Four W-shaped coconut trees, from more than 20 years, are the trademark markers for the Waialae Country Club – Sony Open’s annual battlefield under the PGA Tour.
That was the idea of Ethan Abbott – Waialae member since 1999.
At the age of 10, Abbott first watched “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” – a 1963 film that revolved around a quest for $ 350,000 in stolen cash with the participation of A-list actors. at that time. The money burial point is below the W-shaped brushes.
“The movie is attractive, funny. I have a DVD version, so it is convenient to watch. In any scene, I can tell the next development,” he said.
Waialae opened in 1927 – a year after the yard designer Seth Raynor died. Since then, it has changed many times, in which the construction of the Kahala hotel in the 1960s changed direction to hit several holes. But the general landscape does not add emphasis. When hosting the Sony Open, the pitch is reversed, and at that time, hole 7 is equivalent to hole 16.
“The coconuts in Hawaii are great. They make the scenery nicer and add shade. But if after 20 years, they are too tall, have no sunshade function and that turn out to be ugly,” Abbott began the story of own breakthrough idea.
In 2009, Abbott played in Waialae and came up with the idea of brand identity. “I entered hole 7, looking down the fairway from the teeing ground, saw the coconut trees swaying and the ocean in the distance. So I kept muttering, it’s the perfect place to put the letter W like in my favorite movie” , Abbott recalls. That W could be an acronym and represent Waialae.
Abbott quickly turned the concept into reality with the backing of Allan Lum yard manager and maintenance expert Dave Nakama. During a presentation to the Waialae Board of Directors, Abbott showed relevant scenes from “Mad World”, specifically highlighting where money was dug up. “Back then there were very few supporters. Most of them were old-fashioned and thought inappropriate. Now 99.9% are proud of it,” Abbott said.
The project was groundbreaking right after the green hole 7 with a total cost of about 3,500 USD. Construction materials are easy to find because there are hundreds of coconut trees lining the sides of the fairway. Construction required cranes while Abbott and Nakama used radios for coordination. They only left two trees in the existing coconut row to support the building, planted four more W-shaped trees.
After nine months, they removed the reinforcement and the main part survived on its own. It has won many national awards for landscape design and is indispensable in the frame’s Golf Channel at the annual Sony Open.
“I always knew when it was aired because every time it was getting tons of messages from friends, kind of like ‘hey, people just put your name on TV,'” Abbott said with a smile. boasts a logo of four coconut trees.
These days, four coconut trees have become popular, popular check-in spots for wedding photography, especially if the groom’s name begins with the letter W. And it is not uncommon for people to come from the street through the golf shop in the yard to find a selfie path on hole 7 green.
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