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Golf Pro Breaks New Ground in Hawaii


The only female PGA member head golf professional in the state of Hawaii and the first female to serve on the Aloha PGA Board, Puakea Golf Club’s Kellie Pleas is one of the best in her field regardless of gender. The 1998 and 2001 Aloha PGA Section’s “Junior Golf Leader,” Pleas is one of only two women PGA members in Hawaii.

Pleas is the daughter of the late Thomas Hines Sr., a longtime golf course superintendent at the former Kauai Surf Golf Club (now the Kauai Lagoons Resort), and Jane Hines, an avid golfer and rules stickler who often called the USGA for rulings. Pleas says her mother instilled her love for golf into Pleas and her brother, Tommy Hines Jr., also a PGA member golf club professional in Hawaii.

Pleas has been working for more than 20 years in the industry. She started working on the golf course maintenance crew as a youngster for her father. From there she worked her way through various aspects of golf operations – from pro shop clerk to her current position as Director of Golf and Head Professional at Puakea, in Lihue on the island of Kauai.

Puakea is managed by Billy Casper Golf, which owns and operates golf and country club properties throughout the United States. Joe Goodrich, Billy Casper Golf Vice President of Operations, says Pleas is a proactive leader. “Kellie is one of those managers who combines attention to detail with a love for the game,” Goodrich says. “Her passion for golf results in nonstop efforts on behalf of all Puakea golfers. She works tirelessly to promote golf for juniors and women, both on Kauai and in the state of Hawaii.”

Designed by golf course architect Robin Nelson, Puakea was named one of the “Top 10 Best Nine-Hole Golf Courses in the U.S.” by Sports Illustrated magazine.

In addition to her full-time duties overseeing daily operations at Puakea, Pleas finds time to, among other things:

· Coach the Kauai High School girls golf team to the 2000 State Championship;

· Tape golf tips for local television station broadcast;

· Nurture her four children and husband; and,

· Serve as the President of the Kauai Junior Golf Association (KJGA).

Pleas succeeded former LPGA Tour professional, Mary Bea Porter-King, a member of the USGA Executive Committee, as President of the KJGA. “Mary Bea lives on Kauai and she got me involved in junior golf,” Pleas says. “It’s an honor to work with the USGA and Mary Bea. They’re doing so much for young golfers.”

As her many activities and positions attest, Pleas is a dedicated, talented golf professional. And while those attributes are significant, perhaps her greatest value is her role at Puakea, where her savvy management and staff leadership ensure first-rate customer service and value-laden golf experiences for Puakea’s guests.

Pleas and her committed, proficient staff make sure each player experiences “Kauai-style” golf the “Puakea Way.” These efforts have not gone unrecognized.

Voted Billy Casper Golf’s “Top Performer of the Year” for 2000, Pleas has garnered awards in three of the past four years through BCG’s annual awards program. She also earned the management company’s 1998 Best Customer Service Award and the ‘97 Best Media Relations Award.

“It’s nice to be recognized, but the important thing is to do something you believe in,” says Pleas. “That’s the real gratification.”