Courses & Travel
February 29, 2008

Need A Fifth? How About A Sixth?

In the March issue I wrote about noseeums--the flesh-penetrating, bloodsucking pains in the pores that I ran into in South Carolina late last year. But there are other things that get under my skin.

I've played in two sixsomes that I can recall. Both times I was a guest of my "Uncle" Al Souza at Waialae in Honolulu, home of the Sony Open. I have three blood uncles. Uncle Tony's the one who taught me how to play golf. Then I have 15 to 20 very good friends of the family I refer to as an uncle: Uncle Paul, Uncle Bill, Uncle Sam, to name a few. My family's not in the mob—or maybe we are, and I've just not been privy to the secret, but sometimes some of them act like we are. A big family gathering certainly looks like a scene from the Sopranos.

Uncle Al played baseball in college. I use the word "very" a lot when I describe him. He's a very good athlete, a very good golfer, a very cool cat, very successful and very connected. He's a great friend of June Jones, now the ex-football coach at the University of Hawaii. The year before Jones got there, the team went 0-12. Last year the Warriors were 12-0 before losing to Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. The two men are so close that Uncle Al knew Jones probably wasn't going to be back at Hawaii even before the team left for New Orleans. The athletic director at Hawaii was a weak stick. So weak that no one had faith he could get Jones the deal he deserved. Jones went to SMU for five years at just under $2 million per year. The A.D. at Hawaii was fired the day after Jones' new deal was announced.

The first time we played as a sixsome at Waialae, we played the best ball of three twosomes. We played in less than four hours. The last time was in December, when we played the best two balls of two threesomes in just over four hours. Waialae can tip out at 7,125 yards and has a 72.1 rating, and we played it two weeks before the Sony. The fairways were narrow, the rough was long and the greens were fast. Allowing sixsomes is only one of the things they do right at Waialae.

Now I just wish one of my uncles would put a hit out on the no-fivesome rule.

Caption: The par-3 8th hole at Waialea is the signature hole. They switch the nines for the Sony--the pros play it as the 17th hole from 189 yards.