Glenn Tamagawa: Age 12
GT: I loved golf from an early age, so it didn’t take long to decide on pursuing a role in the industry. Of course, playing professionally was also a desire! I qualified for a few tournaments one summer in California before eventually discovering there was more to golf than playing professionally. Around 2000, I begin the next phase of my career in the golf industry.
AG: Describe a typical day in your role at Puakea.
GT: A typical day begins early in the morning checking guests in, answering phone call reservations, ordering pro shop merchandise, inventorying new merchandise, hosting individual and group golf lessons for the Kauai Junior Golf Association (KJGA) members, planning future golf course promotions, taking care of upcoming group events and helping resolve any guest concerns.
AG: What’s your favorite thing about Puakea?
GT: Meeting new guests every day! For some it will be their first of many visits to Puakea, and for others it might be over a period of 2-3 years before seeing them again.
AG: What makes Puakea so attractive to locals, as well as tourists?
GT: The course layout (designed by Robin Nelson) is both challenging and fun, as well as the beauty of Puakea’s lush surroundings. The overall experience at Puakea is of great value. Among locals, Garden Island Newspaper readers named Puakea as the Best of Kauai 2013-2017.
AG: You initiated the "Haupu Club" membership program at the course. Can you please explain it ... and why was this so successful?
GT: We wanted to create a loyalty program for our residents on Kauai. We know they have many options on the island, but we feel strongly that our facility, based on its central location and value offered, is critical for the resident base. Our Haupu Club program offers residents special rates each day, a complimentary “birthday round” and rewards program so that the more they play, the more rewards they earn!
Some Puakea golfers play over 150 rounds with us each year! It is wonderful to see them each day, as they become part of our Puakea family where our club is like a second home to them. Puakea’s staff takes pride getting to know our guests (residents and visitors) and we want them to feel welcome just like they would in their own homes.
AG: How can we grow the game of golf?
GT: Growing the game is tough, but it seems golf grew when a person by the name of Tiger Woods became so popular! Even non-golfers knew who he was. Golf was booming!
We need to make access to golf easier and more affordable for all levels of play. One example of Puakea’s efforts to provide better access is by offering a FIT Club Program. At just $49/month it provides UNLIMITED walking afternoon golf.
We also offer several high school golf teams on Kauai the chance to play and practice at Puakea. Additionally, we offer $18/round rate all year round to Juniors AND they play free with a paying adult all summer long! We’ve had that program for as long as I can remember. Puakea now offers daily disc golf, which has drawn in non-golfers to the facility; the hope is getting more people to experience our facility, be it disc golf, the range, the café, the more people we have to possibly convert into golfers.
AG: What’s the most common mistake amateur golfers make on the course?
GT: There are two I see: 1) Not practicing or warming up before playing 2) Not taking lessons from a PGA Professional. I see more golfers check-in, putt on putting green and head to the tee box. I also see golfers look to their friend, Golf Channel, golf magazine tips, and the internet to help. What they don’t know or realize, which I learned at a young age, is that what you see on TV may not be what you need to correct in your swing. You might already be doing it the right way!
AG: What’s your “dream foursome” (living or dead, golfer or non-golfer)?
GT: Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Billy Casper
AG: What course tops your “bucket list” to play?
GT: Ever since hosting the Shark Shootout I’ve always wanted to play Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, CA.
To learn more about Puakea Golf Course, visit www.puakeagolf.com. Start planning your trip to Kauai at www.gogolfkauai.com.