Hualani Duncan has worked at the Ocean Course at Hokuala for 12 years, and the sales manager and native born Hawaiian has definitely made her mark. The restaurant on property, Hualani’s, is named after her, and she has devised titles for multiple local trails as well as this publication. n addition to having a knack for coming up with aptly descriptive names, Hualani is an avid golfer and – a bit of trivia – has birdied every hole on the course. In addition to golf, Hualani enjoys swimming and has became a regular hiker over the past couple of years.
Here, she shares her thoughts about the golf course, Kauai, and her life on the island:
What is the first thing you’d like golfers who’ve never visited the Ocean Course at Hokuala to know?
It is where Aloha begins and never ends. Our elite staff will greet you with a warm Aloha, and suit you up with what you need to make your game fun and memorable. We also offer the fun family activity of FootGolf. Soccer teams and kids love the 9-hole course as it challenges their soccer skills up, over and down the hilly course. It’s great for team bonding, group challenges, and family fun time.
What do you like most about the golf course?
Every hole has its own characteristics and uniqueness. I enjoy holes 5 and 6, weaving through the enchanted forest of mango and guava groves, greeting you at the top of No. 6 by Mount Ha’upu and seeing the stunning view. Then, of course, the picturesque edge of the blue Pacific on hole 14 is simply breathtaking.
Why would you recommend the property as a destination?
The Ocean Course at Hokuala is a must play on every gol-fer’s bucket list. It’s the only Jack Nicklaus Sig-nature Course on Kauai, with the longest continuous stretch of oceanfront holes in Hawaii. I love the carry over the valley holes, sand bunkers, lagoon and ocean challenge holes. It truly tests one’s golf skills – if you’re up for the challenge. If I can do it, anyone can!
How would you describe your golf game and what do you enjoy most about playing?
I can hold my own and the less I play the better I am! I try to think less, pick a target, step up, eyes on the ball, focus and swing. I love the game, the skill, technique and challenge. Some days you play well some you don’t, but who cares, the game is so much fun and I can’t wait for the next round.
You’ve named four of the trails in the area, can you share a couple of the names and meanings?
Alohi (to shine, brilliance) is the longest of the four trails and is named with the community in mind as it is welcoming all to walk, run, bike, walk your dog, etc. Huna (hidden, secret) is the shortest trail and is so named because it is hidden and protected within Alohi.
How did you get into hiking and what do you enjoy about it?
During the Covid shutdown, the Mayor of Kauai, Derek Kawakami, implored Kauaians to go outside and bike, hike, swim, exercise, and have fun to keep healthy and sane. I commented on a friend’s post, thanking her for sharing her hiking adventures and she commented back inviting me to join the group. I did and I’ve been loving it ever since. I enjoy the peace and serenity the mauka offers. It rejuvenates your soul and strengthens your spirit.
What’s the best Kauai hike you’ve ever been on?
Blue Hole (Wai’ale’ale). There’s something deeply moving about the spot. It overcomes you with emotion and you are drawn to the mountain with stretched out arms, thanking Akua for his beautiful creation.
What do you enjoy about swimming and where do you go?
Swimming in the ocean is my Hi’uwai (cleansing). The ocean cleanses one from the stresses of life, allows you to release any negativity you may have encountered during the day, and refreshes and recharges your mental battery while readying you for the next day. I swim at Salt Pond Beach as it’s close to my house. As soon as I get home, I hop on my bike and pedal to Salt Pond, dive in, and enjoy the tranquilness!
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