Lagoons Get The ‘Golden’ Touch

Jack Nicklaus (center) confers with partner Jon Garner (right) and Scott Ashworth

It’s safe to say that whatever golf legend Jack Nicklaus touches usually turns to gold. After all, who would tell the Golden Bear any different when it comes to anything that deals with golf?

His latest effort in the gentlemen’s sport happens to deal with Kaua’i.

The 18-time major champion visited the Garden Isle this summer, but it had nothing to do with teeing it up at one of our fabulous courses. Instead, the 70-year-old mapped out the redesign of his signature Kaua’i Lagoons Golf Club.

“It’s great to be back here in Hawaii and at Kaua’i Lagoons,” Nicklaus says. “Kiele was always one of my favorite courses, and what they are doing to enhance the golf course here makes a lot of sense. With these changes, Kaua’i Lagoons Golf Club Course is going to be an incredible golf facility with a premier layout and immaculate course conditions.”

Rated as one of the Top 50 golf resorts in Golf World‘s Readers Choice Awards two years in a row, the original Kaua’i Lagoons offered 36 holes divided into two courses, which include the oceanfront Kiele and the Mokihana Course.

The redesign will result in nine of Mokihana’s holes being added to the Kiele Course, for a total of 27 holes. Improvements will be done in three phases, including new irrigation, new grass on the greens, new sand in the bunkers and drainage and design changes.

“We are excited about the changes Jack and his team have planned,” says Kaua’i Lagoons’ PGA director of golf Scott Ashworth, who came to Kaua’i after helping Kaanapali refurbish its courses on Maui.

“When the renovation is done, golfers will enjoy an unforgettable playing experience from the moment they step onto the course until the final hole.”

Mari Punzal’s college career ends with a knee injury

One of the highlights will be the addition of a new oceanfront hole, bringing the total to four, with a half-mile stretch of ocean holes, making it the longest such stretch in the state. Kaua’i Lagoons officials say the other holes on this renovated Kiele nine boast incredible panoramic ocean views.

“With the enhancements being planned for Kaua’i Lagoons Golf, the entire Kaua’i Lagoons Resort Destination is re-emerging as a world-class destination for leisure travelers and group meetings, as we have just completed the $50-million makeover at Kaua’i Marriott Resort,” Marriott area manager Brad Snyder says.

With Kaua’i being especially hard hit by the economic downturn, it’s a great hit to have the Golden Bear roaming around, helping to enhance an area, where his knowledge serves the island well.

Sorry to hear that Mari Punzal, the Kapa’a girl who was leading the UH soccer team in scoring, suffered a knee injury that ends her season and collegiate career. The injury came Oct. 3 late in a game against Stanford.

It’s a tough break for the senior, who was named to the 2010 WAC preseason all-conference team and had been a star for the Wahine since scoring a goal in her first game as a freshman.

The Kapa’a native, a 2007 graduate of Kamehameha Schools, helped lead her squad to back-to-back state championships in 2006-07. In her final year at Kapalama, she led the Warriors to an unbeaten record (11-0-2), including the game-winning goal in the title match.

Said UH head coach Pinsoom Tenzing after the loss to Idaho: “That’s the bigger hurt, Mari. She’s just an exceptional gift to the program. She’s the beating heart of the team.”

With her out, the coach says he’ll have to play two forwards, instead of one as he did when Punzal was playing.

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