Redan Me!

Article by: Billy Satterfield

Golf magazines have made an increasing effort over the last handful of years to discuss course architecture more often and not just swing instruction. I was happy to see the February 2016 issue of Golf magazine had a feature on Redan golf holes. This is probably the most copied template hole there is and draws its inspiration from the 15th hole on the West Links at North Berwick in Scotland. I'll have to count sometime, but I'm sure I've played at least a dozen Redan holes in my travels and I'll include some pictures I've taken of various ones so that you can get a feel for what is entailed. Some will be traditional Redan holes and others are Reverse Redan holes where the same concept is built but mirrors the original. The attached Golf magazine article will give plenty of explanation about what a Redan hole is so I won't add anything to that and will instead focus on the two Redans you'll face at Bandon.

Golf magazine's article on Redan holes
Golf magazine's article on Redan holes

The first Redan to go in was the 17th at Pacific Dunes which tips out at 189 yards, but length isn't the difficult part with a Redan, it is placement. Anyone choosing to go pin seeking at a left pin is a fool . . . end of discussion. Now, you don't have to take my advice here and can simply fire at any pin placement just like you can choose to use your lob wedge around the greens at Bandon, and then each evening over dinner I will listen with great earnestness about how you managed to fire a smooth little 97 that day.

The Redan 17th Hole at Pacific Dunes
The Redan 17th Hole at Pacific Dunes

The next Redan, and frankly the better of the two from a green tilt standpoint, is the 12th hole at Old Macdonald. The pictures I've included aren't as sexy as Pacific Dunes, but don't let that influence you on how fun, and painful, this hole can be. Rather than listening to my take on this hole, I'll let course architect Tom Doak give you a personal tour.

The Redan 12th Hole at Old Macdonald
The Redan 12th Hole at Old Macdonald

Tom also had this to say about Old Macdonald's 12th hole, "The most-imitated hole in the world is the par-3 15th at North Berwick, Scotland, known as the Redan, after a Crimean War fortress in Russia which was in the news when it was built. The plateau green runs away from a high shoulder at the right front to the back left, with a deep bunker guarding the left flank of the green. Our Redan is a bit different; the left bunker does not come across the front of the green as far as would be typical for the hole, but the bank of the green feeds short balls out to the bunker. Only a straight fade will work here."

Side view of the 12th green at Old Macdonald
Side view of the 12th green at Old Macdonald

As Tom said, Redan is the most imitated hole in the world. Some of them are crown jewel examples and other may go unnoticed by the untrained eye; here are photos from various Redan par threes you may encounter:

7th Hole at Black Creek Club
7th Hole at Black Creek Club

11th Hole at Black Creek Club
11th Hole at Black Creek Club

8th Hole at The Creek Club
8th Hole at The Creek Club

4th Hole at National Golf Links of America
4th Hole at National Golf Links of America

3rd Hole at Piping Rock
3rd Hole at Piping Rock

7th Hole at Shinnecock Hills
7th Hole at Shinnecock Hills

7th Hole at Sleepy Hollow Country Club
7th Hole at Sleepy Hollow Country Club

2nd Hole at Somerset Hills County Club
2nd Hole at Somerset Hills County Club

13th Hole at The Course at Yale
13th Hole at The Course at Yale