A Turtle Bay Experience

Golf in Hawaii can be full of surprises. A recommendation leads to a tee time, without a true understanding of what you’re getting into. On my second trip to Oahu we ventured to a new course. Up the coast we traveled to experience the wonder of Turtle Bay. There truly is no way to know how a day like this will play out. The weather up on the North Shore can be less predictable. It would be my third trip up to the area and I found each trip to be peppered with cloud cover. I was looking forward to playing the course, as we took the hour voyage. My heart hoping the positive recommendation would come to fruition. The review was the Palmer course was the best on the island. I remember thinking the review was pretty high praise. My hope was for a fun round of golf with family. It turned out to be a day of challenging holes, breathtaking scenery, and family fun.

There seem to be different ways golfers look at courses. We all probably feel more comfortable on certain golf courses. Almost like each golfer has a type of course they prefer. Playing at Turtle Bay turned out to be an amazing experience. If I have a type of golf course, the Palmer course fell into the type. It felt comfortable from the first shot. The climate on the North Shore seemed to be rainier than the Honolulu area. The difference in climate was evident with all the lush vegetation along the course. Winding through the back nine, we were surrounded by trees and plants I was unfamiliar with. Water hazards seemed to pop up on many holes joining the course with the appetizing landscape. In places, it felt we were winding through a small rain forest on beautifully carved holes. I couldn’t help but feel a sense of calm while playing this golf course. Looking around at the scenery was extremely peaceful. It was surprising to find a breathtaking island course that features just one hole running toward the ocean. The course was more than its incredible scenery. The challenges kept me on my toes all afternoon.

Golfers are probably challenged by different aspects of a golf course. Turtle Bay fit comfortably into the type of game I enjoy. The course was similar to some of the most exciting I have had the opportunity to play. I enjoy a course that doesn’t hide too much from the golfer. When I can look from the tee box and figure out where I’m supposed to hit my golf ball. When I find the spot my tee shot has ended up, I can take a quick look and understand where I should hit my next shot. It’s calming when all of the trouble on a golf course is easily visible and the method to avoid the trouble is simply understood. Executing the shot to evade the trouble is a whole other conversation, but understanding what is expected of the shot is comforting. The great part of Turtle Bay was the ease the course provided. It allowed me to accept the challenge of playing from the beginning. There was nothing to cause anxiety, good golf was going to be rewarded.

Playing golf in Hawaii is a unique experience. The warmth makes everything about playing easier. My brother describes it as the way golf was meant to be played. The climate loosens the body allowing it to move more freely. I’ve found the aches and pains I feel while playing golf at home vanish on the island. It helps immensely with the symptoms of cerebral palsy. The warmth and humidity ease the tension in my muscles caused by CP. It gives my body the ability to move more athletically in ways I’m not able to throughout most of the year. There was a profound difference in my distance off the tee. I found my shots flying an extra 10-15 yards on a consistent basis. Though the added distance was probably due to the weather in part, it also points to the hard work of my training sessions. We have been spending the winter focusing on balance and strength. With a continued shocked response from my mother over the distance of my shots, the proof was evident that the work we are putting in on my strength continues to produce results. Through pure effort, we further minimize the effect of cerebral palsy on my athletic performance.

The golf course has become a place for me to escape. Some courses make it easier for me to forget about cerebral palsy. A round of golf is one of the most predictable activities in my life. Having grown up around the game, I’m comfortable with most everything that happens during the round. The expectation of myself and the movements of my body are always the same. The social environment surrounding the time spent playing is often predictable. It would be unusual for anything physically or emotionally surprising to happen. For these reasons, finding myself on a good golf course allows me to leave the struggles of cerebral palsy in the car with my phone. A golf course has been referred to as my “happy place,” somewhere I truly escape from the struggles of my journey. A day like I had at Turtle Bay only happens with a great course and great people to play golf with.

Spending time with family is an important aspect of life. One of the best gifts of golf is my ability to play with my family. On this trip to Turtle Bay, just my brother and I swung the clubs, while mom rode around in the golf cart. It was a blessing to have everyone there as we experienced something new. The comfort of playing with my brother allows me to further relax and open to my surroundings. It isn’t often he and I experience a new course together. More often he has already played somewhere and I’m the one seeing the course for the first time. On this day, we each experienced Turtle Bay for the first time in our own way. However, I had the sensation early on, we were feeling many of the same things. Watching him enjoy the challenge and beauty of Turtle Bay in a similar way to me, only enhanced the experience. It felt like a rare moment captured with one of my favorite people.

There were many elements to the joy and excitement of playing the Palmer course at Turtle Bay. The course was undeniably appetizing at every turn, filled with beauty and challenge. The blessing of experiencing a great day of golf in Hawaii with family will always be treasured. Turtle Bay welcomed me in providing a platform to forget about the challenges of cerebral palsy and enjoy the game of golf. The layout of the course was easily navigated, but challenged us at every turn. After playing it, the review given to us turned out to be on point. The course didn’t run along the ocean. It was surprising how a course in Hawaii could capture my attention without the Pacific being involved. This golf course could have been placed in many areas of the world and still be amazing. Almost as if it didn’t need the awe-inspiring views of the ocean to help its intrigue. If I find my way back to the island of Oahu, it’s a can’t miss golf course. The Palmer Course at Turtle Bay goes down as one of my favorites in the world so far…


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