avid Carey’s golf handicap has slipped a bit. While it’s a very
respectable six, it was an extremely respectable two a year ago.
“I’ve been working more,” he laughed.
Yet, he’s serious about lowering it again. With Carey, golf
isn’t simply a hobby, it was almost his career. Born and raised in
Denver, Outrigger Enterprises’ president and CEO hit the links at
an early age.
“My father was a really good golfer and a perennial champion at
his club,” said Carey. “I played competitively in high school and
was recruited by a couple of colleges. I was also invited to try
out for several top-tier golf schools.”
Fortunately for Outrigger, the academic overachiever opted to
pursue engineering courses instead of golf courses.
“My advisor told me that with all the science and math classes
involved with an engineering degree, I’d be in the classroom all
the time,” recalled Carey. “And with golf, I’d be traveling all the
So Carey’s clubs were closeted, for awhile at least.
In an interesting twist of fate, Carey began dating a Stanford
coed named Kathy Kelley and in 1977 he visited her in Hawaii and
loved it. Eager to work, he asked her father, hotelier Richard
“Doc” Kelley, for a job. Carey took a front-desk clerk position at
what was then the Outrigger East Hotel (now the Ohana East). But
even more important than hiring Carey, Kelley advised him to return
to graduate school.
“I went back for an MBA and a law degree at Santa Clara
University,” Carey explained.
In 1979, he married Kathy, who was also pursuing an MBA. Post
graduation in 1982, Carey headed to Honolulu to practice law at the
firm representing Outrigger. When a senior partner dragged him out
on the course again, Carey began to regain his golf groove.
In 1986, Kelley asked Carey to join Outrigger full-time as
executive vice president and general counsel.
“I told him I wouldn’t work on Saturdays and I wanted time to
play golf,” Carey said. “While he agreed, it lasted about a
Since the fall of 2000, however, Carey has played nearly every
“I think part of my passion for golf is that I play well, and
it’s something I can be competitive at while relaxing and being
social at the same time,” he said.
On Oahu, Carey typically plays on private club courses where he
holds memberships. As for the neighbor islands, he tees off on the
“On Maui, I enjoy Kapalua’s Plantation Course because of the
views,” he said. “It’s beautiful, looking out at the islands in the
distance. And I also like the Emerald Course at Wailea.”
Carey is also keen on the Big Island’s Mauna Kea Golf
“The course’s designer created view planes from all tees and
greens, which is not always the case with all courses,” he said.
“And it’s different every time you play it.”
Carey’s pick hole is the third: “It’s a 255-yard par three. I’ll
play it from the back tees.”
When he’s on Lanai, Carey enjoys both The Experience at Koele
and the Jack Nicklaus-designed Challenge at Manele.
“It has a par four on the 16th that’s a spectacular hole across
the water,” he said.
Carey recently played Princeville’s Prince Course for the first
time. He also enjoys Poipu Bay Golf Course because of the
“The great thing about Hawaii golf is that you can literally
play every week of the year,” Carey said. “There are few places you
can do that.”
While his passion for the sport remains intense, Carey has no
regrets for opting out in college.
“I really love what I’m doing now,” he said. “But if I didn’t,
I’d consider playing competitively.”
Prince Golf Course
Poipu Bay Golf Course
Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa
Wailea Emerald Course
Wailea Golf Club
The Experience at Koele
The Challenge at Manele
The Big Island
Mauna Kea Golf Course
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel