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Kellie Akana

Director of Instruction, Community Relations and Amenities, Ocean Course Hokuala, Kauai, Hawaii

Ohana, of course, is the Hawaiian word for “family.” But the spirit of ohana extends even further. You might call the entire Hokuala golf community ohana for Kellie Akana. Her roots with this property – and her affection for it – run nearly as deep as the Pacific itself.

These days, Akana wears several hats in her roles as the Director of Golf Instruction, Community Relations and Amenities at the Ocean Course at Hokuala. She gives lessons, creates player development programs, and engages with the non-profit organizations in the community through event planning. She also oversees the Hale Kiele snack shop.

No one knows the hallowed Hokuala ground quite like Akana. A sixth-generation native of Kauai, she fortified her relationship with Hokuala at age 16, working with her father at the Kauai Surf Golf Course, which later became Kauai Lagoons Golf Club, which then morphed into the Ocean Course. “My father was the superintendent at the original golf course here,” she said. “My entire family played golf. My brother is a PGA professional also. My family would drop me off at the beach and then go off to play golf. Eventually, my mom said I had to join them. I ended up loving the game.”

After Akana attended an LPGA teaching summit led by legendary instructors Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott, she realized that she wanted to teach golf. “They made it fun to learn to teach and gave me confidence that I could do this,” Akana said.

What’s most rewarding about being a golf instructor, she says, is when a student hits a shot to their expectations. “It’s just the thrill they have that they can do it,” said Akana. “It keeps me motivated to continue teaching the way I do. I’ll do a happy feet dance and lots of high-fives.”

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