Paraparaumu is a very unique course for NZ, and a true links course. The routing is unique and well thought out, although slightly confusing upon first play. The greens played very hard and fast, as did the fairways. Some of the tabletop greens were almost impossible to hold, particularly on the par 3 5th where my playing partner and I both took turns chipping over the green and down the steep dropoffs on either side. 6, 7 and 8 was a really special run of holes. 10, 11, and 12 however, were very straightforward and rather boring, particularly 12 which was an unspectacular par 5. 13 and 14 were great, but the last four holes weren't too special. 15 felt awkwardly placed, and 16 was incredibly, incredibly difficult when the greens were as hard and fast as they were on the day we played. The routing of 17 was very confusing, and 18 was another dull par 5 coming back in.
The greens were fast, but very flat. Rather than so many tabletop greens, it would have been more interesting to see some different slopes. The front 9 was more cohesive and enjoyable than the back 9. I enjoyed PBGC, but it didn't live up to its lofty reputation for me. With that said, it's the best links golf in NZ. A more attractive setting might help it as well, as when you see an aerial shot you realize just how close it is to the sea, so that would make a nicer backdrop than the suburban houses and schools that are on offer instead. Absolutely worth playing in any case.
Date: April 10, 2021