Ben Crenshaw pleased with changes to the Plantation Course
Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore weren’t sure what to expect when they paid a visit to the Plantation Course last May.
Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser!
You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription.
Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story.
KAPALUA, Maui >> Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore weren’t sure what to expect when they paid a visit to the Plantation Course last May.
They were here to see how the renovations of the 18-hole layout they originally designed were progressing. And quite frankly, the patient didn’t look too good on the operating table. It looked like a 7,600-yard sand dune. But not only was the work completed on time, it came in under budget, a rare accomplishment in Hawaii.
As for Coore and Crenshaw, who were key to the changes that took place on every hole, they couldn’t be more pleased with the results and said as much during a 30-minute press conference Friday afternoon.
“I think for Ben and me, it’s been both an interesting and wonderful experience to come back to Kapalua, a place where our design company’s career was basically launched,” Coore said. “We actually began building the course 30 years ago. It was just time to do some work on the course.”
“Time” is the key word in that sentence. There was only a nine-month window with a lot of work to be done in order to be ready for this year’s Sentry Tournament of Champions. On the windward side of any of the islands, rain and wind are constant companions, West Maui being no exception. When Coore and Crenshaw came in to see how things were going in May, it gave both of them pause.
“There was concern,” Coore said. “This was a huge project scheduled within a very tight timeframe. It would not have taken much to go wrong for us to be sitting here talking about real problems. So, to be able to see what has happened and the end result of that is extremely gratifying.”
Crenshaw and his wife, Julie, had not seen the end result until they flew in Thursday — the place is very special to both.
“It’s an understatement to say that I’m sentimental about Kapalua, because first of all, I got married here 34 years ago.,” Crenshaw said. “Bill and I, our partnership is also 34 years. I made two really good decisions then. (Golf Channel analyst) Mark Rolfing was also so much a part of this. He hired us.
“We are very happy and thankful that the crews that worked very hard this summer with us, it all came to fruition. Julie and I came in (Thursday). I saw some of the first images (Thursday) night and it did look very pretty. So we are very happy.”
Havens gathering golf clubs
David Havens, founder of the Spare for Change non-profit on Maui, will be collecting unused golf clubs Wednesday on Oahu.
Havens recycles unused clubs and donates them to players “regardless of your age, background or experience level … to help grow the game.” Since it became a 501 (c) (3) in 2011, Spare for Change has given more than 28,000 golf clubs free to kids and adults.
Havens was the 2017 Aloha Section PGA Golf Professional of the Year. He runs The Havens Experience Golf Academy at Maui Nui in Kihei, where Spare for Change is based. Havens will be giving out clubs at the Sony Open in Hawaii, next Thursday to Sunday at Waialae Country Club. He will be available Wednesday to pick up donated clubs on Oahu. Contact him at David@spareforchange.org to set up an appointment.
Inside the numbers
Anyone familiar with the winning scores around here realizes they are well off the pace of Ernie Els’ 31-under record set in 2003 when the wind took a four-day vacation. Leader Xander Schauffele will need to shoot a 20-under 53 just to equal it and that isn’t happening. Schauffele began the day as the only golfer not to card a bogey this week. That changed at the par-3 eighth, where he managed a bogey 4. He had another at the par-3 11th, prompting him to say, “Made my first couple of bogeys, which was nice and refreshing.”
Of course, he was dripping with sarcasm when he said it. The eighth tied the par-4 17th as the hardest hole of the day. The par 3 produced a scoring average of 3.324 with three birdies, 21 pars, six bogeys and four double bogeys. The 17th’s scoring average was 4.324. There were only two birdies, 22 pars, eight bogeys, one double bogey and a triple by Ryan Palmer.
The easiest hole for the third straight day was the par-5 fifth with an average of 4.176. There were 29 birdies, four pars and one bogey. For the day, there was only one eagle; — a chip in off the ninth green by Jon Rahm.