The Forecaddie Manifesto

Architect David McLay Kidd once shared a story that could almost serve as Forecaddie’s mission statement.

Kidd — designer of the original Bandon Dunes course — told of how he had been playing a round in Ireland with Mike Keiser — owner Bandon Dunes — at one of the best and hardest courses in the world. People travel the world for the chance to play this course.

Kidd asked Keiser how he ranked the course. Top 5 in the world, was the answer.

But — and here’s the important part — Keiser then asked if they were having any fun. Neither of them said yes. The course was magnificent but it was an absolute brute that brings the top players in the world to their knees, say nothing of mere morals. It was a slog to play.

Too often, we find ourselves obsessed with playing what is considered the “best” or the “flashiest” or the “hottest” courses. We end up checking off boxes but we’re left unsatisfied.

Or, we’ll play local courses that are unmemorable and unremarkable. No strategy, no flair, no excitement. But it’s there and convenient so we play and it convince ourselves we’re enjoying ourselves on a much deeper level than we really are.

This is not what Forecaddie is about. Forecaddie is about fun golf courses. Courses that leave you energized and happy to be alive. Those are bold claims, but you probably know the type I’m talking about.

These courses can be found around the world, or in your own back yard. Wherever they are, they’re worth travel to. So in addition to helping you find fun golf courses, Forecaddie will help you plan trips to play them. Traveling for golf is one of the joys of the world, and all golfers should do it if they have the means.

So what is a “fun” golf course? Right off the bat I’ll say there is no one definition. Some of it is in the eye of the beholder; there are courses that I adore and hold up as my platonic ideal that others might be unmoved by.

But look at enough courses considered by all to be extremely fun and some commonalities start to emerge. No one course embodies all of these but there are some key attributes.

Fun courses tend to be more strategic and require you to think, rather than just swing. If you miss, you’ll be penalized but they’re not overtly penal.

These courses tend to be scenic and beautiful; being routed around and through stunning landscapes inspires and humbles and makes you want to come back for more.

Fun courses can be among the best in the world, or they can be local gems beloved by those who know about them but infrequently appearing on Best Of lists.

Surprise is a key trait; fun courses tend to be playful and unpredictable. They don’t always follow the “rules” for how a course should behavior, and they’re all the more interesting for it.

Fun course courses can be challenging; they can even be monsters. But that cannot be all they have going for them. There needs to be something more there.

A fun course will make you smile and sometimes even laugh at the challenges it throws at you.

There are other common traits that come to mind, such as variety, a sense of history and place, and uniqueness. Fun courses tend not to get overly hung up on length. They are usually friendly and welcoming places. They are eminently memorable. When you finish playing, all you can think of in the days and weeks that follow is how much you want to go play again.

All this describes hundreds, perhaps even thousands of golf courses. Some of the course I’ll be highlighting in Forecaddie you undoubtedly know about. Many others you’ll never have heard of.

But want I want this site to do is to connect golf lovers with these great, worthwhile, fun courses and to give you the tools you need to go play them. These courses are treasures that we should all experience. I hope I can help you do that.