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Golf in Godzone: Paraparam Surpasses Titirangi

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Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland

“No doubt Alister MacKenzie would have been impressed by his star pupil’s accomplishment and indeed the Good Doctor might even be surprised that Russell’s work surpassed his own seven hours up the road at Titirangi!”

Paraparaumu Beach, known by Kiwis as “Paraparam” comes under the keen eye of Golf Club Atlas. Widely accepted throughout the golf world as THE golf site for course reviews and intelligent discussions on golf architecture.

The Golden Age of golf course architects includes the likes of Alister MacKenzie, Harry Colt, Hugh Alison, Stanley Thompson, and Perry Maxwell and we’re reminded that Alex Russell started his work at “Paraparam” the same year that Donald Ross passed away.

Ran Morrisett writes, “Paraparaumu falls outside the Golden Age of golf course design but all of the Golden Age design tenets were successfully embraced here. Pity that its remote location hindered the new breed of architects from studying it and being reminded as to what is important (capturing varied landforms within the holes, interesting green complexes) and what isn’t (plush turf, bunkers used for decorative purposes off on sides of holes).”

There are marvellous photographs to back up Ran’s written words of wisdom. And commenting on the second hole, Ran writes, “One of the strengths of a Russell design is its set of one shooters and that certainly holds true at Paraparaumu. As a sign of the ongoing good work by the club, the walking path as seen in the photograph above has been re-routed out of view.”

Not so sure about “one shooters” but I do believe Titirangi prides itself in having four of the best one-shotters in New Zealand. In other words when taken as a group of four short holes on one golf course, then there’s none better

Leo Barber, Paraparam’s General Manger commenting to the changes made to the course prior to his appointment says, “Often when courses/clubs go through these periods the simple reaction is to look for superficial fixes – create more length, build new bunkers, redesign some greens all the while neglecting the fundamental issues that led to the situation.”

Alas ain’t that the truth. So many times when there’s a changing of the guard and the wannabe golf course architects get their chance.

Paraparaumu Beach is a must play and the Golf Club Atlas review a must read for Kiwis to remind them just how blessed they are to have such a great course to play at a reasonable price.

Incidentally with reference to the previously mentioned Golden Age architects, Stanley Thompson’s Highland Links has just been reviewed by Top 100 golfer.

Here’s the link to Golf Club Atlas and to Top 100 Golfer

Quote of the day
“Paraparaumu will be famed for a century yet.” – Five times Open Champion Peter Thomson commenting on the longevity of a legendary golf course

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