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Hawaii Profiles


Michelle Wie | Dean Wilson | Mary-Bea Porter-King | Tommy Kim



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808Golf sat down with Michelle Wie (MW), the youngest player at age 11 to win the Jennie K. Wilson Invitational and golf coach Casey Nakama (CN), who just won the 2001 Maui Open in a three hole sudden death playoff. 


808Golf: How and when did you start golf?

MW: I started golf when I was four and a half years old and I started by hitting balls at the baseball field.


808Golf: Who is your favorite male golfer?  Female golfer?

MW: Tiger Woods.  Se Ri Pak.


808Golf: What is your greatest Golf achievement?

MW: Winning the Jennie K. and going to the public links.


808Golf: What is your longest drive?

MW: 350 yards.


808Golf: What is your best score for 18 holes?

MW: 64 at Olomana


808Golf: What is your short term goals in golf? Long term?

MW: Doing well on the golf course and course management. Just to play good and keep on managing my game and playing better as I grow.


808Golf: Why is golf such a great game?

MW: It’s really fun and really enjoyable.


808Golf: How did you feel after you won the Jennie K.? How has life been since winning the Jennie K.?

MW: Really great, really good.  Really busy.


Michelle works on her chipping above


808Golf: How often do you practice? How much hours per session?

MW: Every day. Four hours on weekdays and seven to eight hours on the weekend.


808Golf: What aspect of your golf game is strongest? Weakest?

MW: Driving and Irons. My putting.


808Golf: How has Casey helped your golf game?

MW: He helped improve my feel for my game and he kind of switched my swing. He taught me a lot about golf course management and to make the right choices while playing (thinking well).


808Golf: Do you feel all the sacrifices you have made thus far and will make for years to come for the betterment of your golf game is worth it?

MW: Yes.


808Golf: Do you feel like you are missing out on other things life has to offer because golf takes so much of your time?

MW: No.


808Golf: If golf doesn’t work out for you what do you want to do/be?

MW: I want to be a finance professor


808Golf: Will you be going to college? If so where is your first choice?

MW: Yes, Stanford.


808Golf: For the success you have had thus far who do you want to thank?

MW: Casey Nakama and my parents




808Golf: If you could change anything about golf what would it be?

MW: Having only one caddy


808Golf: What do you dislike about Hawaii golf in general? Like?

MW: There is too little golf courses (not enough tournaments). The weather is always good and it’s not snowy or really dry here in Hawaii.


808Golf: If you could make Hawaii Golf better what would you do?

MW: Make more tournaments. 


808Golf: What Hawaii golf course is your favorite and why?

MW: I like every course in Hawaii


808Golf: How do you feel when you are the only women in a golf tournament?  Do you feel playing the same tees as the men in such is fair? Why?

MW: I don’t feel that intimidated. Yes. Because I hit as long as them and sometimes I hit farther.


808Golf: Who is the best Hawaii Golfer ever?

MW: I think Casey.



Casey Nakama

Director of Instruction- Olomana Golf Development Center 


808Golf: Casey when and how did you start working with Michelle?

CN: I think she was about 10 years old.  Beginning part of the year (2000) – she was preparing for tournaments that were coming up.  That summer she qualified for the public links. That was last year. Almost 2 years now.


808Golf: What did you notice about Michelle?

CN: Obviously she’s big and she had a lot of physical ability with her size for her age. You can always work with potential like that.


808Golf: What do you work on now-a-days?

CN: Right now her golf swing –we’re not tinkering around with her golf swing. We’ve already got it to positions that we like. Right now we’re working on her scoring ability, being sharp with her wedges…understanding…how to manage the game and recognize certain things on the golf course (the mental side). When you start taking practice rounds, you’ve got to know what to look for on the golf course. There’s things about the golf course that she has to know.


808Golf: What is Michelle’s weakest part of her golf game? Best?

CN: I think it’s her experience. This game, if you  have a player that’s played for five years and then you have a player that has played for two years, the player that’s played five years will have a better chance of reading the green because of the amount of greens that they’ve seen. It’s just pure experience. In that area, there’s nothing we can do about that. We cannot accelerate that learning. As far as identifying a lie, what you can and cannot do with a lie – when the ball is lying on the fairway, in the rough. Those are the things that, again, we cannot accelerate that learning. She just has to go through this process of learning, experiencing things. I think, right now, the best part of her game is her ability to focus in on her shots – her concentration level is really high when she gets over a shot. And of course, her physical size.


808Golf: How far do you feel Michelle will go with golf?

CN: I think she’ll go as far as she decides she wants to go. That’s the fairest answer I can give because no matter what expectations her parents put on her, what we put on her, or even what the media puts on her, she’s going to go as far as she decides that she’s going to go.



808Golf: For youngsters and their parents what advice would you give them about getting started?

CN: Make sure the child begins with some good fundamentals to learn the game and then just to have fun.


808Golf: As one of Hawaii’s premier player and golf instructor what advice in general can you give to people who play golf?

CN: In this game, hard practice can make up for lack of talent.


Michelle Wie's BIO click here

Casey Nakama's BIO click here


Michelle Wie | Dean Wilson | Mary-Bea Porter-King | Tommy Kim



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