It is 10 years since the Ernie Els-designed Hoakalei Country Club in Hawaii officially opened for play. Straight away it was recognised by Links magazine in the United States, whose panel of experts voted it best new golf course of 2009.
“That was one of our first awards at Ernie Els Design and it was a proud moment for us,” recalled Els, President of Ernie Els Design, a Full Business Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
He added: “We were thrilled to be entrusted with this wonderful project, which was the first new course to be built on the island for a decade. In terms of construction it remains one of our most challenging projects to date and I think that makes it all the more satisfying when you see what’s been achieved there.
“The golf course looks absolutely fantastic and the way we configured the hole routings, combined with the trade winds, means it’s the type of course that never plays the same from one day to the next. We continue to hear positive feedback from the team at Hoakalei and the members and tourists who play there.”
Hoakalei Country Club is located on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, just 20 minutes from Honolulu and overlooking the stunning Ewa coastline.
Speaking at the time of the opening, Nancy H. Maeda, Executive Vice President at Haseko, the developers of Hoakalei, said: “We felt that the Ernie Els Design team brought a number of strengths to the project. Ernie was very accommodating with his time throughout the planning, design and construction process, which had a huge impact in terms of member cultivation, media relations and community goodwill.
“We were also extremely impressed by the amount of time the team took to not only study the site but also to understand the culture. The end result was a site plan and design that was truly tailored to our location. It’s been an incredibly rewarding and mutually beneficial relationship from the start.
“In Hawaii, we have a concept called ‘ohana’, which means family, and we’re pleased to say that the Ernie Els Design team has become a member of ours. We continue to stay in touch, even though the course is now complete.”
Maeda also expressed the positive impact the Ernie Els brand had on the project’s success. “Ernie’s name has been very attractive to our prospective members. But beyond that, his brand is one that complements ours, with a commitment to quality and community.
“On the golf course side, Ernie has built a reputation for carving courses from natural environments that are both challenging and fun. This is true at Hoakalei; our members really love the course. From the start, they’re hooked and want to play it again because it makes you think about your shots and strategy. It’s very seductive that way.”