On the Upswing

A centuries-old sport gets a technological upgrade.

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Story by Sarah Ruppenthal

When Kapalua Golf Academy’s PGA Director of Instruction Ben Hongo turned pro twenty-six years ago, he never imagined there would be a portable device that could measure the trajectory of a golf ball in real time. Today, he uses that technology to help his students improve their swing.

Golf as we know it originated in fifteenth-century Scotland — and it’s come a long way since then. “The technology is moving so fast,” Hongo says. “I don’t know what’s next, but I know it’s going to be cool.”

Here’s a look at a few of the game-changing technologies available at some of Maui’s golf courses.

golfboard
Head Pro Sutee Nitakorn gives the shaka sign, island-style approval for Kā‘anapali Golf Courses’ most fun form of transport.

Kā‘anapali Golf Courses

“Wait a sec, what’s that?” It’s a question PGA Head Golf Professional Sutee Nitakorn hears whenever newcomers spot the eight GolfBoards in the golf-cart staging area. Kā‘anapali’s is the only public course on Maui to offer the GolfBoard, a cross between a golf cart and a skateboard. It’s fun, functional and hard to resist. “A lot of people trade in their carts at the last minute,” Nitakorn says.

After a six-minute video tutorial, players step onboard and head off to the first hole. “When you’re cruising across the course on one of these, it’s not just golf anymore,” Nitakorn says. “It’s one of the most fun ways to enjoy the game.”

Prefer to stick to a cart? Kā‘anapali’s are GPS-equipped, with monitors that not only help golfers find their way around, but also keep score (scores can be emailed or texted to you when you’re done), show the layout of each hole, and give distances to bunkers and hazards.

Inside the pro shop, you’ll find a few technological upgrades designed to keep golfers cool and comfortable out on the course. There’s SPF sun-protective clothing, sunglasses that can fine-tune individual wavelengths of color, and “cool towels” that, when soaked in water, keep the wearer cool for hours.

KaanapaliGolfCourses.com | 866-454-4653


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