Set out between the World Heritage rainforest and The Great Barrier Reef (Australia), the fairways at Paradise Palms Cairns 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.
There has been, however, a major sacrifice along the way. What was the course’s signature hole, the picturesque downhill par-3 7th, was taken out of play early last year to make way for an access road into the first residential development area of 585 luxury units. Another, 267 units will be built on the land once occupied by the 7th hole.
A redesign to the course and reconfiguration of the routing to cover the loss of the 7th hole have worked well.
A round now starts from the original 10th tee – a long par-5 with water flanking the right edge of the fairway for the second half of the journey to the green. The old par-5 1st hole has been reduced to a par-4 and plays as the new 10th hole with a new green built just beyond a water hazard that cuts the fairway in two. The new 11th hole is a par-3 with a tee constructed behind the new 10th green and plays to the original 1st green.
Almost 250 metres has been added to the length of the course in the past 12 months with new tees being built on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 10th and 18th holes, bringing a number of hazards and bunkers back into play.
Visiting green fees at Paradise Palms 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.