On the Right Course
Rohr’s accomplishments also include concepting and building the Waikoloa Bowl at Queens’ Gardens, where major concerts and monthly events over the years have brought the local community and resort guests together to enjoy music, food, and culture.
Waikoloa Resort also benefitted tremendously from Rohr’s commitment to and love of golf. He oversaw renovations to the Robert Trent Jones II course, and built the Kings’ Course in partnership with designer and former PGA Tour player Tom Weiskopf.
As he did at Kapalua years earlier, Rohr brought well known golf pros including Peter Jacobsen, Brad Faxon, Brandel Chamblee, David Feherty, Scott Simpson, and Gary McCord to the resort to play in the Kings’ Cup and the Barefoot TieBreaker, along with celebrities such as Clint Eastwood, Bill Murray, and others. “Mark Rolfing got ESPN to broadcast the event,” Rohr says, “and that really helped put us on the map.” In those years, Peter Jacobsen and Cindy Rarick represented Waikoloa on their respective professional tours.
The LPGA’s Takefuji Classic was contested on the Beach Course in 2002, with Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam prevailing. That event was also notable as the first professional tournament for the then-12- year-old Michelle Wie.
Rohr’s flair for promotion extended beyond the golf course, too. In 1989, for example, he and Palmer got Bob Hope — who at one time lived in Cleveland and was a friend of Rohr’s father — to stop at Waikoloa on his way home from Thailand to record “Bob Hope’s Christmas Special” starring Hope, Naomi and Wynonna Judd, and Barbara Eden.
“If you look around today, you see an established resort with quite a lot to offer,” Head says. “But it took a lot of hard work, vision, and determination to get here.”
Sounds a lot like the qualities The Commish brought to the table.