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On a bright summer morning in 1987, a group of golfers gathered on the greens of Kapalua Resort’s Bay and Village Courses for the first annual Kapalua Clambake Pro-Am Invitational. They didn’t know it at the time, but they created a lasting legacy that day.

Thirty-four years later, the Kapalua Clambake Invitational is still going strong. Held on Aug. 21 and 22 at Kapalua Golf’s award-winning Bay and Plantation Courses, this year’s event raised money for Special Olympics Maui and the Lahaina Junior Golf Association.

The annual Aloha Section PGA-sanctioned event was co-founded by Rob Shelton of Island Sotheby’s International Realty and fellow golfer Rod Sayles in 1987. When the two men mapped out a long-term plan for the then-fledgling tournament, they decided it would double as a fundraiser for Special Olympics Maui and local youth golf programs like the Lahainaluna High School golf program and the Lahaina Junior Golf Association.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event had a reduced field of players and all health protocols were observed. “Certainly it takes a great deal of effort and commitment in hosting a first-class event while balancing ever-changing protocols,” Shelton said. “With a purposely downsized field, Kapalua Golf provided an excellent experience, venue and program which allowed us to give back to Special Olympics Maui and the Lahaina Junior Golf program. Giving back is one of the hallmarks of this event and we were delighted to see a number of Realtors come out and support our efforts.”

Participating Realtors Association of Maui (RAM) members included Shelton, Justin Brunold of KBM Hawaii, Scott Carroll of Island Sotheby’s International Realty, Jason Gilbert and Rhonda Hay of Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, Brad MacArthur of Wailea Realty Corp. + Windermere Real Estate, Ryan Michimoto of Platinum Properties Hawaii, Eddie Niemeyer of Wailea Realty Corp. + Windermere Real Estate, David Quandt of Keller Williams Realty Hawaii, Rohn Stark of Platinum Properties Hawaii, and Ben Willis of Island Sotheby’s International Realty. Sponsors of the event included Island Sotheby’s International Realty and Betty and Roy Sakamoto of Coldwell Banker Island Properties, along with ​James Webb​ and ​​Water Controls & Pump Systems.

This year’s tournament featured two days of competition, grab-and-go meals, tournament prizes, hand-carved koa wood trophies for the winning team members, a silent auction, and on-course contests to raise funds for the two beneficiaries. Participants also had a chance to meet Special Olympics Maui athletes Ryan Behn and Stephanie Lomeli, who handed out coconut macaroons on the course.

Nine members of the Lahaina Junior Golf Association were also out on the course that weekend. The junior golfers hosted an on-course closest-to-the-hole contest for tournament participants on Saturday and Sunday; two lucky winners each walked away with a brand-new putter.

“It was a really great day for all of the kids,” said Joel Navarro of Ho‘okele Title & Escrow, who serves as president of the Lahaina Junior Golf Association. To all of the golfers who took part in the tournament, he said, “Thank you for participating. It [the Kapalua Clambake Invitational] is a time-honored tradition and we are very proud to be a part of it this year.”

Special Olympics Maui provides year-round sports training and competitions to children and adults with developmental disabilities, all at no cost. To learn more about Special Olympics Maui, visit or email The Lahaina Junior Golf Association is a nonprofit organization that provides access to golf education, instruction, play, and practice; it also teaches important life lessons through the sport. To learn more about the Lahaina Junior Golf Association or to inquire about donor opportunities, visit or email For more information about the Kapalua Clambake Invitational, visit

The Maui News – September 6, 2021

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