January finds many of us experiencing snow, rain, wind, freezing temperatures and blustery conditions outside. Golf courses in many parts of the country are closed due to the weather. Thereís one thing you can always count on, and the pro golfers count on it every year, are tropical conditions in the Hawaiian islands.
The PGA tour begins the new year on the island of Maui at the Kapalua Resort followed by the second tournament of the year on the island of Oahu at Waialae Country Club. The Champions Tour follows behind later in January on the Big Island of Hawaii at Hualali Golf Course. The LPGA will be at Ko Olina Golf Club on Oahu in April.
These January tournaments are ideally hosted in the Hawaiian islands because of very constant weather conditions and pleasant temperatures. There may be more rain this time of year but generally if you wait a minute the sun will be back out. The trade winds do sometimes become a factor in the afternoon but they are also responsible for the natural air conditioning the islands rely on.
Each of the PGA, Champions and LPGA tour courses are open to the public or associated with a resort so you can play them yourselves at another time. Just before a professional tournament the conditions are pristine but may be a little tougher than the rest of the year. Rough is grown a bit taller and can be impossible to get out of. Greens may be cut a little shorter to make them quicker and more difficult.
Kapalua on the island of Maui is open to the public. Green fees are pricey but the experience of the Plantation Course is a bucket list item and worth the price at least once. Waialae is a private country club open to members and guests only but it is rumored that a handful of tee times are made available to guests of the Westin Moana Surfrider. Hualali is associated with the Four Seasons Resort on the Big Island. Play is not available to the general public but you can get on if you are a resort guest. Ko Olina on Oahu is open to the public with preferred pricing given to resort guests staying in the local area.
If you have the opportunity to play one of these courses it is a great chance to experience what the pros see. On any random day the course conditions are not as difficult as they are during the championships but the scenery on all of these courses is beautiful. If youíre in the local area during the tournament itís a fun time watching the pros hit live in person.