PGA first-stage qualifier at Turtle Bay
Hawai'i's 2010 golf calendar has no LPGA events and its 2011 PGA Tour stops are tenuous, but the sheer volume of tournaments is imposing and a new event in October is promising.
Turtle Bay's Palmer Course will be the site of a PGA Tour Qualifying First Stage Oct. 26 to 29. The tour asked the North Shore resort if it would be interested last month, when it was the site of Sony Open in Hawai'i Monday qualifying.
Maui's Mark Rolfing, a golf broadcaster, broached the subject initially a few months ago with Turtle Bay Director of Golf Matt Hall. "Mark said I think it would be good for you and the state," Hall recalled. "I said it would be terrific.
"It's such a good opportunity for guys here looking to play at the next level. They will have a chance to move on and the tour figured this would be very attractive to people in Japan, Australia and the Pacific Rim. It would make Q-School more accommodating for them."
Turtle Bay has been home to Champions and LPGA tour events in the past.
To qualify for the tour, golfers go through as many as four stages. Hall, current president of the Aloha Section PGA, says having a Q-school here means people are "recognizing that this has become a center for golf."
"Whether its players from Korea, Japan, Australia or here in our state, it shows we are a draw for competitive golf," said Hall, who estimates a third of Turtle Bay entrants could be local. "Although the event is not televised, we'll have highly talented golfers who chose to come here for their qualifier. It's additional visibility for the state and property."