The Graham Marsh course portfolio extends to over fifty courses in more than a dozen countries worldwide and Paradise Palms is one of his earliest designs, opening a few years after his architectural skills were first employed in the mid 1980s.
Set out between the World Heritage rainforest and The Great Barrier Reef, the fairways at Paradise Palms hardly resemble the normal style of hole found on a resort course. Many of them are tough to play, bounded on either side by dense woodland and a number also feature creeks that wind across fairways and in front of greens.
The first hole, a left doglegged par five, sets the tone for the round. It’s a genuine three shotter with thick rough either side of a fairway that leads to a well-bunkered green – no easing into a round at Paradise Palms.
The par three 7th is regarded as the signature hole on the scorecard where the tee shot is played to a green protected by water to the front right with a creek crossing in front of the putting surface.
Visiting green fees include the use of a cart and – for the more energetic – entry to the swimming, tennis and beach volleyball facilities at the sport and leisure club. Visitors are also welcome to enter a variety of weekly competitions for both social and serious golfers.
Sadly, in 2019, Paradise Palms closed its tees
for play pending redevelopment of the site for housing, school, retirement
village and tourist park.
Unfortunately for Tyson (below) there will be no next time playing Paradise Palms as the true intentions of the current owners are now clear. The course has been closed, the turf from the greens ripped up and sold and all of the irrigation facilities removed. And not surprisingly, a development application has gone in to turn the gazetted 'sports facility' land into residential land and a subdivision into about 400 houses.
Having relatives in North Qld, I'd played Paradise Palms a number of times and was always impressed by the layout and the conditioning. Alas, no more. Golfers looking for the best tropical courses in this part of Australia will need to travel an hour further north to Port Douglas to play SeaReef or Mirage, two resort courses close to the ocean but without views of it.
This round takes me to 85 courses played of the Australian Golf Digest magazine! The course has an excellent layout, but unfortunately its best days may be behind it, unless a significant investment is made which I hope happens to help the area and the course.
Good elevation is seen here with holes rising and dropping off quite well, and directional change amongst this typical bushland / parkland type of course helps its appeal.
Water plays a role with creeks and man made lakes making you think about best position be it through a carry or lay up shot, as do the bunkers that are littered throughout the course, but are in need of a makeover.
Great natural setting for the course, hopefully next time I'm up this way the course will be thriving.