Sutee Nitakorn, the 2011 and 2017 Aloha PGA Section Youth Player Development Award Winner, is the PGA Director of Golf at Ka’anapali Golf Courses in Lahaina, Hawaii.
With fitness and wellness awareness more apparent in our culture, leading to new and exciting opportunities in golf, many golfers are implementing more strict gym regimens into their schedule. In my opinion, this awakening to the physical fitness benefits of golf in modern society provides for a nice synergy.
The fitness routine doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective – I notice more and more individuals walking than ever. Here on Maui, it may be a beach walk, a hike or a leisurely stroll. At our club, Ka’anapali started a program about a decade ago and it has grown tremendously in recent years. FIT Club is a monthly membership that promotes walking when playing golf. Unfortunately, there are not many walking opportunities at courses on the island until later in the afternoon.
We have seen this program grow to upwards of 80 golfers per month in high season, with anywhere from 16 to 30 coming out daily. The cost is $99 per month, which is very reasonable and plays into our #GolfForEveryone model at Indigo Golf Partners. With the current pandemic, we are fortunate to be able to offer an outdoor exercise option for people, not only for their physical health but mental well-being, as well.
This trend has also been reflected in what we carry in the Ka’anapali golf shop. I enjoyed seeing Nike’s revival of the mock turtleneck at last year’s Masters Tournament, and we’ve sold it successfully in our shop. We also carry a fair inventory of more athletic brands such as Under Armour, Puma and TravisMathew. Our shop caters to a diverse audience and we continue to stay fresh with new athletic trends.
While we don’t have a fitness facility on property, we do have a connection with many top hotels in Ka’anapali Resort (Hyatt, Marriott, Westin, Sheraton, Royal Lahaina). Our guests stay at these hotels and may be influenced by the fitness programs offered at each. I personally lead a fitness group at the Hyatt every weekday morning at 5:30, and I’m happy to say that a few of those members have actually crossed over from fitness to golf.