Wailea Golf Club is proud to have hosted some of golf's most legendary pros on the championship Wailea Gold Course, from 2001 to 2007 in the televised Champions Skins Game. Today, our guests can play a round in the footsteps of such extraordinary players as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Hale Irwin, Lee Trevino, Raymond Floyd, and their esteemed colleagues.
The history of The Champions Skins Game begins with the birth of its older sibling, The Skins Game, in 1983. Don Ohlmeyer — a former executive producer with NBC who started Ohlmeyer Communications Company (now OCC Sports, Inc.) a year earlier — approached Barry Frank, senior corporate vice president at International Management Group (Trans World International) with an exciting proposal for a new televised golf event.
The Skins Game was an original concept for the television industry, but the popular betting format has been played by recreational golfers for years, adding spice and good-natured competition to many a round.
Undaunted by cynics, Ohlmeyer sensed that golfers everywhere would take to The Skins Game concept the same way they have to the friendly competition in their foursomes each weekend.
Ohlmeyer knew the key ingredients for a successful event would include the top players, big dollars and plenty of drama created by having that money pot available on each hole, with carryovers if nobody won the previous hole.
To make the idea a made-for-television hit, he and Frank invited four of golf’s greatest — Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Tom Watson — and convinced advertisers that The Skins Game was an outright winner. Advertisers immediately agreed with the event’s potential and jumped on board, turning The Skins Game into an instant success.
In 1988, The Senior Skins Game made its television debut, showcasing the greatest players on the Senior PGA Tour including golfing greats Chi Chi Rodriguez, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead. In 2003, the tournament assumed a new name when the Senior PGA Tour changed its name to the Champions Tour. As a result, the event evolved into the Champions Skins Game.