The BWD Tournament Hole of the Week: January 12 – 15, 2017. The 18th at Waialae CC, Home of Sony Open in Hawaii.

Tournament: Sony Open in Hawaii – Waialae CC, Honolulu, HI
Hole: 18th – Par 5, 551 Yards
Architect(s): Seth Raynor and Charles Banks – 1927
Desmond Muirhead (renovation) – 1992

Architectural Summary:

The finishing hole at Waialae CC is named “Kilou Loa,” meaning a long hook, which fittingly describes the dogleg left par 5. Measuring 551 yards, the hole will be reachable in two strokes from some competitors and will emphasize strategy. From the tee, competitors will look to play a right-to-left shot shape through the narrow chute of palm and hardwood trees. Fairway bunkers guard either side of the dogleg at roughly 285 yards. Should competitors successfully avoid the series of fairway bunkers, a second shot will play downwind and likely require a wood or long iron. Competitors looking to lay up will play roughly 40 yards short of the green in order to avoid the two significant bunkers protecting the front of the putting surface. The greenside bunkers will likely collect any misplaced shots for players attempting to reach the green in two. The small green itself feature only minor undulations throughout and measures 28 yards deep by 21 yards wide. Overall, the finishing hole will likely yield numerous scoring opportunities for players to conclude their round.

Statistical Analysis:

During the 2016 tournament, the 18th hole played as to a scoring average of 4.46 (14, eagles, 234 birdies, 181 pars, 19 bogeys, and 1 double bogey). The hole was the second easiest hole of the tournament, only behind the par 5 9th hole which played -0.79 under par.

Fun Facts:

  • Japan’s Isao Aoki won the 1983 Hawaiian Open after holing out from 128 yards in the rough with a pitching wedge for an eagle. With the eagle, Aoki overtook Jack Renner’s one shot lead to win his only PGA Tour title.
  • The home hole at Waialae CC during the Sony Open is typically played as the 9th hole for member play. The 9th and 18th are traditionally the least difficult holes on the course.
  • 2016 tournament champion Fabian Gomez played the 18th to one-under-par during regulation play, but managed to best Brandt Snedeker on the second playoff hole after a birdie on the par 5.
  • Waialae has hosted the Hawaiian Open, under various sponsorships and tournament names, since 1928. The course first hosted the event as part of the PGA Tour rotation in 1965.