Els brings in 2009 with O'ahu opening

Els brings in 2009 with O'ahu opening
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

The first new course to be built on the Hawaiian island of O'ahu in a decade opens in January.

Hoakalei, designed by Ernie Els' practice, is part of the new Hoakalei Country Club in Ocean Point, Ewa Beach, about 20 minutes from Honolulu. At around 7,400 yards long, Hoakalei is the longest course on O'ahu.

"One of the things I have learnt in the past ten years is that what's challenging from an architectural standpoint often makes for a wonderful golf course and I think that's the case here," said Ernie Els.

"We've got a great mix of holes, incredible views, and the way we've designed the routing the course will never play the same from one day to the next. I'd love to have the Sony Open here one day." "As golf course designers we have a responsibility to keep one eye on the environment and try to ensure that a golf course leaves a gentle footprint, so to speak. We must be sensitive to these issues and flexible in terms of balancing the needs of our clients and the environment," said Els.

One notable eco-friendly feature of Hoakalei is that it will be the first course on O'ahu to use Sea Dwarf seashore paspalum grass, which requires up to 50 per cent less water and up to 75 per cent less fertilisation. It can be irrigated with reclaimed water; even seawater can be used under the right conditions.

This article first appeared in issue 15 of Golf Course Architecture, published in January 2009.