Designed by Gary Player’s design company, the Fish River Sun golf course near Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape is truly one of the most disappointing layouts in all of South Africa. This has some of the worst shaping work we’ve seen on a modern resort course, and the use of the sites natural features is appalling. The river running across the site features on just a handful of tame holes, the par five 12th horseshoeing the hazard is OK but the next is a bland par four where you blast straight across the water. The par five 16th is equally unimpressive, here the river cuts the fairway 150 metres from the green, hurting only those unable to hit their first two shots 400 metres.
Sadly for fans of seaside golf, your first glimpse of this course is a little misleading. The layout is framed by big, rugged coastal dunes that don’t actually come into play at all. The shape that does exist internally is generally attacked in a linear manner, the cross-ridge 10th about the only exception where sideslope is incorporated into the design of a hole.
The site itself at Fish River looks better at first glance than it really is, but this is a terrible piece of design and a really poor course as a result. Construction is horrible, the small, hidden pit bunkers and ugly mound bunkers totally unappealing to the eye and unstrategic as well. Shame, but for serious fans of design this golf course is definitely best avoided.