About Us

Jonathan Gaunt (Director of Gaunt Golf Design Limited) has been a Senior Member of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects since 1997. Jonathan has earned a considerable reputation for imaginative and challenging golf course design on 4 continents.

Jonathan set his sights on becoming a golf course architect at an early age and soon became a proficient single figure handicap golfer. In 1985 he began his career as a Landscape Architect and in 1987 was awarded a Diploma in Landscape Architecture. The same year, Jonathan began working as a Golf Construction Site Manager on the Jubilee Course at Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, St. George’s Hill, Surrey and Goodwood Golf Club, West Sussex.

At the age of 25, Jonathan designed his first golf course – the highly successful 27-hole Chesfield Downs Family Golf Centre in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, now operated by The Club Company.

Since establishing his own architectural practice in 1990, Jonathan has designed over 40 new golf courses, including Linden Hall Hotel & Spa in Northumberland (voted in the top 10 new courses by Golf World), together with others, at Redlibbets in Kent, the award winning Wokefield Park in Berkshire, Magnolia Park in Buckinghamshire, Breinholtgard in Denmark, Ramside Hall Hotel in Durham, Castleknock in Dublin, Los Barrancos de la Zagaleta in Spain, Kaskada in Czech Republic and a complete reconstruction of The Carlson Farms Course at Greensboro CC in South Carolina, USA. See our Portfolio for full details.

Current work includes new projects at Twin Chapels in Prague, Czech Republic and numerous historic course remodelling projects in Denmark and UK, including Wildernesse, West Kent, Knole Park and Nizels in Kent, Whittington Heath in Staffordshire (HS2 project), Ruislip in London (HS2 project), Selby in Yorkshire, Cavendish in Derbyshire, Caddington in Bedfordshire and Castle Royle in Berkshire.

Team members:

Jonathan Gaunt
Director & Senior Golf Course Architect
Graham Parker
Senior CAD Engineer

Dougie Walker
Senior CAD Engineer/Golf Course Architect

Giulia Ferroni
Senior CAD Engineer/Golf Course Architect

Maja Mihajlovic

Joanna Faulhaber
Specialist Landscape Architect

Klaus Faulhaber
Landscape Architect and 3D Visualisation Specialist

Sam Henderson
3D Visualisation Specialist

The Team

The Gaunt Golf Design team has worked together successfully since 2006. Jonathan Gaunt, Director & Senior Golf Course Architect, has more than 30 years of experience in this specialist field, having designed and built more than 40 outstanding golf courses throughout Europe, Africa and North America.

At Gaunt Golf Design, our dedicated team works tirelessly to create your vision. We design and masterplan high profile tourist resorts and golf courses for hotels, property development companies, private members clubs, proprietary (pay and play) and council owned (municipal) courses.

Working with a trusted network of specialists in surveying, agronomy, ecology, engineering, irrigation, drainage and finance, we go through the CAD design process to ensure the golf course design will work and is within budget, before committing the client to unnecessary expense. This saves our clients precious time and money as potential pitfalls and problems are resolved on computer before golf course construction begins. We build our courses once only and ensure there is no need for any remedial work post course opening.

Our course designs both enhance and aim to minimise their ecological impact on the landscape, by sympathetically integrating the course into the existing site features and by increasing native habitats.

Our work on historically sensitive golf courses is sympathetic to the original design and intentions of the architect – be it Alister MacKenzie, Harry Colt, James Braid or Tom Simpson, to name but a few.

Ecological Impact

40 new golf courses since 1987

Since 1987 Jonathan Gaunt has been responsible for the design of 40 new golf courses, built on a variety of sites, including brownfield, coal shale pit heaps, landfill, intensively farmed monoculture arable and pasture land, monoculture farmed forest, and existing golf course sites. Taking farmland out of use and converting it to a golf course has numerous and multiple environmental benefits – reducing pesticide, herbicide and fertiliser use dramatically, thus reducing pollution of watercourses.

