Jonathan Gaunt returns to Breinholtgård for renovation project

  • Breinholtgard
    Mogens Mikkelson

    Jonathan Gaunt is renovating Breinholtgård in Denmark, with the par-three ninth on the Sletten nine one of the first holes to be completed

  • Breinholtgard
    Gaunt Golf Design

    The Sletten nine’s fourth hole has been extended into an area of grassland beyond the green, converting it from a par three to a four

  • Breinholtgard
    Gaunt Golf Design

    Gaunt’s new master plan will see work on every hole of the course

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

Jonathan Gaunt has returned to Breinholtgård Golf Club in Esbjerg, Denmark, to lead a renovation of all 27 holes.

Gaunt designed the first eighteen holes at the club, located a few kilometres off the west coast of Denmark on the Jutland peninsula, in 1992 for previous owner Preben Christensen. “I was quite young at the time, 28 years old or so, when I designed 18 holes – the Sletten and Skoven nines,” said Gaunt. “A local building architect, Michael Møller, designing the Ådalen nine on his own later. Breinholtgård has happily, and profitably, operated since then and a few years back I was invited to the club’s 25th anniversary. I went to the event and was asked, ‘when are you going to come back and advise on some course improvements for us?’.”

Following the event, Gaunt returned to the club twice and soon after completed a full course review and created a master plan with various recommendations across all three nines.

Gaunt began work on the fourth and ninth holes of the Sletten nine in autumn 2021, with Polish contractor All Golf Services. Work will resume on the nine this coming autumn and all 27 holes will be renovated within two to three years.

“Our work on Sletten’s par-three ninth included creating a new spring-fed irrigation lake, extending the green, rebunkering, and creating a new tee complex… it is effectively a new hole,” said Gaunt. “At the fourth, another par three, we have extended that hole into an area of grassland beyond the green. We’ve turned it from a par three to a four so that nine has now become a par 36.

“The site is amazing – it’s rolling heathland, pine woodland and sandy grassland… it’s a really beautiful site, with wider views of the surrounding forest and farmland.

“What is nice is that 25 years later they still want me back. I admit the course wasn’t exactly what I would have wanted, especially as the contractor at the time of the build hadn’t worked on a golf course before. It’s been good to come back and put right some of those things that didn’t quite work out 25 years ago and to have a second chance at creating the course I envisioned.”

Breinholtgård is keeping 18 holes open at all times during the work. “Trying to keep a full 18 open throughout a renovation process can be quite difficult,” said Gaunt. “But at Breinholtgård, we don’t have that problem and can crack on making the necessary changes without disrupting play.”

A version of this article first appeared in the April 2022 issue of Golf Course Architecture. For a printed subscription or free digital edition, please visit our subscriptions page.