The following is an excerpt from an article in
the March 2001 issue of Golf Digest.
"Volcano," he said. "No better place on Earth."
You drive south on Route 11. You round a rising curve.
Suddenly, your eyes can't see it all. Mauna Loa fills the
sky. It's an active volcano 13,677 feet high. Its slopes
fall 30 and 40 miles to the ocean. Measured from the ocean
floor, the volcano is twice as high as that Himalayan
pimple, Mount Everest. It's the largest volcanic land mass
in the world.
You look, awed, and you decide, yes, gods live up
For $63, you can play golf on the gods' grounds.
Even as I paid, Reynold Lee, then the pro at Volcano Golf
& Country Club, asked, "What're you doing all the way
"My buddy's at the Four Seasons on the other side of the
island, and I'm at Uncle Billy's."
"You got ripped."
Au contraire. Wild turkeys on the Volcano's seventh
fairway. Seldom-seen Hawaiian hawks above the second. Nene
geese resting (signs advise that anyone harming the state
bird can be fined $250,000). Pine and ohia trees decorate
Volcano's testy layout.
I hooked up with Mike Combs and Skip Langell,
mainlanders-turned-Hawaiians who play together at Volcano
maybe 240 times a year.
"The climate's perfect here," Combs said. "It's quiet,
and it's beautiful. Because it's out of the way -- you're
probably the only 'tourist' here -- it's not crowded. It's
one of the few places in Hawaii that you can play in four
hours, not six."
"This golf course," Langell said, "is the best-kept
secret in Hawaii."
Good. Otherwise, anyone who ever stood on the third tee
would invite a thousand friends to Volcano next week. From
that tee, you see the snowcapped summit of Mauna Loa and you
hear -- yes, you hear -- a whisper, "Stay. Right here.