Lahaina, HI – Tommy “Tang” Sarashina and Maui author, Howard Fields announce the release of “Tommy’s Wars – Paradise to Hell and Back” with a book signing at Ka’anapali Golf Courses on Wednesday, November 18th from 10am – noon.
Those of you who had the pleasure of meeting Tommy Sarashina as Ka’anapali Golf Courses’ “Player Assistant” during his 25 years, know that Tommy had quite a story to tell.
Tommy was born in Lahaina, Maui in 1925 to a family whose father was a Buddhist priest. Tommy and his four siblings were sent to Japan before World War II to finish school. Their father remained behind in Hawaii and was imprisoned in an internment camp on the mainland. Before he finished school, Tommy was conscripted into the Japanese army near the end of World War II. Tommy would later be held as a POW in Siberia and finally released back in Hiroshima, where his youngest brother had survived the atomic bomb. For another 15 years, Tommy was barred from returning to Maui, but eventually made his way back to the island. The book that Tommy and Howard put together tells the story of Tommy and his family’s life and how they all survived to tell about it.
Sarashina about the book, “I'm happy about the book - and the comments from two teachers that read it, they were excited and interested in the book, they said, they couldn't stop reading it until they finished.” Tommy added, “All this for a Lahaina guy.”
Ka’anapali’s PGA General Manager, Ed Kageyama commented, “After hearing about Tommy’s interesting life, I always knew someone should write a book about it.” He continued, “We were so lucky to have Tommy as a part of our team at Ka’anapali for so many years – the guests loved him here and would talk about what a warm and caring person he was – he wasn’t just a ‘marshal’, he was apart of our ohana (family).”
Tommy was the kind of guy that would bring you a cucumber and cream cheese or PB&J sandwich if he made extra that morning, or leave little treats on your desk. Tommy was Ka’anapali’s Players Assistants, which meant he would drive the course and see if golfers needed help finding their golf ball, making sure they kept up with the pace of play and he would also serve Tang to guests. It was said that Tommy had a special measurement of Tang and water and that he made the best Tang out of any of the Players Assistants. With 25 years of dedication and joy he brought to Ka’anapali Golf Courses’ guests and fellow coworkers, Tommy touched the lives of over 1M people at the facility and no one will ever forget Tommy “Tang”.
Author Howard Fields tells how he came about writing the book with Tommy, “This began with hearing nuggets over the years about his having been a POW and asking him a bit more about it each time he came around in his "Players’ Assistant" cart on the course.” Fields continued, “At one time, I thought he had an interesting story, perhaps good enough for a newspaper feature, but the more I talked to him, the more I realized it would take a book to cover it.”
Ka’anapali Golf Courses will have light refreshments during the book signing at Ka’anapali Golf Courses on Wednesday. Please join us in celebrating Tommy and Howard’s book from 10am – noon on November 18th.
The Royal Ka’anapali Course, a Robert Trent Jones Senior design, opened in 1962 and has tested the skills of golf professionals and amateurs alike. A Par 71 stretching 6700 yards, the Royal Course combines wide fairways and undulating greens, making it both distinctive and demanding. Home of the Champions Tour Ka’anapali Classic for 14 years, the Royal Ka’anapali Course also hosted Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf, the Canada Cup and LPGA Kemper Open, donning such golfing greats as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman, Fred Couples, Jan Stephenson and Betsey King.
The Ka’anapali Kai Course is a Par 70, 6,400-yard course and boasts an array of strategically placed bunkers, contoured fairways, and re-shaped and resurfaced greens. This course, host of Golf Channel’s #1 series Big Break Ka'anapali, is a challenge to play and places a premium on strategy off the tee, accuracy with approach shots, and a deft touch around the greens.
In 2005-2007, Ka’anapali Golf Courses invested over $13 million in renovations and infrastructure. Golf course architect, Robin Nelson, was brought in to oversee the rework of the Ka’anapali Kai Course and enhancements to the championship Royal Ka’anapali Course. Ka’anapali recently celebrated 50 years (1962-2012) and was host of the Champions Tour SKIN GAME January 2008-2011.