An annual tradition returns to the green
by Robert Yang | June 27, 2022
The 22nd annual Aloha United Way (AUW) Golf Tournament made its long-awaited return as an in-person fundraising event on King Kamehameha Day. The tournament, organized by Hawaiian Electric and held at Hawaii Prince Golf Club, attracted 161 golfers from across Hawaii and the continental U.S. Everyone had the same goal in mind — to raise as much money as possible for AUW while having the fewest strokes.
The employee committee led by Stacy Hsiung, an administrator for our operations department, started planning this event from July 30, 2021. The last in-person tournament was held in 2019. This year’s tournament was staffed with 55 employee volunteers who helped set up and break down the event, checked golfers in, served food and beverages, handed out prizes and more. Our employee committee and volunteers were the unsung heroes who handled every detail, from planning to execution, which made the entire tournament run seamlessly.
With breezy and sunny weather on an Aloha Friday, golfers packed their carts with their best clubs. Before driving over to their respective starting hole, Shelee Kimura, our president and CEO, gave a warm welcoming message. “The last two years have really taught us that communities coming together are very important to make sure nobody gets left behind. We’re honored to host this golf tournament and have all of you be our partners in supporting Aloha United Way and our communities,” she said.
At 11:30 a.m., the shotgun signaled the official start of the tournament. This meant every team took their first swing at the same time. The tournament format was played under scramble rules, which meant that after each player teed off, the team decided which tee shot they liked best and played off that position. Everyone else picked up their balls and dropped it near the chosen ball’s position for play. This procedure was followed on every shot. The first ball to go in the hole was counted as the team’s overall score for that hole.
I was happy to join in on the fun that day. I picked up golf as a pandemic hobby, so it was a no-brainer for me to volunteer for this fundraiser. Golf can be a frustrating sport. On my shift, I watched participants hook balls, slice, do 3-putts and hit line drives. Normally, poor shots would ruin anyone’s day, but everyone was cracking jokes and having a blast. They were playing for charity, after all. Even if it got heated, all you had to do was visit one of our three “comfort stands” and cool down with shaved ice made by one of our volunteers.
The event ended about 6 p.m. After almost a year of planning and a full afternoon of play in the books, over $98,000 was raised for AUW. “We have an AUW fundraising campaign every year and hands down, this is the biggest event. It’s special to me that we get to do it in-person again this year with all of the golfers, volunteers, cheers and onlookers present. The atmosphere was incredible!” said Colton Ching, senior vice president of planning and technology. If you’re interested in supporting AUW, please consider making a donation at its website.
We look forward to seeing you at next year’s AUW Golf Tournament!
Robert Yang is a digital communications and social media specialist at Hawaiian Electric.