KAUA‘I, Hawai‘i – Kaua‘i’s Wailua Golf Course in Lihue, Hawaii will host the 13th World Deaf Golf Championships Oct. 17–21. 116 deaf or hard of hearing golfers from 14 countries will compete in a 72-hole stroke play tournament over 12 divisions, including Men’s and Women’s’, Men’s and Women’s’ Team, Men’s and Women’s’ Senior and Senior Team, Men’s Super Senior and Super Senior Team, as well as Junior Boys and Girls.
The World Deaf Golf Championships were established in 1995 and are held every two years. The biennial event will be held for the first time since 2018, after the 2020 World Deaf Golf Championships were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Previous World Deaf Golf Championships locations include England, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, Sweden, Japan, Scotland, Denmark and Canada.
The 2022 World Deaf Golf Championships events will begin at Wailua Golf Course on Monday, Oct. 17 with a practice round followed by four rounds of competition Tuesday through Friday.
Wailua’s classic design has hosted three USGA championships and dates back to the “Golden Age of Golf Course Architecture,” with its original nine holes designed in 1920. The course expanded to 18 holes in 1962 under the direction of Hawaii Golf Hall of Famer Toyo Shirai. In June of 2021, GOLF Magazine ranked Wailua as one of “America’s Best Municipal Courses,” saying, “Wailua exudes a laid-back atmosphere paired with some sneaky bite…”
More than 200 visitors, including golfers, family members and tournament officials will visit Kaua‘i for the Championships. Royal Sonesta Kauai Resort in Lihue will serve as the host resort, with a traditional Hawaiian Luau and the event’s opening ceremony taking place fronting Kalapaki Beach. Countries represented include: USA, Canada, England, Australia, France, Norway, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Sweden, India and the Netherlands.
Kaua‘i’s Pono Tokioka is serving as the tournament’s chairperson. A graduate of the United States Golf Association P.J. Boatwright Jr. Internship Program through the Hawaii State Junior Golf Association (HSJGA), Tokioka is a Kaua‘i High School alumnus who played on the University of Hawaii men’s golf team from 2013-2017.
He is organizing the tournament along with leadership of the U.S. Deaf Golf Association (USDGA). The HSJGA and Hawai`i State Golf Association (HSGA) staff and officials will volunteer to assist in the delivery of tournament logistics.
“We are honored and excited to host the 2022 World Deaf Golf Championships here at our county’s beloved Wailua Golf Course,” said Kaua‘i Mayor Derek S. K. Kawakami. “And there is no one on Kaua‘i more fitting to chair this tournament than our very own Pono Tokioka, whom we’ve watched grow up on the golf course and excel in not only his talent but also his ability to connect the deaf community throughout our island and state.
“We extend our mahalo and aloha to Pono and all involved in bringing this highly anticipated tournament to the Garden Island of Kaua‘i and wish all players the best of luck in October.”
Kaua‘i has a rich history of hosting golf events including the US Amateur Public Links, the PGA Grand Slam and various NCAA tournaments. Nicknamed the Garden Island for its lush tropical foliage, waterfalls and ever-present Pacific Ocean scenery, Kaua‘i boasts numerous daily-fee and resort golf courses.
The destination is perennially recognized for its beaches, award-winning golf courses, ideal playing weather and stunning natural beauty.
For more information on Kaua‘i golf, visit www.gogolfKauai.com.