GOLF’S FUTURE STARS SHINE AT WAIKOLOA KINGS’ JAN| FEB 2014
When Jordan Spieth teed it up as part of the U.S. Presidents Cup team in October, it showed clearly that he had reached an elite level among the world’s best golfers. When you consider that 2013 was his rookie season on the PGA Tour — a season that saw him win once and net nine top-10 finishes out of 23 events played Chips— Spieth’s status among the stars of the sport is that much more amazing.
But it was only two years ago that Spieth and his Texas Longhorns were competing in the annual Amer Ari Tournament at Waikoloa Beach Resort. One of collegiate golf’s most important tournaments, many participants in this event have gone on to successful careers on the professional tours and throughout golf. Past medalists include some of today’s best-known PGA Tour stars, including Notah Begay (Stanford, 1994), Matt Kuchar (Georgia Tech, 1999 and 2000), and Anthony Kim (Oklahoma, 2004).
In February, you can see golf’s future stars up close and personal as they tackle the Waikoloa Kings’ Course, when the Amer Ari returns for its 24th playing (February 5 – 8, 2014). A total of 20 teams are scheduled to participate this year, including seven of the top 25 ranked teams in the U.S. Golf fans will get a chance to see No. 2-ranked Georgia Tech — led by No. 1-ranked NCAA player Ollie Schniederjans — along with No. 3-ranked Oklahoma State, No. 11-ranked Stanford University, and No. 15-ranked UCLA. This year’s field is among the best of any tournament in the country.
“We are proud to have the Amer Ari played on the Big Island,” says Earl Tamiya, men’s head golf coach at the University of Hawai`i Hilo, which is the tournament host. “It’s a chance to see some of golf’s brightest young stars in action.”
The Kings’ Course has proven to be an ideal layout on which to contest the Amer Ari over the years. Requiring a combination of length to handle the 7,074-yard tournament tees and accuracy to avoid the lava rock out-of-play areas and yawning bunkers, even the most accomplished players can have their hands full. And then there are the ever-present trade winds that are so typical of Hawai`i golf.
“The public is welcome to come watch the action,” says Kevin Ginoza, head golf professional at Waikoloa Beach Resort. “It will be interesting to see how these talented collegiate golfers handle the challenges of the Kings’ Course, particularly if we get some wind.
“But one of the other great things about the tournament being played at Waikoloa Beach Resort is that resort guests can play the same course,” Ginoza says. Designed by the renowned team of Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, Ginoza says, “The Kings’ Course demands respect and delivers reward. It’s got the length and the trade winds to protect par, and delivers the right mix of tough challenge and exciting play for a great day of golf.”
Resort guests also enjoy the Beach Course, an 18-hole Robert Trent Jones Jr. design that winds its way past historic petroglyph (Hawaiian rock carvings) fields, and through dramatic lava formations before emerging at the signature ocean side 7th hole. The 7th green sits on a lava peninsula, framed by a sweet curve of coconut palms, while waves crash on the rocks below to send sea spray billowing into the air. In whale season, it’s not uncommon to spot the spouts and splashes of humpback whales as they breech and slap the surface, or spinner dolphins playing just offshore.
At just more than 6,500 yards from the back tees, the Beach Course is a fun and scenic round of golf for all players…and just perfect for budding Jordan Spieths!
Annually ranked as one of the best golf resorts in the United States by the national publications, Waikoloa Beach Resort offers everything a golfer — or a golf fan — could ever want.