'Variety, quirkiness, unfairness' – architect Frank Pont's essentials of a fun course

'Variety, quirkiness, unfairness' – architect Frank Pont's essentials of a fun course

One of Europe's leading architects, Frank Pont, picks out the key aspects of a fun course and names some of his favourites.

What are your five favourite 'fun' courses in GB&I?

Cruden Bay, Machrihanish, Pennard, Bamburgh Castle, Shiskine.

What are your favourite 'fun' holes in GB&I?

Cruden Bay from the 14th to the 16th, and Machrihanish Old's 2nd, 15th and 16th.

What does a course have to have to make you think it is fun?

Variety, unexpected situations, quirkiness, unfairness.

Is course architecture in this era leaning more towards fun courses rather than ones?

I would say the vast majority are leaning more towards boring courses…


How can an architect ensure a course is fun for all levels of player?

Use strategic design; wide fairways, asymmetry of defence of the green/hole and firm playing surfaces, especially greens.

Is most 'fun' created by architects around the green or can tee shots and approaches also have a fun element?

You can create fun anywhere on the course.

Does course set-up affect how fun a course is?

Yes, narrow fairways, deep rough and soft greens all are spoilers.

Is there a course where you think 'they got the fun element totally correct'?

Many of the modern strategic designs and the classic ones where they have kept tree growth in control and kept the fairways wide.

How much is fun an element in your own design work these days?

It is key, if people do not have fun playing your course, they will not come back, and your clients will not be happy.

Is it easier or more difficult to make a unique course such as (reversible) Links Valley fun?

A unique concept such as a reversible course isn’t fun by definition, it’s the design of the individual holes that makes it fun (or not).

NCG's Top 100 Fun Golf Courses in GB&I

Click here for the full list.

Want more?

What's the most fun golf course you've ever played? Let us know in the comments below or you can join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.