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It’s always nice to find a story that brightens the grey and wet days of Seattle’s autumn. So imagine my delight when I read that Maui’s Waiehu Municipal Golf Course announced a $3 rate for nine holes of golf. Golf is never $3. Miniature golf costs more than that. Of course, powering the windmill and dinosaur mouth does cost money. Before this the only way you could golf for $3 was to find a cheap round at $25 and then steal 22 bags of tees from the pro shop. $3 is an amazing price. At that price you actually lose money by not golfing. Or, at least, that’s the logic I have presented to my wife. It’s perfect for me because what does a comedian usually have on Maui? $3 and free time.
That great price does come with a catch. The $3 price is a “Twighlight Rate.” These rates are available after 3:00p.m. What this means is that for the last three holes you will hit the ball and then head in the general direction you heard it go. You will then turn on the light on your miner’s helmet and activate the night vision goggles in the faint hope of finding your ball. It tests your abilities both as a golfer and as a blind archeologist.
Another possible catch is the word “municipal” in the name. Sometimes the word municipal can mean the course may not be of great quality, with unique features like dirt fairways, an RV for a clubhouse, work release employees, and unintended water hazards. Thankfully, Waiehu is not that type of municipal. The beautiful scenery of Maui is showcased at any course on the island and Waiehu is no exception. It was built in 1930, back when the RV clubhouse was just a luxurious dream. It is referred to as the “Poor man’s Pebble Beach,” I guess because it is similarly near a beach. Along the same lines I have been labeled the “Poor man’s pretty good golfer,” because I am similarly wearing ill-fitting khaki shorts.
My golf game is politically correct in that instead of a handicap I’m just considered challenged. I slice the ball so bad that I have to yell “Fore!” to myself. My ball makes more turns than Jeff Gordon at Talladega. Waiehu has four holes that are next to the beach which, although pretty, only worry me because my swing could cause blunt trauma to a spinner dolphin.
It can be disconcerting to hear some of the words that come out of my mouth right after a golf swing. I go from mild mannered comedian to Tony Soprano with a papercut. I like the graphite clubs because they fly a lot farther when thrown properly. Other times my game can be so bad that there is a zen calm as you watch the ball fly. A shot so truly horrible can be appreciated when you realize it has actually defied the laws of physics as we know them.
I have scored four pars in my life. For those of you don’t golf (and surprisingly still reading this), a “par” is a number that the golf course sets as a standard score for that hole. This number is regularly achieved by Tiger Woods and four other people. My number is usually 3 x par + number of beers I’ve had. Anyway, one of those par scores came when my second shot sailed past the hole, hit the clubhouse with a very loud boom, bounced twice on the asphalt, hit a palm tree, and rolled onto the green five feet from the cup. I have witnesses to this, the story of a man’s triumph from the depths of failure. The story of a man’s persistence to finally beat the odds. The story of a man hiding so he doesn’t have to pay for clubhouse window damages.
Back to Waiehu. For those of you who have exactly $3, don’t head down there just yet. The electric cart will cost $16, the club rental will cost $12 and if you bring your own box of wine I believe there is a corking fee. Plus, don’t forget the cost of the miner’s helmet. All said it still is a good deal considering where you are. The scenery alone is breathtaking. Especially during whale season, although it is disconcerting when you realize that whales are breaching purely to look at and laugh at your swing.
So for very little money you get to golf, have a few adult beverages, drive around in a little cart, and take in some of the beauty of Maui’s mountains and beaches. Even if you’re not a golfer you have to admit that sounds like a pretty cool way to spend an afternoon. Put it this way: would you spend $3 to be outside, drive drunk and hit stuff with a stick? That’s what I thought you’d say. Now, if you’ll excuse me I need go find a $3 hotel.
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