My gosh, is it already time for the first, full-field event of the 2013 PGA Tour season? Where did the time go? It seems like just last week we were in Chicago for the Ryder Cup at Medinah. That was 3 1/2 months ago!
So, there they are, the PGA Tour players descending on paradise in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii, for the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club. It's there that we caught up with PGA Head Professional Kevin Carll. Rather than spend our time talking all about the field and the course, we decided to ask Carll a little about Oahu itself. It's clearly a haven for tourism, but what makes the island so special? Are there places that only the locals know about and you need to know about too?
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What makes for the perfect day for the golfer visiting Oahu? Carll answered all that and more.
PGA.com: As always, thanks for joining us, Kevin. It was a pretty rough start for the PGA Tour in Maui last week, but here we are now in Oahu, where the forecast is significantly different and so is the course, Waialae Country Club. While the Hawaiian Islands are so close, the fact is their climates and terrain couldn't be more different. Can you tell us a little about what makes Oahu so different from Maui in terms of the winds and the lay of the land?
Carll: It's not so much that each island has its own climate as it is that it ultimately depends which side of the island you are on. For example, Kapalua is situated on the Northwest side of the island (Maui) which tends to be a bit more exposed to the elements lending to more rain, wind and cooler temperatures (maybe 80 degrees versus 85 degrees).
Here at Waialae, we're situated on the Southeast side of the island which is much more dry and hot, however, we receive our fair share of wind. If you're ever in doubt, take note of the common areas that aren't landscaped and if it's brown there is a good chance it will be fairly dry and if it's green, vice versa.
PGA.com: Waikiki Beach is world famous. What is it that makes Waikiki unlike most other great beaches around the globe?
Carll: I think several factors make Waikiki special. The fact that it's located just steps from a bustling metropolis is unique. The surf tends to be gentle, ideal for those that wish to cross surfing off their bucket list. The weather is ideal year round. And last but not least, you really can't beat the iconic back drop of Diamond Head.
PGA.com: I've been fortunate to visit Oahu on several occasions. That always meant a stop to the North Shore to see the incredible, pipeline waves. While golfers consider the golf course to be their sacred place, the same holds true for surfers when it comes to Oahu's North Shore. Can you tell our readers why, if they're ever in Oahu, it's worth it to take a drive to the North Shore? Also, is there a "best time of year" to go there?
Carll: As a golfer visiting Oahu, you are short-changing yourself if you haven't played the Arnold Palmer Course at Turtle Bay. Fantastic track and worth the drive from Waikiki. While you're there, make sure to stop by the surf spots during the winter months. There is a good chance you might catch one of the Triple Crown of Surfing events. Each year, the Association of Surfing Professionals ends their year-long tour at Pipeline.
The raw power of the waves on the North Shore during a big winter swell is something you have to see once in your life.
PGA.com: Tourism, obviously, is very important to Oahu. For people looking to go off the beaten path, can you give us a great place for breakfast, a round of golf and a fantastic dinner that perhaps only the locals know about?
Carll: There isn't much on Oahu that hasn't been marketed to travelers. If you're open to adventure, there is a great 9-hole course that runs along the water in the town of Kahuku. You can't help but feel that you have been taken back in time when hickory was the shaft of choice. As for breakfast, try the Hukilau Café in Laie and for dinner make sure to stop bye Lei Lei's located in the resort of Turtle Bay.
PGA.com: Finally, Kevin, what makes living in Oahu so great... aside from the perfect weather, incredible sunsets and its overall greatness?
Carll: Good people. The Aloha Spirit is alive and well.