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Passage in Paradise

When we came to the fourteenth tee of the Prince course at the Princeville Resort, in Hawaii, the rain began again. We'd already been soaked for three hours, so you wouldn't think it could make much difference. On the balmy island of Kauai, it's so pleasant in the morning you sometimes forget to toss a rain jacket in the bag in the winter months. However, if the black clouds stack up over Bali Hai and the trade winds start to blow at thirty miles per hour and the rain stays steady, then seventy degrees can feel quite chilly. So Paul and I wondered aloud if our kids wanted to quit.

After all, should a ten- and a twelve-year-old really want to continue playing one of the toughest golf courses in the world under such miserable conditions?Especially when the alternative is hot chocolate and a drive back to the south side of the island, where the sun is probably out and the moms figure to be drinking Mai Tais by the 150-foot water slide.

Paul and I had convinced our wives and sons to take this trip to a small Hawaiian island on one unequivocal premise: This, we promised, would be the Ultimate Family Golf Vacation--pure perfection for all.

We hadn't mentioned listening to your teeth chatter while facing the humiliation of holes that ranged from very hard to totally impossible.

Sam Stein, fifth grade, and Russell Boswell, sixth, exchanged a quick look.

"Let's keep playing," said Sam. "I love par threes."

"I'm not afraid of the 'goog,'" said Russell, using the boys' term for the one hundred yards of carry that the hole required over indigenous jungle vegetation.

From the red tees, Sam cracked a wood shot that cleared the chasm cleanly, then he jumped with glee as his ball came up just short of the green. Russell knocked an iron shot on the green, his fifth greenie of the day. Each boy ran to his golf cart, crawled under the transparent plastic side tarps and into the relative warmth inside.

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