The 10th 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 will honor professional Wendell Tom as their 73rd member of the Hall of Fame.
This year’s event will be held on Saturday, February 10, 2018 at the Manoa Grand Ballroom at the Japanese Cultural Center.
2018 Hall of Fame Honoree
HONOLULU—Wendell Tom, a dominant Hawaiʻi golfer in the 1980s and a four-time Hawaiʻi Long Drive Champion, will be inducted into the Aloha Section PGA Hawaiʻi Golf Hall of Fame at the 10th annual Hoʻolauleʻa Awards banquet.
The banquet is set for 5:00 p.m. Saturday, February 10th, 2018 in the Mānoa Grand Ballroom of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaiʻi.
“It’s a great honor to be inducted into the Hawaiʻi Golf Hall of Fame,” Tom said. “It means a lot to me. My father is in the Hall of Fame, so it’s special to be able to join him.”
Tom is the son of the late Robert “Bob” Tom, who founded Hawaiʻi Junior Golf in 1966 after Ted Makalena’s stirring win in the Hawaiian Open. The elder Tom ran the highly successful junior program for 22 years.
“My father introduced me to the game when I was 10,” Tom said. “During the summer, he would drop me and my sister, Jackie, off every morning at the Ala Wai links. Together with our friends, we’d played from sunrise to sunset, walking 36 and sometimes 45 holes a day.”
Tom qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur in 1973 and won the Hawaiʻi State High School Championship in 1974, his senior year at McKinley High School. In college, he played on the golf team at the University of Southern California, where his teammates included 1982 Masters champion Craig Stadler and 1987 U.S. Open champion Scott Simpson.
Tom’s biggest year as a golfer was 1982, when he won Hawaiʻi State Open, the Mid-Pacific Open and the Navy-Marine Invitational.
“The Mid-Pacific Open was my first big win,” he said. “On the last hole, I hit driver, 3-iron onto the green and two-putted for par. If I had three-putted and made bogey there would have been a seven-man playoff.”
Tom’s other wins include the 1979 Barber’s Point Amateur, the 1984 Army Invitational and the 1986 Daiwa Tournament of Champions. He was also a three-time winner of Francis Brown Four-Ball event, capturing it with partner Al Souza in 1983, and in 1985 and 1986 with Steve Yogi. He won the 1986 Hawaiʻi Public Links Four-Ball with Jay Hinazumi.
Other highlights from Tom’s amateur career include qualifying and making it to match play in the U.S. National Public Links Championship five consecutive years, 1982-1986. He was named Hawaii Public Links Golfer of the Year in 1982 and again in 1983.
Tom was perhaps best known in his prime for his prodigious length off the tee. He stood five-feet-ten and weighed only 145 pounds yet consistently powered drives of more than 300 yards. Between 1979 and 1982, he was the Hawaii State Long Drive champion four times.
“The longest drive I ever hit in the competition traveled 387 yards,” he said. “And that year I didn’t even win.”
Tom said after playing in the Junior World championships in San Diego as a teenager and barely being able to reach some of the par-4s at the long Torrey Pines South Course, his father started him and fellow junior David Ishii on a weight training program. Ishii, of course, went on to win the 1990 Hawaiian Open.
“I owe a lot to my father,” Tom said. “He and my mother were my biggest supporters. My dad knew so many people in town. Because of him, I had the opportunity to play with the best golfers and learn from the best teachers in the state.”
Tom, 61, has been a golf sales representative for 35 years. He currently represents Under Armour Golf in Hawaiʻi.
Hall of Fame Inductees
|Year||First Name||Last Name|
|1990||Thomas A T||Ching|
|2005||NO INDUCTION HELD|
|2009||NO INDUCTION HELD|