The Takeaway: New Zealand’s most historic and storied course, Paraparaumu Beach features a links style experience just blocks off the ocean. With steep sloping green edges that can make Pinehurst No.2 look tame, plenty of fescue to contend with, and several blind shots, Paraparaumu is a shot makers course that feels more like the U.K. than a course is a tropical environment like New Zealand. Grade A-
Designer: Alex Russell in 1949
Cost: $70 NZD - $170 NZD Click for current rates
Phone Number: (04) 902 8200
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 376 Kapiti Road, Paraparaumu Beach, Paraparaumu 5032 – NEW ZEALAND
What to Expect: Located near the southern tip of the northern island of New Zealand, some might expect to embark on a tropical experience in the southern hemisphere; but those people would be wrong. Upon entering the property you are seemingly transported to a links experience that feels a lot more like something you'd see in the United Kingdom than you would south of the equator. While the ocean isn't visible from the course, the moderate year round temperatures paired with stiff breezes off the sea create the exact setting you are likely to experience in Scotland or Ireland. While the length of the course isn't intimidating, the putting surfaces will humble even the best of players. With greens boasting several steep edges that can make Pinehurst No.2 look tame, Paraparaumu is defined by the approach shots and how well you can handle them. In addition, there are several blind shots (at least eight) along the way which is very linksy indeed. Ultimately, Paraparaumu Beach features a great variety of holes with the one-shotters standing out the most. The 13th is all world and the short par three 14th felt like something you'd see at Royal County Down with the town and mountain providing the backdrop. A trip to New Zealand that doesn't include a visit to Paraparaumu is truly a missed opportunity and experience.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 13th Hole – 446 Yard Par 4 – Without question, this is the best hole at Paraparaumu Beach and was the moment I really had to question whether I was in New Zealand or in Ireland. A pure links experience with rolling terrain, distant mountain views, and fescue covered hillocks framing the hole, the 13th is as fun to view as it is to play. This hole could easily have been classified as the signature hole, Best Par 4, and Bogey Beware for Paraparaumu Beach and is always the hole I instantly think of when reflecting on my round. Finding the green in regulation is a stout feat to accomplish considering the raised putting surface that falls off several directions in an effort to repel approach shots that aren't spot on. In fact, balls that find Russell's Ravine short and right of the green will find themselves in an extremely difficult par-save situation. Devoid of an even lie on the fairway and playing to a challenging green site, the 13th at Paraparaumu is a brilliant challenge that is often aided by playing downwind.
Best Par 3: 5th Hole – 162 Yards – Named Te Motu, meaning "the island" in Maori, the 5th plays like an island green with sharp fall offs every direction from the putting surface. A brilliant one-shotter, the bunkerless 5th demands players to find the putting surface off the tee in order to eliminate the possibility of taking a big number. In fact, Frank Nobilo famously took a quadruple bogey here during the 1989 New Zealand Open which took him out of the lead and opened the door for Greg Turner to win the championship.
Best Par 4: 9th Hole – 420 Yards – Featuring the most intriguing tee shot on the course, players find themselves staring at a saddle fairway with a pair of hillocks framing each side as they contemplate how best to play their tee shot. A 215 yard shot short of rise in the saddle provides a visual of the landing area but will result in a restricted view on the 150 yard approach shot. The bold over, or just right of, the hillock on the right side of the saddle can leave players which a short chip into the green or possibly an eagle putt if the tee ball flies over 300 yards. The largest green on the course, the variety of pin positions possible on this putting surface always keeps things interesting.
Best Par 5: 18th Hole – 487 Yards – The final hole at Paraparaumu Beach is a sub-500 yard par five that offers an excellent opportunity to score well on. A rare internal out of bounds line flanks the right side as should be avoided at all costs so as to not screw up a welcoming birdie opportunity. However, players that favor the right side will be rewarded with a shorter approach and superior angle to the green. The clubhouse creates the background for the green that is protected by a pair of bunkers in front. This is a hole that gave leave players with a smile if they don't get greedy.
Birdie Time: 6th Hole – 326 Yard Par 4 – After a pair of testing holes, Paraparaumu Beach offers some reprieve with this exciting short par four. Accuracy is at a premium if you are going to take a stroke back from Old Man Par here as wayward tee balls are left with some very poor angles to consider and bunkering to contend with. However, the straight ball will be rewarded with a short chip to a tiered green where a front pin can be attacked aggressively on the fly or by bringing it back off the hill in the middle of the putting surface. A rear pin is more testing to attack but players with a deft touch can play a bump and run shot that nestles up nicely around the hole. Do everything you can to avoid the trio of bunkers that protect the back half of this green, and birdie is a very strong possibility for you.
Bogey Beware: 4th Hole – 446 Yard Par 4 – A par five from the white and green tees, the lengthy 4th tests your merit early. Characterized by the Three Kings bunkers, called gold, frankincense, and myrrh, that flank the right side of the green, approach shots are daunting when the flag is tucked on that side of the putting surface. A sand dune frames the left side of the green and adds to the need for your approach shot to be laser-like with its accuracy. Speaking of accuracy, getting off the box is challenge number one to deal with as the fairway tightens down from 25 to 17 yards for long ballers that knock it more than 270 yards from the back tee.