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Wholly scatter-brained thoughts on HI and BC

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Chat' started by ken2v, Oct 23, 2014.

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  1. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    I’m finally catching my breath between nearly three weeks on the road and before a slew of upcoming trips. And apparently some holidays aren’t far away. ‘Tis that time of the year, I guess.

    So in no particular order and with little thought to organization, some snippets …

    Big Island

    Hilton Waikoloa Village—Always wanted to dislike this place. Then when you spend three or four days there, you realize it works. And service could be its strongest suit.

    Hapuna – Unloved step-sister to Mauna Kea? Unfair. Couple holes don’t work real well, but that’s what happens when you need to stairstep between floors, and the thin9 is SOLID on the back 9, middle of the front, too. Love the wild goats all over the place.

    Waikoloa Beach – 7 gets the photos and the cred. Nice. Any time you play down to Big Blue it’s awesome, even if Mauna Lani and Mauna Kea have better ocean holes. And it’s too bad one spot gets all the attention because there are three or four of the best holes on the islands out there.

    Waikoloa Kings – A tale of two nines, and the inward steps it up. Broad shoulders a good way around and overall the stronger of the two plays if not as visually interesting.

    Kona Airport – Don’t care how many times I see it, it just looks cute flying in.

    Saddle Road – LOVE the new road over to Hilo.

    HVNP/Kilauea Crater – What do you do when a scenic wonder is over-run by the black socks/shorts crowd (even off-season and midweek)? Walk about 100 yards away from the road or turnout and voila. I thought the coolest part was the ocean headland; that was awesome. Need to go at night to see the glow and pack my hikers next time to find the active flow.

    Volcano Winery – Yes, I did wine taste at America’s southernmost winery. I didn’t buy anything but it was fun seeming someone trying the craft in an unlikely spot. The Cal-sourced Pinot was actually quite nice, but living in Pinot country here …

    Oahu

    Waikiki – Sucks.

    Hawaii Prince Hotel – Props. And go check out some of my room shots on facebook. Damn, great sunrises and sunsets.

    Hawaii Prince Golf – Loved it. Who knew something that seemingly flat could play with crinkles and corners so well? Seriously, worth a visit.

    Turtle Bay Resort – Not a real fan of Ko Olina, overall, so it’s nice to see Oahu get what for me is a commendable, go-to destination resort. TB certainly isn’t new but the new ownership group and management team understands the ideas of ohana and heritage and place. And can you beat that setting? I also love a place that has spam musubi in the pro shop. Fazio Course is perfect for families and a nice place to walk (yes, a golf resort that understands it is a walking game, if you want). They also are testing out these funky skateboard-like “carts.” Palmer Course is still wet wet wet and that back nine can kick your ass.

    Helicopter over the North Shore – What needs to be said?

    Getting Kicked Up to First Class Coming Home – Maybe better than a North Shore helicopter tour. Always amazing how getting out of steerage makes that five-hour flight feel so quick.


    Whistler

    Four Seasons – We both needed several days to kick and cruise, and that’s what we did. Beautiful accomms, superb service, nice and chill, food you really wanna eat.

    Spa Scandinave – How cool is this place? Various outdoor hot/cold pools, sauna, steam, solarium (very Gatsby, I thought), all under the pines and firs. I had a 90-minute shiatsu and Terri did 90 at deep tissue. She’s a stud like that.

    Big Sky Golf – Pemberton, actually. Shhh, like it more than Banff Springs and about as much as Jasper. Reminded me a lot of Crosswater (one of my life’s top 10s) without the excruciating length and angles. If you play golf, find this place. (And if you take a cart I will sent the Mounties after you.)

    Sea to Sky – One of North America’s most scenic drives.

    Vancouver

    There is just WAY to much to say about how wonderful Vancouver is – gardens, museums, bars, distilleries, aquarium, the shoreline, the people, the people, the people (I find that everywhere I go in Canada, of course), hockey freaks, food, scenery, produce, wine, restaurants and that airport! I need to break this out separately some time. Oh, and more first-class legs via Alaska Air – TYVM!!
     
  2. lotso-bear

    lotso-bear VIP Whale

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    Big fan of Vancouver and Whistler too. Need to plan a trip to the FS Whistler sometime soon. Not a fan of their Front Desk agents, but their F&B employees are top-notch. You dine at Sidecut? Fantastic bone-in NY Strips..
     
  3. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    We did, but missed the b-i strips. The had a three-course mushroom menu so we went that route, braised short rib and salmon mains for us. We had our other two dinners bar side in Fifty two 80; that's how laid back we were that first part of the trip. We made it to the village one afternoon for shopping, a few pops and some appies, but other than golf and that afternoon at Scandinave, we just kicked it at Four Seasons.
     
  4. Malibugolfer

    Malibugolfer High-Roller

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    Ken,
    I have a friend in Vancouver and I so need to go up there.
    We will do the drive to Hilo so thanks for the Saddle Road heads up, much needed upgrade.
    So they are finally bringing TB up into the better resort class it should be? 15 winters surfing North Shore, been going out there since it opened as the Kuilima, always so much potential. Ditto that they finally made the Fazio course 18. Great for beginners and families. The Palmer? Not so much. It's like a 1/2 hour cart ride to dog leg #1.
     
  5. lotso-bear

    lotso-bear VIP Whale

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    Other than hiking and biking, I just relaxed at the FS too. How was the mushroom menu? Fifty Two 80 is a nice bar area with super comfy seats. Love their outdoor terrace area, especially when the weather is cooperating. Highly recommend Araxi in the village if you ever go back. Their lemon tart is absolutely amazing.
     
