Paradise Palms Country Club

Paradise found: par-five 18th, Paradise Palms, Brendan James

‘Paradise’ is appropriately named. Situated 25 minutes north of Cairns, and just off the Captain Cook Highway, this is a beautiful golf course. The rainforest-covered Great Dividing Range dominates the view north and west. Some afternoons, when the air humidity creeps up to the 90 to 100 percentile, low clouds can be seen drifting on the breeze beneath the highest ridges of the range. Days like this leave you in no doubt that Paradise Palms is one of the most exquisite places in Queensland to play golf, something the population and residential boom in the surrounding area will never diminish.

The quality of the golf course, designed by Graham Marsh and Ross Watson, reaffirms that impression. Rolling fairways are lined with dense stands of eucalypts, tropical vegetation (including the occasional mango tree) and strategically placed bunkers. Often they are flanked by one of six man-made lakes. Several creeks also zigzag through the layout.

Some of these creeks cut in front of the tees, yet it is not until you reach the testing 6th hole, a 394-metre par-four, that you become wary of hitting your ball into one. A precisely judged drive is needed if you are to finish close to but short of a creek located 214 metres from the middle tees. The nearer you get to it, the bigger your chance of reaching the green in two shots. From the edge of the creek it is 132 metres to the centre of a slightly elevated putting surface.

Water is also a concern on the opening two holes of the back nine. A huge lake dominates the right side of the 10th fairway for the second half of its 526-metre journey between tee and green. This is one par-five, because of its length and the ominous presence of the lake, that doesn’t offer up birdies on a platter.

Another creek comes into play on the 362-metre, par-four 11th. Unless you hit a cracker drive, it might be best to lay up with your second shot. If your tee shot almost reaches the bunker on the fairway’s right edge, you can go for the green. Wrapping right round the green, creating a semi-island landing area, is the creek.

After a period when the condition of the course deteriorated under its former owners, Paradise Palms is on the rise again. A Cairns-based company, Vision Hotels and Resorts, bought the layout in 2007 and has injected significant money into lifting its presentation and wooing people back to Paradise Palms. Graham Marsh was commissioned to devise a masterplan for rebuilding several holes. The tees on others have been improved. Conditioning problems, such as the encroachment of couch grass on the bermuda grass greens, have been addressed. Several badly affected greens have been resurfaced with smoother, fine-leaf, bermuda tifeagle grass.

This is merely the tip of the iceberg. All the greens will eventually be tifeagle, the 2nd and 15th holes will have new greens, several other holes will be lengthened and a further four holes will be built from scratch: the 8th, 9th, 10th and 18th. It’s all to do with the course’s rebirth as part of an exclusive $500 million residential estate and family resort.

Memorable holes

4th, 6th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 18th

Where to go

Paradise Palms Dr, Kewarra Beach, Queensland 4579

Book a round

(07) 4059 9901,  

www.paradisepalms.com.au

Where to stay

Paradise Palms Resort, adjacent to the clubhouse, has 96 self-contained luxury rooms and apartments. Play-and-stay packages are available.

Before/after your round

If you have kids, they will love the Pelicans in Paradise park between the course and the resort. It has a 25-metre terrace pool, an adventure playground and an 18-hole mini-golf course.

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