Golf: Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club

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Full name of the club: Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club

Physical address of the club: 376 Kapiti Road, Paraparaumu Beach

Brief history of the club: Golf was first played over the dunes at Paraparaumu Beach in 1929 when a group of enthusiasts formed a rudimentary 9 hole layout extending to 18 in 1937. Purchased by a syndicate of Wellington businessmen, the course was incorporated into their plans for a housing subdivision and in 1949, former Australian Open winner Alex Russell, who had designed several high profile courses on Melbourne's sandbelt, including Royal Melbourne, was engaged to create a course capable of hosting the country's most important golfing events and the Paraparaumu Beach golf course as we know it today was crafted.

Key personnel: Doug Whyte was possibly the most influential figure of the club's 67 year history. As a former chairman of both the BNZ and Golden Bay Cement, Whyte was one of the clubs founders holding the position of President from 1955-71. He was instrumental in the creation of the Caltex tournaments, an annual fixture on 18 occasions from 1955 and New Zealand's first truly professional event played for prize money.

Paraparaumu Beach has been blessed with some remarkable golfing talent over its history. Lance Phelps was a long term Wellington representative and as an incredibly talented golfer and held no less than 10 club championship titles (and a further 13 at Martinborough). John Durry was a member from the 1960's and claimed 9 club championships and 4 New Zealand Amateur titles including the 1979 championship here on his home course.

Steve Williams is probably Paraparaumu Beach's most famous member. Steve joined the club in the late 1970's and whilst becoming an accomplished golfer in his own right found caddying more of an interest, first carrying the bag for members and then when his father arranged for Steve to caddy for Peter Thomson in the New Zealand Open, Steve was literally hooked. Steve has gone on to caddy for the likes of Greg Norman, Tiger Woods and Adam Scott and has carried the bag in 14 major victories. Steve Williams was recently made an Honorary Member of Paraparaumu Beach.

Course description: Paraparaumu Beach is a true links course modelled on some of the great links layouts of the British Isles and Ireland. At just over 6,000m it is not considered overly long by modern standards but through a combination of world class strategic design, small greens, deep pot bunkers, natural undulation and the ever present wind it has tested the world's best golfers and provides interest and challenge for golfers of all abilities.

Best hole:The 17th at Paraparaumu Beach is an example of great strategic design with its unique dual fairway offering both triumph and disaster in equal measure and making it so compelling. Taking the left route, to even reach safety you need to be long and precise off the tee, but you're rewarded by a straight forward approach directly through the axis of this long green. By taking the direct route you're faced with a second shot that needs to carry two bunkers and land softly lest you take a trip into the "valley of despair".

Best feature of the course: Paraparaumu Beach is "golf at its purest. A course that consistently rates amongst the world's top 100, Paraparaumu Beach is regarded as one of the best links courses in the Southern Hemisphere. A true links that has been shaped by nature playing over the wonderful unspoilt dunes of the Kapiti Coast.

Course would best suit what type of player: With clever strategic design and five different tee blocks, the course can both challenge the better player yet engage with those that themselves are more challenged. Whether you are breaking the course record or breaking a hundred for the first time, a game at Paraparaumu Beach can be enjoyed and savoured by all levels of golfers.

Cost of membership: Paraparaumu Beach offers a range of membership options to suit various lifestyles and ages. Full membership is available for $1,410 with those under 30 years ($930) and under 25 years ($465), providing a pathway into the game. 9 Hole options are available as are seasonal and out of town memberships.

Cost of green fees: $75 Non Affiliated $65 Affiliated (9 Holes 50%).

- NZ Herald

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