Hawai`i’s royalty once surfed its shores, now it’s your backyard playground.

Kona, Hawai`i: When my parents founded Executive Golfer, I was still in diapers. Looking back, it’s clear they groomed me to eventually run our family media company. Although I received a quality education and graduated with a journalism degree, I must admit, the thought of writing articles for our magazine caused trepidation. As years turned into decades, I felt I could convey the culture of America’s great clubs in print.  

Typically, interviews start with the director of golf and general manager. So, I was a bit surprised when management at Kohanaiki suggested their director of agronomy would be my primary contact. Ultimately, he was the perfect interviewee to capture the essence of arguably one of the most successful private golf clubs in recent memory.

The Golden Rule

“Hawaiian culture is deeply rooted in its land,” said Joey Przygodzinski, Kohanaiki’s director of agronomy. “Although my last name may fool you, I was born and raised on The Big Island and appreciate symbiotic relationships in nature.

“I’m proud of Kohanaiki’s Silver Audubon International Certification,” beamed Joey. “We are one of the world’s most exclusive golf clubs, but our ethos is to conserve natural resources. It isn’t an option, it’s a responsibility. We refer to it as ‘living lightly under the palms.’ This is my home. I surf the local beach. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I bent the rules.”

Kohanaiki is a place where modern technology is embraced without compromising culture. “Progress is inevitable. Culture is eternal,” said Joey. “I follow the golden rule to treat others how you would like to be treated. It’s our duty to protect and cherish the land, people, and ocean we have been given.”

Living Lightly Under The Palms

The world’s largest reverse osmosis desalination plant is in Saudi Arabia, capable of producing 273 million gallons of fresh water daily.

“Our reverse osmosis facility, while much smaller, is equally as efficient,” explained Joey. “We have eight wells that feed into filters processing about one million gallons per day. The water is then deposited into our five and one-half acre lake between holes No. 7 and No. 8 that’s capable of holding 10.5 million gallons.

“The significant investment has many benefits,” lauded Joey. “It supplies us with a stable water source for Kohanaiki’s growth, minimizes future increases in water costs, and allows us to continue to protect and enhance on-site environmentally sensitive areas and our signature anchialine ponds [which native Hawaiians used to trap fish during high tide].”

A Game Changer

With more than 450 acres of oceanfront property and an extensive array of amenities and services, Kohanaiki has set a new standard for family-inclusive, luxury, island living.

Its 67,000 square-foot clubhouse, designed by architect Shay Zak, is a standout. The multi-level building incorporates an open design using lava and natural wood throughout. The main level includes the golf shop; a spa with four indoor/outdoor treatment rooms, and a 10,000 square-foot fitness center overlooking the Pacific Ocean; a 25-meter lap/recreation pool; and a 120-seat open-air restaurant with private member wine lockers.

The lower level is dedicated to recreation. Amenities include a four-lane bowling alley, a 21-seat movie theater, an arcade, a card and cigar lounge, wine tasting and private dining rooms, and a gallery showcasing island arts and artisans.

“Our clubhouse will amaze you,” lauded Steven Rose, assistant general manager. “It’s quite possibly the finest private club community clubhouse ever to be built. During the five-year endeavor, every detail was scrutinized—even down to our glassware. Our culinary staff selected Zalto glassware from Austria for its paper-thin design and African mahogany wood, used throughout the building, was sourced from a single-family farm in Brazil to guarantee color uniformity.

“I live in Waimea and appreciate the cultural importance of our location,” said Steven. “History shows that Kona was once the home of Kamehameha the Great, Hawai`i’s most famous ruler, and Kohanaiki was once a thriving fishing village.

Building the clubhouse required several steps not required on the mainland. First, a team of archeologists searched the site, then, engineers evaluated the land to map any lava tubes bisecting the area. Once land was cleared for heavy construction, the top layer of lava was removed to uncover dense lava rocks, with a gray/blue hue, buried five to ten feet below. Those lava rocks were excavated and now form the majestic lava walls of the clubhouse.

“Among our golf, beach, and wellness amenities, it’s easy to turn a blind eye to our beautiful surroundings during my workday. Every so often, I will pause for a moment at my ‘special place’ at Kohanaiki’s Spa Garden to view the artwork—two Ae`o birds inset into the lava walls. As the community has grown, so have restoration efforts. After years of nurturing the rare bird species, new generations of Ae`os are taking flight. It’s yet another example of a positive and progressive story called Kohanaiki.” 

For more information, please visit Kohanaiki.com.

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