Paraparaumu Golf Course. © Graeme Murray

Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club, Wellington

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New Zealand’s ‘spiritual home of golf,’ Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club is considered to be one of the best links courses in the Southern Hemisphere.  

To experience Paraparaumu is to play a course with a genuine heart and soul. Far from an exclusive environment or rural retreat, Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club is loved by members and visitors alike.

An hour north of Wellington, the course was designed in 1949, by Australian Open winner Alex Russell, a one-time partner of famed architect Dr Alister MacKenzie. Fellow Australian and five-time British Open winner Peter Thompson later described Paraparaumu as a ‘gem of enjoyment, a monument to the game and a gift to the future.’ 

Paraparam, as it is known locally, has featured in seven World Top 100 lists over the past 20 years; it has also hosted the New Zealand Open 12 times, a record unsurpassed by any other course. In 2002, Paraparaumu hosted the then world’s number one golfer, Tiger Woods, though surprisingly he finished fifth after barely making the cut, giving Paraparam the nickname ‘the course that tamed Tiger.’ To this day, it remains the only course Woods has played in New Zealand.

While it is difficult to describe Paraparaumu, the words ‘natural’ and ‘pure’ come to mind.   

While many courses today are built with teams of bulldozers, Paraparam was mainly created by nature. As a traditional links course, every shot demands thought and careful execution. The greens are firm and true, with the fairways providing a welcome respite from the natural dunes. The short par-3s are a distinctive feature, and often have a stiff breeze to contend with. While there are only a few, the well-designed, well-placed and well-built pot bunkers should be avoided for sake of your official score, but are irresistible to drop a few balls and test your sand game. 

The three kings guarding the 4th

A post shared by Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club (@paraparaumu_beach_golf_club) on May 6, 2018 at 9:58pm PDT

On the par 71 course, tee distances range from 2,839 – 6,014 metres. While the course is one of the best walks in New Zealand, golf carts and push carts are available, as are premium rental clubs. The facility has a fully stocked golf shop, locker rooms and a restaurant. 

Paraparam’s links style is complemented by Royal Wellington’s parkland layout less than an hour away.

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