  6. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    We both enjoyed it, had an Okanagan pinot with it.

    We'd planned to rent bikes and ride the Valley Trail but the weather -- after our near-perfect first day playing golf in Pemberton -- wasn't too cooperative. Again, no complaining about a few days to kick it, including leisurely repasts in Fifty Two 80.

    I'm going back to Bend in June for golf, and we're trying to work out having me head from there up over the border, take our bikes and our clubs, and fly Terri in, but she's planning on Thanksgiving in Melbourne next fall so we're trying to balance out all her time demands. Me? I'm a bum, time ain't a problem. lol Would like to fly her in to Calgary, traipse over the Rockies, drink some local wine, and then send her home via Vancouver. I would have to leisurely drive back south, stopping at Bandon, of course, maybe hit Chambers just after the Open.
     
  7. lotso-bear

    lotso-bear VIP Whale

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    Sounds like fun. A visit to Calgary/Banff/Jasper sounds nice. I heard good things about Chambers, it's not too far from me. Too bad I haven't golfed in years...
     
  8. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    I was in Banff and Jasper earlier the summer. Hadn't been up that way since '87. Played Jasper and Banff Springs, classic old tracks. BS gets a lot of the chatter but, damn, Jasper is a standout. We'd thought about going that route with this just-concluded trip but the weather's just gonna be dicier in the Rockies than the Cascades then.

    Chambers is a must-play, and it's cool they took a brownfield site and did what they did with it. Glad to see the Open go to a true public course again, too. You should dust off the sticks just for Chambers.

    Off to Mexico soon for two days. New course opening in Cabo.
     
  9. lotso-bear

    lotso-bear VIP Whale

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    Yeah I heard Jasper is absolutely amazing. Would like to visit Lake Louise too.

    Yeah no kidding about what they did with the land. I've been tempted to get back into the game but I sold my clubs when I moved. Not sure if I want to spend a few hundreds on a new set when I might not use it that often. Will have to check if they rent golf clubs since this might be a better option for me.

    No damage to the golf course due to Hurricane Odile? Safe travels.
     
  10. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    I was a desert guy for so long, now I'm a coastal dude, but there is just something about mountains, really takes me back to the first half of my life. You could move me around through the year from Hanalei to Cave Creek, AZ to Bend, and I'd be one grateful dude.

    Chambers is a TaylorMade club.

    Quivira faired well with the hurricane, only superficial damage.
     
  11. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

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    I stayed at Waikoloa resort for a convention in May. The place was okay, IMHO a little run down though but it was an okay stay. Also helped that I stayed for free so it made my stay nicer. I went a day early and left a day after the convention so I could get in some golf in the big island.

    I played the Waikiloa village course for the first time. IMHO, it was a nice course but wasn't as "resortie" as the other Waikoloa courses. In fact the beverage cart didn't come around until I finished 9 holes. I don't remember seeing a restaurant or place to eat after golf, this course seemed more like a standard golf course, almost like a nicer muni course (or semi private course). The price was also much lower than the resort courses (village kamaaina rate was only $45, Kings course and beach course was $75 - much lower for us locals compared to tourists)

    I also golfed at the Waikoloa Kings course. Interesting, need to hit straight to avoid the lava fields. I was extremely lucky, there was hardly anyone on the course and since I was playing alone the few groups let me pass by quickly. I was also able to hit a couple of balls if I didn't like my first shot.

    I previously played at the Waikoloa Beach course, it was interesting because some shots you have to hit near the water (or over it) and the views of the ocean were spectacular.

    I regularly play at Hapuna, they usually have good kamaaina rates. I was lucky, they were going to aerate the greens that month so I only paid $49 (usually $59 or $69). A couple of years ago I played at Mauna Kea a few weeks after they aerated, nice course but greens were still rough because of the aeration. I still had to pay over $125 (aeration rate! yikes!), that was the "discount" rate, normall kamaaina rate was $200. For Hapuna I have to remember not to bring too many balls since I found about 2 dozen nice balls (another 2 dozen not so nice balls) in the bushes (pro v1's too).

    I did drive over to Hilo using saddle road for the first time. Beware, while you can zip along there may be cops patrolling the area. I usually followed someone zipping by (in case a cop was watching) and I got my rental up to 100 mph a few times. It probably saved me a half hour to an hour drive instead of taking the northerly route from Kona to Hilo.

    VNP/Kilauea - I will have to visit the area but right now there is so much activity in the Pahoa area (lava already entering the residential area) that they are trying to block off certain areas from tourists. I did visit the VNP area about 10 years ago, took a 1 1/2 hour walk to get to the lava flow, stayed past sunset and at night to photograph the red hot lava, had my soles melt from the crusted lava that I thought had cooled down. Funny to see your soles soft and melting like hot cheese from a pizza.


    I played turtle bay many years ago, I remember the fairways being expertly manicured, I even remember being able to putt from way off the green, the fairways were that nicely cut. I hardly drive up to the north shore anymore to golf, the $50 fill up for a tank of gas to the north shore makes it easier to just play somewhere near town.
     
  12. lotso-bear

    lotso-bear VIP Whale

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    Yeah I agree about the mountains. I love freshnseafood so I can't live in a landlocked area. What's there to do in Cave Creek?

    Thanks for the info on Chambers. Might need to check it out next year when the weather gets better.
     
  13. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    I like the Sonoran Desert, that part of the valley of the Sun. You get the desert but you don't get Phoenix up that way. And there's the Buffalo Chip! And Tonto Grill.
     
  14. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Hopefully my comments showed up obviously marked.

     
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