Hi, I’m Kalani

Kalani Matthews hitting a driver

My Story Starts in Hawaii

I swung my first toy golf club when I was two years old.

Kalani's dad taking him golfing in 1971 when he was not quite two years old.
Kalani’s and his dad on the golf course at 18 months old

Soon after I could walk, my father began taking me with him out on the course. I spent time learning to walk at the Ala Wai Golf Course and the world famous Waialae Country Club where my day caddied in his spare time.

My father was a high school champion and a scratch golfer. He learned the game by studying great players and reading Ben Hogan’s book, Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf.

He would apply what he learned in whenever he could shagging balls he found in course out-of-bounds areas and water hazards. One day, one of the wealthy men my father caddied for gave him his first full set of golf clubs.

It was playing with those clubs that my dad went on to regularly break par.

Early days playing

He signed me up in Junior Golf when I was about seven years old, and took me to the local links course to shag balls. We would go every Saturday morning. My dad would challenge me to chip the balls into the shag bag at increasingly longer distances over time.

By my teens, I was driving greens and hitting the shag bag with every club. I played in local junior golf tournaments when the league formed.

One Saturday, there was a Captain’s Choice (scramble) tournament at my local course. Our junior golf league volunteered to marshal and assist with events of the day. They needed one more team to play in the tournament so three of us junior golfers aged 14, 12, and 9 volunteered to play. It was my first scramble, and it was against adults. Our team won by four strokes.

Caddying for the pros

Several of my junior golf friends and I caddied at the Hawaiian Open (called the Sony Open at the time of this writing) for local professional golfers. It was there for the first time I saw in person, how the pros practiced and played. I watched their swings and while carrying their bags, learned up close the approach they all used to score better.

Most people would be surprised to learn that few of the pros I watched had near-perfect golf swings. After all, they are pros, right? And yet most of them had some swing flaw. Moreover, some of the top pros had downright ugly or “wrong” swings, but could crush a golf course.

High school golf

It was during interscholastic play that I was exposed to real competition level playing for the first time. I did not know it at the time, but I was not mentally prepared for long training hours, traveling to other islands for matches, and the stress of making putts when everything was on the line.

Kalani Matthews senior high school photo in golf team letterman jacket
Kalani’s senior golf team photo in 1986.

The military

After high school, I joined the military and discovered a new set of challenges that I shared with others in my unit. It wasn’t long before word of my ability to play spread and I found myself being invited to play by my military commanders.

My father was my mentor and only golf coach. He taught me everything about the game from how to grip the club, power generation, the importance of practice (especially putting) , the rules, and how to shoot scratch golf. Most importantly, he taught me to play smart and have fun.

Kalani and his dad, Edward Matthews sitting in a restaurant booth at Honolulu International Airport
Kalani and his dad.

My father passed away in 1993.

Golf remained a part of my life throughout the military and on to my civilian career where I remain today.

Kalani, his son Eddie and wife Patrisha

Play better golf

Throughout my time playing as an adult, I was surprised at how the average golfer has no idea that they can shoot better with the swing they have. They waste time trying to fix things that don’t need fixing.

Everyone starts with a double-digit handicap. It’s true. Even the professionals you watch on TV once shot in the ’90s.

That’s why my blog exists. To help the average golfer score better. If you can shoot in the 90’s, you can shoot in the 70’s. My blog is a place to learn about strategies, tactics and tools to help everyone start scoring better at golf today.

Aloha,

Aloha from Kalani

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