Ask The Mayor: Is it Legal? Hitting Golf Balls Into the Ocean?

February 1, 2015, 11:59 AM HST · Updated February 8, 4:39 PM
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Waiehu Golf Course -- File photo by Wendy Osher.

Waiehu Golf Course — File photo by Wendy Osher.

The mayor answers questions from the public in this series.

By Mayor Alan Arakawa

Q: Recently I visited the wildlife refuge and Hawaiian cultural site in Waihee. Where I parked, people were enjoying themselves and a few were hitting golf balls into the ocean. Later, I saw dozens of golf balls washed in by the tide along the shore. I’d like to know, is hitting golf balls into the ocean legal? Mahalo.

A: Thank you for bringing this to our attention. According to the rules of the Waiehu Golf Course, which features some of the best oceanfront municipal golf anywhere, “Players shall not intentionally hit golf balls into the ocean” (§10-103-26). I also checked with the administrator of the Waihe‘e Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge, part of the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (HILT).

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Hitting golf balls into the ocean from the shoreline fronting the refuge is not allowed, and is considered littering. If you see anyone hitting balls into the ocean near the refuge, please do not directly confront them; instead, call the phone number posted at various points near the “Roundtable” area (244-LAND/5263) so a caretaker can assist. The county offers a reasonably priced driving range just around the corner, so would-be golfers should use that facility instead of littering the ocean and shoreline.

Want to Ask the Mayor?

Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email at [email protected], by phone at 270-7855 or by mail to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.

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