Our golf courses also include streams, swales, drainage ditches, lakes and ponds, designed to collect rainwater and manage it on site, thus reducing flood risk downstream. Our lakes and ponds are also designed as water storage for the golf course irrigation system, thus providing a sustainable solution – collecting water, storing it and then using it to keep the main grass playing areas healthy.

The total site area of these golf courses is 2215 hectares/5,471 acres (22 million sq. metres). This averages out at 55.4 hectares per site (554,000 sq.m).

Total percentage breakdown of habitats since 1987

The intensive grassland area of the golf course is in fact, less than 50% of the site area, the majority being taken up with low intensity maintained native grassland, native woodland and wetland/water features.

This has, on every golf course Jonathan has designed, given a significant opportunity for the owners and their greenkeeping team to encourage the establishment and further spread of native fauna and flora. Added to this is the attraction these habitats provide to birds, mammals, fish and invertebrates.

Total percentage breakdown of habitats since 1987:

  • 997 hectares intensive grassland
  • 443 hectares native grassland/heathland
  • 554 hectares native woodland
  • 222 hectares wetland/water features

Environmental habitats

As Jonathan is also a trained Landscape Architect he emphasises the ned to design into his golf courses a multiple variety of environmental habitats. This can be broken down as follows:

Percentage breakdown of habitats, per site

  • 45% intensive grassland (greens, tees, fairways, semi-rough)
  • 20% low intensity maintained native grassland/heathland
  • 25% native woodland/scrub
  • 10% wetland/water features

Jonathan has also been responsible for advising over 200 golf clubs/courses throughout Europe on the management and maintenance of woodland, heathland and grassland and how to maximise its potential to attract a wider range of fauna and flora. Added to this he has designed numerous new water features as aesthetic and strategic golf course features which, in addition, attract wildfowl, fish and invertebrates to establish and flourish.

We advise the Environment Agency on matters relating to flood attenuation and currently are working with them to find economical engineering solutions on 2 golf courses to prevent and manage flooding of residential areas further downstream following extreme storm/weather events.

High Speed Two

Also, we are working with High Speed Two Ltd to redesign and relocate golf courses affected by the new railway line. In relation to this we have been instrumental in designing landscape mitigation on golf courses for landscape habitats which will be lost as a result of the rail line construction. At Whittington Heath Golf Club in Lichfield we have designed 100,000 sq.m of new heathland and acid grassland habitat on the intensively farmed arable land that the replacement golf holes will be built upon. This has involved a specification to acidify the soils in advanmce of the heathland regeneration.

In addition to this, working closely with the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and Lichfield Council Conservation Team, we have designed native mixed woodland belts and wetland areas on the periphery of the new golf course to further integrate it into the existing landscape.

Jonathan also provides ongoing advice to a number of seaside links and heathland golf courses on SSSI’s (Sites of Special Scientific Interest), where the maintenance and management regime has been responsible for the environmental designation – a fact which is little known about outside the industry. It is these golf courses that are leading the way in terms of environmental responsibility and they are strongly supported by the R&A (Royal & Ancient – the governing body of the golf industry), England Golf, STRI (Sports Turf Research Institute), BIGGA (British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association) and GEO (Golf Environment Organisation).

Visit the Heathland, Parkland and Links pages



Go to the Heathland projects page



Go to the Links projects page



Go to the Parkland projects page

Historical Sensitivity

Our architectural work has always involved providing specialist advice to golf clubs where their courses have been designed by some of the most respected golf courses architects of their age. This work often comprises new greens, tees, bunkers, water features, heathland regeneration, woodland management and native grassland enhancement.

We specialise in historically sensitive redesign work and our experience over the past 30 years provides our clients with comfort that their course and the architect responsible for it is being respected. We enhance and improve upon the original design – in effect, bringing the course into the 21st century. To view some of our work on historic sites, you can view them by the original architect below.

View the courses designed by MacKenzie, Colt and Braid


Alister MacKenzie

Go to the Alister MacKenzie courses page


James Braid

Go to the DJames Braid courses page


Harry Colt

Go to the Harry Colt courses page