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Kapalua Village Course, Part 3

Continuing my hike of the Village Course, I was reminded of the plantation that once occupied these hills — because of the Norfolk Island Pine (AKA Cook's Pine) trees that are everywhere. As I probably mentioned before, these were planted as windbreaks to shelter the sugar cane, pineapple or whatever crop was being grown on the plantation. Of course, the trees have grown to magnificent stature that cannot fail to impress the island visitor.

But these pines are a bit different than the conifers that we see in most of the world. The "leaves" are not needles as one might expect but a tightly packed bundles of scale-like leaves — as you can see in this photo of the "pine straw" beneath the trees.

I have always thought that the trees looked very ancient — because of the branches which are typically attached to the trunk and do not subdivide into smaller branches and twigs, as is common in most modern trees. Wikipedia tells me that, in fact, they are a member of an ancient plant family (Araucariaceae) which dates back to the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. This family was, at that time, distributed almost worldwide. Currently, the greatest diversity in this family is found in New Caledonia (southwest Pacific, east of Australia).

Just when you think you have seen the most beautiful view in all of Hawai`i, another one pops up to rival the former. This was hole number eight — a very challenging hole, although it is hard for someone who has not played it to imagine what it looked like during its playing days. When I took this photo I was standing on the tee box, so try to imagine with me. Just below the tee box was tall grass and scrubs which were easy to carry unless you badly flubbed your tee shot. Below that was a wide, steep expanse of mown grass. When your tee shot landed here, the ball would roll almost forever. The only problem was that this hole was cart-path-only. So if you hit your shot to the right (the cart path is on the left), you faced a long walk carrying a bunch of clubs because you would not know which you would need until you found your ball. Then your shot had to carry a small ravine to a medium-size green. That patch of shrubs and grass just this side of the Norfolk Island pines in the center of the photo was the location of the green. Oh, how I miss it.

Ah, this is new. A whole hillside of a grass with a feathery tassel.

Whether viewed up close or from a distance, it is quite attractive. Of course, since I do not know what it is, I can only speculate that it is another invasive species.

Just after the hole number eight is the snack bar. OMG, what happened to the snack bar? It has been destroyed. Half the building has been knocked down. Many a time I stopped here for a soft drink and granola bar.

The small building to the right was a restroom.

Between the ninth and tenth holes stands this beautiful home. I understand this to be the former residence of the plantation manager and later was the residence of the golf course superintendent (when the course was open). I do not know who lives here now that the course is closed but it is obviously still a residence. I would certainly volunteer to live in this gorgeous spot — wouldn't you?

As I head back to my starting point, I spotted a banner that was confusing to me. Every year the first PGA Tour event is held here at Kapalua on the Plantation Course. That event has been sponsored by Mercedes during its entire run. The only possible conclusion was that the financial trouble in the auto industry had even touched venerable Mercedes-Benz — and that they could no longer afford to sponsor the tournament.

I learned that SBS (Seoul Broadcasting System) has picked up the sponsorship for 2010 to 2019. Things must be good in Korea. I hope so, because this is one of my favorite tournaments — the players come here by invitation only, as a result of having won on the PGA Tour the previous year. The pro golfers generally love it because of the beautiful scenery, the pampering they receive and the fact that there is no cut — every golfer earns a paycheck.

My destination — the former Village Course Clubhouse. It now houses the Kapalua Logo Shop and the Kapalua Adventure Center. Incidentally, this is where you get the free shuttle to the Kapalua Arboretum — a "don't miss" hike for anyone who loves the outdoors, flora, fauna and beautiful scenery.

You will also notice there is a miniature golf course (not your normal putt-putt golf) in the foreground. According to their website, "Complimentary golf club putters are available from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily". I assume that means that playing it is also complimentary.

Maybe this little guy wants to try his luck at miniature golf.

As I approached the end of my hike, I was enchanted with this beautiful and fragrant splash of plumeria blossoms. The wind was blowing so hard that I was not sure if I could get a picture without blurring of the petals. So I used a very fast shutter speed and hoped for the wind to take a momentary break — it did. I just wish I could include the fragrance with this image for your olfactory pleasure.

Just as I settled back into my condo, I caught a glimpse of another rainbow. Yes, I know they are common in Hawai`i — but I live in Arizona and they are treat for me. I hope you enjoy it too.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com