The 9th annual Hawaii Golf Ho’olaule’a Awards Ceremony honored Hawaii’s golf champions. This premier gala event celebrated the champions of six of Hawaii’s major golf associations and the Hawaii Golf Hall of Fame who honored professional Brenda Rego, PGA as their 72nd member of the Hall of Fame.
This year’s event was held on Saturday, February 11, 2017 at the Manoa Grand Ballroom at the Japanese Cultural Center.
Brenda Rego, PGA
2017 Hall of Fame Honoree
HONOLULU—Brenda Rego, a champion college and amateur golfer who made it all the way to the LPGA Tour before becoming the state’s first female Class A PGA professional, will be inducted into the Aloha Section PGA Hawaii Golf Hall of Fame at the 9th annual Hoolaulea Awards banquet.
The banquet is set for 5:00 p.m. Saturday, February 11th, in the Manoa Grand Ballroom of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii.
Rego, currently head professional at the Wailea Resort’s Blue Course on Maui, comes from a famous Hawaii golfing family. Her three brothers—Art Jr., Darrell and Clyde—also became golf professionals. She is the second member of her family to be inducted into the Hawaii Golf Hall of Fame, following her late brother Clyde, who was inducted in 2012.
“It’s an honor to become a member of the Hawaii Golf Hall of Fame and to join my brother Clyde and many of the people I played with and looked up to growing up,” Rego said. “Golf has been good to me, and I would like to thank those who helped me along the way.”
Rego grew up in Kunia, a small plantation community set against the Waianae Mountains in central Oahu. Her father, who worked for the Del Monte Corporation, played at the nearby Hawaii Country Club, where Brenda learned to golf.
“I began playing when I was 10,” she said. “My dad used to play nine holes after work and my younger brother Clyde and I would tag along. We had one club and we would run and hit the ball, run and hit the ball. That’s how we got started.”
As kids, Brenda and her three brothers built a sand trap and putting green in their backyard and brought home old golf balls that they would hit over the gulch that separated their home from the pineapple fields.
“During the summer, my father would drop us off at the course in the morning and we would play 36 holes a day, walking,” Brenda recalled. “We’d play and go look for balls that we’d sell for 10 cents to buy snacks. The four of us were very competitive. Growing up with brothers, you learn to compete harder and just work harder at everything.”
Competing against her brothers helped make Brenda a dominant female golfer. At her peak, she won every major women’s amateur event in the state, including the Maui Women’s Invitational in 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1976 and the Navy-Marine Women’s Championship in 1973 and 1977.
In 1976, she captured the coveted Jennie K. Wilson Invitational and the Hawai‘i State Women’s Stroke Play Championship. In 1977, she reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship, and in 1978 she helped Florida International University to a third-place finish in the AIAW Senior Nationals. That same year, she won the prestigious Women’s Southern Intercollegiate and her second Hawai‘i Women’s State Stroke Play Championship. She won the 1982 Hawai‘i Women’s State Open as a professional.
Rego played twice in the U.S. Women’s Open, in 1977 and 1979, before turning pro in 1980 and playing on the LPGA Tour in 1980-81.
In 1984, she returned home and began working for her brother Art, then head professional at the Mililani Golf Club in central Oahu. Two years later, she followed him to the Waiehu Municipal Links on Maui where, in 1990, she became the state’s first female Class A professional.
Rego joined the professional staff at Wailea Resort in 1998, working first as an assistant pro at the Gold and Emerald courses before being named head pro at the Blue in 2008. At the time, she was the state’s only female head professional.
Over the course of her professional career, Rego has given back generously to the game. She’s been a board member or advisor of the Hawai‘i Junior Golf Association since 2000 and has served as coach of the Maui High School girls’ golf team for the past six years. She has also served as captain and chaperon for Hawaii girl golfers competing in the Junior America’s Cup, the Mary Cave Cup in San Diego and the Junior PGA Championship in Orlando, Fla.
2017 Ho’okuleana Lifetime Achievement Award
The Aloha Section would also like to congratulate Mr. Harold Okita Jr., who will be honored as the 2017 Ho’okuleana Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. The Ho’okuleana award is presented by the Aloha Section PGA Board of Directors and recognizes exceptional contributions made from an individual to the Hawaii golf industry. After a 27 year military career, Okita worked at Schofield, where he played a crucial role in developing the Army Golf Association into what it is today. Aside from his experience in the military, Hal also worked to develop the Royal Kunia Golf Course, served as the Mid Pacific Country Club’s general manager and as the Executive Director of the Hawaii State Golf Association, which he ultimately help found.
Hall of Fame Inductees
|Year||First Name||Last Name|
|1990||Thomas A T||Ching|
|2005||NO INDUCTION HELD|
|2009||NO INDUCTION HELD|