Guam is gearing up for an increase in international attention as the U.S. military initiates a massive build-up. Marines, currently stationed in Okinawa, will be relocating to the 212-square-mile unincorporated U.S. territory — the largest island in Micronesia — bringing with them personnel and family members expected to increase the island’s population by 25 to 30 percent.
Visitors from North America have traditionally represented only 2 percent of the tourist trade, but common sense dictates these numbers are bound to increase as the troop build-up encourages more visits from friends and relatives, business travelers and other interested parties.
Golfers among the visitors and resident military personnel will find they’ve landed in tee-time nirvana as the island is home to some renowned golf courses including the Talofofo Golf Course, an excellent inland course with spectacular views. The course has an incredible design legacy created by nine U.S. Senior Professional Golfers: Billy Casper, Doug Ford, Ben Hogan, Gene Littler, Orville Moody, Chi Chi Rodriguez, Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead and Bob Toski. Could a traveling golfer ask for a better repertoire than this? The front nine features a more flat terrain than the back, with tropical trees lining the fairways. When you get to the back, be prepared for spectacular tropical jungle and mountain views with great fluctuations in elevation.
(168 yards, par 3)
There are a few problems that can arise from this hole, mainly due to the large pond that lies to the right side of the fairway and runs all the way to the green. Traps are on the right front and the back left side to catch any short or long balls. This is a difficult hole to make par.
(512 yards, par 5)
This straight par 5 typifies the layout of the front nine at Talofofo: Your drive to the center of the fairway cannot venture left or right as there are fairway bunkers waiting on either side. Furthermore, even though the fairway is wide, it is lined with palm trees. Your second shot has to be equally accurate so you can chip your approach to the green and avoid the solo bunker on the right.
(426 yards, par 4)
A great hole with trouble on the right, including out of bounds in a marshy area and dense foliage. Drive your ball from the tee box to the left center of the fairway, making sure you avoid the trap on the right and the large tree. Landing in this trap will surely keep you from parring this hole. Ranked as the No. 1 handicapped hole on the course, it is challenging in length and in accuracy. Your approach shot can be hampered by a rather large tree in front of the green, right of center. Looks like a job for a Guamanian tree surgeon to me!
(426 yards, par 4)
Two fairway bunkers can ruin your day on the No. 5-ranked handicapped hole on the course. Aim your drive over the left trap for your position “A” shot to the green. From here you will need a low iron or possibly a wood to reach the green. Aim your approach left-center to avoid the trap on the right which frequently catches aggressive players.
Hole 11 (357 yards, par 4)
Eleven is a beautiful hole with a large sloping hill to the left and jungle and out of bounds on the right. Amazingly, my drive was perfect from the tee box to the center left of this fairway. Any slice or hook will prove disastrous. Take note of the grounds to the far right, well beyond the hole, where the U.S. Navy stores its nuclear warheads — makes for interesting discussion on the tee box. From your drive, your approach should be relatively easy to this green, which is protected with a single bunker to the right.
(342 yards, par 4)
Ranked as the No. 2 handicapped hole on the course, this one looks deceptively easy from the tee box. Your drive must avoid the bunker on the right, and shots ten d to favor the left side. Your approach is made equally difficult in this slight dogleg right by a large bunker protecting the front of the green.
(183 yards, par 3)
What should have been an easy hole turned disastrous for me. My partners, choosing an eight iron from this elevated tee, seemed to have no trouble finding the green. I too used an eight and sailed my shot well over the green to the jungle behind. I was then told to use a pitching wedge. “Thanks,” I thought, and sent that shot to the right side of the green. Smart golfers will really only need to beware of the trap that lies to the back left of the downhill par 3.
(535 yards, par 5)
A great finishing hole; you must make sure you avoid the out of bounds on the left and right of this slight dogleg right. Drive your ball center of the fairway, where you should bring out the three wood to get some distance on the ball. At 535 yards, this is a long par 5 and needs all your accuracy and power. Your approach requires you to avoid the bunkers that surround the green.
TALOFOFO GOLF RESORT
825 Route 4A
Talofofo, Guam 96930
tel 671 7895555
I had just taken off my sandals, stepping onto the white-sand beach for a late-morning walk to a secluded spot I heard about from a front desk clerk, when I glanced down and saw the time on my phone. It had just turned 11 a.m., which meant it was only 7 am back home, the perfect time to call and say good morning to by husband before he left for work. Not quite ready to head back to my room, I decided I’d test the WiFi signal and made the call as I continued walking toward the shoreline.
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