The beautiful 5,886 metre, par 72 layout has a front nine that plays in the shadow of the towering Le Morne mountain and a back nine that mostly plays alongside the Indian Ocean. With greens that have recently been renovated and reseeded with revolutionary Seashore Paspalum grass, which can be watered with salt water, Paradis now ranks alongside the best of the island’s courses and provides the golfer with some gorgeous holes and breathtaking views, especially on the back nine.
There are also more than a few hazards to challenge golfers, including the Indian Ocean itself, several streams, man-made canals and lakes, some deep bunkers and many fairways lined with trees that seem to have a magnetic attraction for golf balls. A strong sea breeze also frequently makes the course play longer than the distance on the card.
Stand out holes include the par four 12th and 13th, which play parallel to each other along a narrow strip of land at the northern end of the lagoon, the par five 16th and the par three 17th, which all play beside the ocean and have amazing views across the bay.
The 430 metre 16th, though short for a par five, can play very tough with the water waiting to catch anything you hit right for the entire length of the hole and a green that sits right on the end of the peninsula, completely exposed to the ocean breezes, which can be quite strong at this end of the island. Then the short par three 17th turns back along the other side of the peninsula to a green that’s also very close to the water.
The short 8th and stroke index one 9th are also great holes. At just 269 metres from the very back tees, the par four 8th should be driveable for big hitters if it wasn’t for the fact that there’s a rather large water hazard directly in front of the green. So, unless you can carry the ball 265 metres in the air with your drive, then it’s lay-up time off the tee with a mid iron, leaving you just a nine iron or wedge across the water to the well-bunkered green.
At 414 metres from the back tees, the par four 9th is definitely the toughest hole on the course – especially as there’s a large lake all down the right-hand side of the hole, which also cuts in front of the green and has to be carried with your second shot, frequently a long iron or fairway wood, into a stiff breeze.
Just in case you’re having a bad round at Paradis, it’s worth considering the sad and poignant tale attached to the Le Morne mountain which dominates the front nine and indeed most of the course.
Le Morne is where runaway slaves used to go and hide to avoid recapture and a return to slavery. Unfortunately, upon the abolition of slavery by the British in 1835, an expedition was sent to find the slaves and tell them that they were now free men and women. However, upon seeing a large group of people heading towards the mountains, the slaves thought that they were going to be recaptured and returned to slavery, so many of them leapt to their deaths from the top of Le Morne, preferring death to – they thought – further enslavement. This is a terrible tragedy that is still commemorated every year by the Mauritian people, and it certainly puts a bad round of golf into perspective.
After your round, bad or good, you can relax with a cold beer or juice in the large colonial-style clubhouse while watching people practising their putting on the practice green directly in front of the bar, or shop for one of the club’s elegant, very reasonably-priced shirts in the attached pro shop.
If you feel that your swing’s in need of some help, then the Paradis Golf Academy is close at hand with sophisticated computer software and two full-time, experienced professionals to sort out your weaknesses and make you feel good about golf again.