Pro golfers vie for the crown at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
Golf is another addition to one of the many perks of being in Hawai‘i during the winter months. As the snow, rain and chill drapes the fairways of most mainland courses charitable, in Hawai‘i the greens and tees are open and lively.
Helping to kick off the 2015 golf season on O‘ahu, the Sony Open in Hawai‘i at Waialae Golf Club welcomes over 140 of the world’s greatest golf professionals for the week long PGA event that begins on Monday, January 12th, and runs through the weekend’s final round on Sunday, January 18th. 2015 is a golden year for the tournament and course. Waialae Golf Course will celebrate its 50th consecutive year of hosting a PGA Tour event, a feat that is only shared by two other courses in the U.S., one being the Master’s at Augusta National. Now that’s pretty good company.
“You don’t see any place else like Waialae, where the club membership truly has tremendous relationships with the players. PGA Tour players of my era have lots of friends at Waialae, and an emotional attachment to the club you never find anywhere else,” says golf broadcaster and Maui resident Mark Rolfing.
With over $5 million in purse money at stake the field is jam packed with PGA veterans and newbies, all looking to stake their claim, and grab a win heading down the 2014-2015 PGA Tour season. With an incredible run in 2014, shooting four straight days in the 60s, Jimmy Walker seeks to repeat his winning weekend of 2014 at this year’s tournament.
Hosting the first golf tournament in Hawai‘i, the Hawai‘ian Open in 1928, Waialae Golf course, designed by Seth Raynor, plays a par 70 and measure 7,020 feet from its Championship tees.
“Waialae is rated consistently in the top 3 for best greens on the PGA Tour, it’s something Waialae Country Club takes great pride in,” says Sony Open tournament director Ray Stosik—who has been with the Sony Open since 1999.
Aside from the riveting on course competition, Sony Open’s involvement with the community is another focal aspect that makes this tournament special and unique.
The Sony Corporation, Friends of Hawai‘i Charities, and Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation—one of the nation’s leading private philanthropic foundations—have engaged for years in their efforts to raise and distribute money to hundreds of and non-profit organizations throughout the Hawai‘ian islands, using this tournament as the catalyst.
Raising over $1 million in donations last year, Friends of Hawai‘i Charities’ president Corbett Kalama says their efforts are on pace to push well over $1 million for 2015.
“The partnership between Friends of Hawai‘i Charities, Sony, and Harry & Jeanette Weinberg has been very special. A lot of these smaller charities have been in jeopardy of closing their doors, 80 to 90 percent of their annual funding came from these donations. We just hope we can help organizations like that survive and thrive,” says Stosik.
Engaging in some of the most important work in our communities, many of the organizations that benefit from grant and charity donations are directly involved in hunger, homeless, hospice, employment, disability, and elderly engagement initiatives. Just a few of the organizations that benefit are Aloha Harvest, Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, Hale Kipa, Inc., Family Promise of Hawai’i, Hawai‘i Children’s Cancer Foundation, and hundreds more.
It should be stressed that the generous amount of donations and grant money raised through the tournament would not be possible without the 1,700-plus volunteers who take the time, some on a yearly basis, to help out with the organization and execution of Sony Open in Hawai‘i.
“If we had to go out and hire people to have work done we wouldn’t be able to give the over $1 million that we get to give. So much credit goes to public and military volunteers, that’s what allows us to be so generous within our community,” adds Stosik.
For Sony Open ticket and scheduling information visit sonyopeninHawaii.com
For information on becoming a charity donor, tournament sponsor, or to receive a charity application visit friendsofHawaii.org