Waialae Country Club
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Latitude and Longitude:
|Tournaments hosted||Sony Open in Hawaii|
|Waialae Country Club|
|Designed by||Seth Raynor|
|Length||7,125 yards (6,515 m)|
|Slope rating||141 |
Waialae Country Club is a private country club in Honolulu, Hawaii. Founded 93 years ago in 1927 and designed by Seth Raynor, it is a par 72 championship course at 7,125 yards (6,515 m) from the Championship tees. From the Members tees at 6,456 yards (5,903 m), the course rating is 71.8 with a slope rating of 136. 
The Waialae golf course hosts the Sony Open in Hawaii on the PGA Tour in January, the first full-field event of the calendar year. The event has had several corporate sponsors since its founding in 1965 as the Hawaiian Open.
The Royal Hawaiian Hotel and Waialae Golf Course were built by the Territorial Hotel Co. as part of a promotional program to develop luxury travel trade to Hawaii. Matson Navigation Co. built the luxury passenger liner Malolo as part of this program. The hotel and golf course lands were leased from the Bernice P. Bishop Estate; the course opened for play on February 1, 1927.
- The par three 13th is designed from one on the Biarritz Course in France.
- Waialae's 8th hole is patterned after the famous Redan hole on the North Berwick Golf Club in Scotland.
- The special 16th hole is similar to the 6th hole of the National Golf Links of America at Southampton, Long Island.
- The 10th Hole introduces features of the 17th or Road hole at St. Andrews in Scotland.
Waialae was featured in the Super Nintendo Entertainment System video game, True Golf Classics: Waialae Country Club, and a Nintendo 64 game Waialae Country Club: True Golf Classics, as well as in the most recent golf title from EA Sports, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13, as well as a handful of earlier games in the franchise.
In the 1830s and 1840s, the location of the artesian spring for the spring water, or wai, in Wai'alae was a closely guarded secret known only by an elderly couple. King Kamehameha III drank from this spring while visiting. During the twentieth century, the location of the spring became unknown.  
The wetlands in the Hawaiian Islands are a winter habitat for the American coot which is also known as "mud hen".  The Hawaiian mud hen, or 'alae, which is referred to in Wai'alae, is the endemic Gallinula sandvicensis and is a close relative of the coot.   Mud hens, moorhens, marsh hens, and swamp hens are closely related. 
Local players were able to use the course, and by payment of annual fees for play became "privilege card holders" in the Territorial Hotel Company's Waialae Golf Club. In 1930, a group of these Waialae players formed a private club within the Waialae Golf Club which they called Waialae Country Club. Waialae Country Club dates from September 29, 1930 when this group was formally organized and By-Laws were adopted. It enlarged a small service building close to the main clubhouse, installed showers, and had its own clubhouse where the swimming pool is now.
The great depression of the 1930s severely reduced travel and resulted in bankruptcy of the Territorial Hotel Co. Matson took over the obligations and interests of the Territorial Hotel Co. which included the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, the Moana Hotel, and Waialae golf Club. During these years play on the course was mainly by local privilege card holders, most of whom were members of Waialae Country Club. Interior of the Pavilion, 1927.
In August 1941, fire destroyed the Waialae Pavilion which was used by Waialae Golf Club for dining and dancing, and Matson decided to turn the golf course and remaining buildings over to Waialae Country Club. Before this plan was consummated, the United States had entered World War II, the military had requisitioned the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, and numerous military defenses had been installed along Oahu's coastline including the golf course at Waialae.
Waialae Country Club was incorporated on September 30, 1942 and became lessee of the golf course acreage and a small section of land owned by Matson on which the old Isenberg home (later The Pavilion) had been located. The military built a replacement for the Pavilion because of the heavy use of the course by military personnel during the war.
The old WCC clubhouse was destroyed by fire in 1952, but through the ingenious conversion of the military structure into kitchen and dining facilities, and the building of new locker rooms, Waialae was again in full operation within twenty-four months after the fire.
Tennis courts, a swimming pool, and added parking units were completed in 1958 and Waialae became a country club in fact, as well as, name.
No major physical changes were made in the golf course layout until 1954 when the 15th hole was lengthened from 320 to 435 yards (293 to 398 m).
However, in the early 1960s major reconstruction on the front nine was necessitated in order to provide beachfront areas for the Kahala Hilton Hotel and the Kahala Beach Apartments. Holes number 1 and 9 were relocated completely from the green, hole number 2 retained the same green but the hole played from mauka to maki instead of along the coast, and a new tee was required for number 3.
