HONOLULU — Algae is growing on the green at Pali Golf Course. Nine holes at Wailua have been under water for weeks. The grass is knee-high at portions of the West Loch course because crews can't maneuver their mowers through the mud to cut it.
Weeks of heavy rain have flooded fairways, turned sand traps into mud pits and wrecked the pastimes of Hawaii's golf enthusiasts.
"It's pretty soggy and mushy out there," said Joevan Joaquin, operations manager at the Ewa Village Golf Course. "It's not playable."
Player turnout has plummeted by as much as 50 percent at several private and public golf courses in the islands.
Pali Golf Course in Kaneohe had to close several times in March as the National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for all the Hawaiian Islands and heavy rain dumped more water the course.
Even when the Windward Oahu site opened for business in March, only die-hards golfers showed up to drive balls through high grass, mud bogs and bald spots on the green, said Rose Kawelo, an operations representative.
"Our course is saturated," Kawelo said.
Ala Wai Golf Course next to Waikiki, one of the busiest courses in the world, was nearly empty on a recent Saturday.
Only nine holes were open for play with the other half sitting under water.
Broken branches and pools of standing water littered the golf course. Mud slipped into some sand traps, making them a nearly impossible obstacle for golfers.
"You've got to drive the ball over the water," said Trever Edmund, as he wiped his muddy shoes and golf bag after a game.
Most golfers stuck to the driving range, which was merely muddy and not covered with water.
But Lester Lao, who golfed with two friends nearby, said no amount of rain or flooding could keep him away from the golf course.
"It doesn't matter the weather," he said. "It's fun to be out here and play."
Wes Nakabayashi, a starter at West Loch Golf Course, said crews haven't been able to plow their mowers through muddy spots in the course to cut the grass, leaving the growth knee-high in some areas.
"The whole fairway's really bad. It kind of looks gross out there," he said. "But guys are so die-hard they're coming out."
Soaking rains have hit golf courses hard on Kauai.
About 80 golfers have been playing Wailua Golf Course daily, down from a regular average between 200 to 300, starter Jack Iida said.
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