Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club - 11th November 2011

Golf at it’s purest!

A remarkable links course and the host to 12 New Zealand Open. I wasn’t really expecting such a true links course in New Zealand and Paraparaumu Beach took me by surprise.

The layout of the course is brilliant and it’s laid out on the land as God created it – very natural. The dunes are significant and the holes are nestling their way through the dune land. The size of the land is not that big, but you don’t get the feeling that the holes are close to each other. I like the variation of the holes and the relative tight fairways – ball position is important.

There are not that many bunkers, but they are well placed. A number of greens are elevated and hard to stick the ball on. Make sure you use the contours of the course. The course is in very good condition and I certainly like the tight firm fairways and greens – links conditions as it shall be.

As on any links course, the wind will determine how tough the course will be and that’s also the case at Paraparaumu Beach. I was playing it with just a very light breeze and sunny clear blue sky – perfect.

There are a number of very good holes and in particular on the back nine:

Hole 13 – 408 meters par 4

Get it all out of your drive and place it long down the middle of the fairway – you’ll need the distance to have the right club for the approach shot. Club selection is key for your second and to stick the ball on the elevated green – short of green will roll the ball a long way back down the slope, be long and it’s even worse. Placed the drive in the semi rough to the left. Second shot was just short of green and I got the punishment. Pitch up to 5 meters from hole and a two put for a bogey 5.

Hole 16 – 126 meters par 3

Great short hole and similar to the famous “postage stamp” hole at Royal Troon. The tee shot must be accurate because you’ll have step slopes away from the green at the back, to the right and front. “Valley of death” will await you to the right of green. 9-iron short left of green, pitch to about 6 meters from hole and a two put for a bogey 4. I should have made a par in this light breeze.

Hole 17 – 404 meters par 4

Tough hole! You have the choice to play on either the upper left fairway or the lower right fairway. The right gives you a shorter and almost blind approach shot. The left requires a longer second shot. The choice is yours! OK drive to the middle of the right lower fairway, 3-iron short of green, pitch to about 10 meters from hole and one put for a par. That’s the way to play this hole for the average golfer.

I played some good golf today and was striking the irons really well. Was also able to put the ball in a good position for the next shot – just playing well. Did a four over par 39 on the front nine and four over par 40 on the back. Breaking 80 again with a total of 79 shots (gross). The putting was also very solid today. I’m very pleased with my game for the moment.

Paraparaumu Beach is a remarkable links course. Ad the Kiwi hospitality to this and you’ll have an extraordinary experience.

Many Thanks to Leo Barber (General Manager at Paraparaumu Beach) for hosting me and giving me the insight of the club and how to play the course.

Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club