is business golf a dying niche in today’s world of corporate responsibility/accountability?
  5. Offer free rental clubs – With airlines charging for checked bags these days, my golf clubs are the last thing I’m thinking of taking with me on vacation. This sucks because I’d like to play more golf on the neighbor islands and on the mainland. But the reality is the clubs aren’t coming because of all the aforementioned reasons. The thought of renting clubs and shoes itself, on top of paying the green fee, doesn’t excite me much either. On the other hand, if golf courses offered free rental clubs, that’s a motivator for me. I’m not trying to be cheap here. Afterall, bowling alleys have bowling balls available for customers to use free of charge, and last I checked, pool halls still gave you the balls and have cues available when you rent a table.
  6. Add value to the experience – This is where many golf courses fall short in my opinion. Too many times I feel like I pay my money, get sent out on the course, play my round, and that’s it. Aside from the interaction I’m having with my playing partners and the golf itself, nothing special occurs before, during, or after the round to make things memorable at many courses. Here’s my thoughts on how some value can be added to the experience:
  • Have the course pro offer complimentary swing/putting/game tips before the round
  • Have the staff offer insight on playing the course.
  • Give players the ability to rent or check out golf gadgets, like a SkyCaddie, for the round.
  • Bring back the F&B cart that used to circle the course that’s now gone at many.
  • Run contests on certain holes that raise money for junior golf or opportunities to win golf equipment.
  • Offer players the opportunity to enter their scores into the USGA Handicap System.
  • Offer a loyalty program that rewards golfers who play a certain amount of rounds.

These are just a few ideas that came to mind while self-evaluating my current golf situation. I’d be interested in hearing additional thoughts and strategies from other golfers/marketers. Please leave a comment to keep the conversation going.

-NGK


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Golf Can Be A Brutal Game…No Joke!

Posted: July 10, 2008 by Nathan Kam in Golf Bug
Tags: , ,

My dad sent me the following golf joke today. God knows this has happened to every golfer at one point in their round. Thanks for the laugh pops!

It was a sunny morning, a little before 8.00am, on the first hole of a busy course, and I was beginning my pre-shot routine, visualizing my shot when a piercing voice came over the club house loud speaker, “Would the gentleman on the woman’s tee back up to the men’s tee please?”

I could feel every eye on the course looking at me. I was still deep in my routine, seemingly impervious to the interruption.  Again the announcement, “Would the man on the woman’s tee kindly back up to the men’s tee.”

I simply ignored the guy and kept concentrating, when once more, the man yelled, “Would the man on the woman’s tee back up to the men’s tee, please?”

I finally stopped, turned, cupped my hands and shouted back, “Would the stupid jerk with the microphone kindly keep quiet and let me play my second shot!

-NGK