Sunday, December 27, 2009

Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club

When I set out to drive to the South Island of New Zealand I knew I would be passing one of New Zealand's best golf courses. However, it is a mystery to me why I waited until the end of my trip to play this course. Paraparaumu (or 'Paraparam' in the local vernacular) is one of the few true links courses you can play anywhere in the world. The golf holes here are found simply amonst the nature of the dunes. The course is fairly short, mostly in the length of the reachable par 5's. But the course defends itself well with some narrow fairways, long fescue rough, and some tricky green sites.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Joshua C. F. Smith : Golf Course Landscape Paintings

I am posting a link to this website because I admire his work. Anyone who is a fan of great landscape art will enjoy, golfer or not.

Joshua C. F. Smith : Golf Course Landscape Paintings

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Chisholm Park Golf Links

I finally found a true New Zealand Links! Chisholm Park rolls on top of large sand dunes and perches itself on a cliff above St. Kilda Beach just 10 minutes from Dunedin's city center. Holes 9, 10, and 11 afford golfers spectacular views of the coastline and surrounding city.
The proximity to the ocean and stunning views draw close comparison bewteen the 10th at Chisholm Park and Pacific Dune's 4th along the cliff's edge in Bandon, Oregon.

Comparing the level of conditioning would be unfair however, Chisholm boasts only 2 green keepers! The fairways exhibited inconsistent turf conditions but the greens rolled surprisingly well. If you are a fan of the links Chisholm Park is cant miss while traveling in New Zealand.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Finding New Zealand's Links

I started my search 7 days ago after I arrived in Picton from the ferry in Wellington. I have been to 7 golf courses since landing on the south island and the golf got better as I dicovered some great links in Dunedin and Invercargill. Leave it to the Scots to pass on the great tradition of golf amongst the dunes. Pictures to come!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Kiwi Challenge at Cape Kidnappers: Practice Session

Here are some up to the minute pictures of Anothy Kim, Camillo Villegas, and Sean O'hair warming up on their first day before the Kiwi Challenge.

Kiwi Challenge at Cape Kidnappers

The Kiwi Challenge is about to kick off its second annual event tomorrow November 11, 2009 at the Cape Kidnappers golf course. There have been many preparations to get the golf course and surrounding facilities ready for the tournament to feature four of the world’s best young golfers: Anthony Kim, Sean O’hair Scott, Camillo Villegas, and returning champion Hunter Mahan. The winner of the 36- hole stroke play event will win 2.4 million kiwi dollars (about 1.7 million USD). Not bad for two days work.
The golf course should play firm through the fairways despite a few recent rain showers and the greens are in pristine condition. Don’t expect any really low scoring if the wind picks up, the golf course will be stretched over 7200 yards.

Cape Kidnappers

Here are some more photos of Cape Kidnappers and some surrounding areas. Although in a far off island, as soon as I stepped on the golf course I felt completely at home. Cape Kidnappers is an incredible setting for golf. My first round at the Cape was truly about the scenery.
I played in a strong gale, similar to the summer conditions I found at Bandon Dunes. Even as the wind howled though I could clearly hear the song birds hover above me as I played, quite amazing. The golf course definitely was able to match its setting as well, a great test of golf.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Caddying for Tom Doak: Part II

Mr. Doak shows up to the first tee with no golf bag and decides that he will borrow clubs from the other three players in the group. This is the second time I have walked 18 holes at Old Macdonald. Back in April I was privileged to play with Mr. Doak and three other intern candidates. The golf course was largely incomplete and we played half on the sand and half on the grass. This time the entire golf course is grassed and reasonably ready for some golf. Mr. Doak is completely in his element and seems relaxed and observant as always. He acts as conductor, telling the group where to place their shots and how far to hit their golf ball (he made my job easy that day). As the day proceeds Mr. Doak moves some of the flag sticks on the new greens, as he deems them "unplayable". I find this a bit amusing. It is an insight for me about the struggle for creative control as a golf course architect.

Mr. Doak hits a few snap hooks, but hits the ball pretty good for someone with his travel schedule and no clubs. I asked where he had been travelling from and got a response that included New York City, Scotland, Netherlands, India, and China. It is clear to see that Doak will be travelling to the corners of the world to design his golf courses and I will have to do the same if I want to get in on the fun.Mr. Doak has an encyclopedic response to almost any question there is to be answered about his designs or the classics. There is not much time for small talk, something I quickly learned while working construction at Old Macdonald. This allows me to focus on my own thoughts as well and make my questions count. There is so much knowledge of golf design to soak up from a master craftsman like Doak, I try to absorb everything I see and hear.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Caddying for Tom Doak

I awoke before dawn to prepare for a day caddying at the Bandon Dunes golf resort. A warm shower and two eggs over easy got me out the door by 6:00 am. "Jeff Stein, 10 minute call, Pacific Dunes." By 7:30 am I am introducing myself to my group. They are 3 people from Shanghai and one man from Fort Lauderdale. The group is composed of a Chinese golf developer, his two associates and a land planning executive, from Fort Lauderdale. They are at Bandon Dunes to absorb its beauty and to take notes.

I am carrying for Mr. Han Xiding. He is developing a resort which will host Mr. Doak's two newest golf courses on Hainan Island, in the southwest of China. The first course will break ground in November, on an island in the Nandu River. Mr. Doak told me that it would be the equivalent of putting a golf course on Roosevelt Island in NYC. This golf course will be adjacent to the capital city of Haikou. The second is going to be a large project at the northernmost point of the island, at Mulan Bay, with lots and lots of rocky coastline and sandy hills (

Tomorrow we will be joined by Tom Doak on his newest creation, Old Macdonald Golf links.