At about the same time the Bishop Estate withdrew land where the 7th hole and much of the 6th hole were located for the Kai Nani subdivision, and this required a realignment of the 5th, 6th and 7th holes. The 7th hole had originally run along the beach in a Diamond Head direction but as a result of the subdivision was relocated inland.
Along with the golf course work, a new Pro Shop and a new golf cart storage building were built on the mauka side of Kahala Avenue.
The first Hawaiian Open on the PGA Tour was held at the course in November 1965. Hawaiian Opens (under various sponsorships) have been held at Waialae since 1928. The first five editions, through 1969, were played in mid-autumn. Not held in 1970 as it transitioned to early February in 1971, the move to mid-January came in 1999.
Extensive work continued on the golf course between 1965 and 1970, with the conversion of all greens from bentgrass to tifdwarf, and the installation of an automatic sprinkler system throughout the grounds.
During this period much time was spent in finalizing lease agreements with Bishop Estate and with Sheraton Hotels who had in 1959 acquired Matson's hotel interests and two acres of Matson land where the swimming pool and tennis courts are located. Long-term lease agreements were concluded in 1970.
The Club was now in a position of being able to develop plans for a new clubhouse. Construction work commenced in the summer of 1971, and the new clubhouse was opened on September 1, 1972. Financing was through purchase by members of transfer certificates.
The main Clubhouse was renovated in 1980, and in 1981 renovations were completed at the Golf Pro Shop. The expansion and renovation of the Men's Grille were completed in June 1983.
On December 19, 1983, a fire completely destroyed the cart shed/club storage building located next to the Golf Pro Shop. Fortunately, the Golf Pro Shop itself sustained only minor damage. A modern and spacious cart shed/club storage building was constructed during 1984 with many fire-safety features.
Numerous capital improvements to the various Waialae facilities over a ten-year period (1984-1994) were projected, and therefore the membership approved an assessment of all members in February 1985 on the basis of their access to Club facilities and in relation to the dues structure. One of the first capital improvement projects undertaken was the installation of a computerized irrigation system for the golf course, with accompanying reservoir and pump facility. Omnicourt surfacing was installed on the tennis courts in October 1985, and renovations to the tennis shower and locker rooms as well as swimming pool were accomplished.
- "Course Rating and Slope Database™ - Waialae Country Club". USGA. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
- Andrews, Lorrin (1922) . "1" (pdf). In Parker, Henry Hodges; Bishop Museum; Emerson, J. S.; Mahaulu, Stephen; et al. (eds.). A Dictionary of the Hawai'ian Language (see alae). Honolulu, Hawai'i: The Board of Commissioners of Public Archives of the Territory of Hawai'i. p. 47. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
- Andrews, Lorrin (1922) . "12" (pdf). In Parker, Henry Hodges; Bishop Museum; Emerson, J. S.; Mahaulu, Stephen; et al. (eds.). A Dictionary of the Hawai'ian Language (see wai). Honolulu, Hawai'i: The Board of Commissioners of Public Archives of the Territory of Hawai'i. p. 612. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
- Andrews, Lorrin (1922) . "13" (pdf). In Parker, Henry Hodges; Bishop Museum; Emerson, J. S.; Mahaulu, Stephen; et al. (eds.). A Dictionary of the Hawai'ian Language (see Waialae). Honolulu, Hawai'i: The Board of Commissioners of Public Archives of the Territory of Hawai'i. p. 672. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
- Parker, Henry H. "Ulukau, A Dictionary of the Hawaiian Language: (see Waialae)". ulukau.org. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
- "Hawaiian Dictionaries: Wai-'alae, Wai'alae, Waialae". Retrieved October 27, 2016.
- "Mud Hen Water: The Mo'olelo of mud hen water". Mud Hen Water Wai'alae Restaurant. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
- "'Aina It Sweet: The best chef you've never heard of is in Honolulu". Tasting Table. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
- Sigall, Bob. The Companies We Keep.
- Sigall, Bob (August 21, 2016). "The Springs of Waialae". Sotheby's. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
- Hoyo, Josep del (1996). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions. ISBN 8487334202.
- Gallinula is the diminutive of gallīna ("hen"). It is anglicized gallinule in older zoological texts. "gallinule". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)