The Takeaway: Redtail enjoys privacy, service, and exclusivity that few courses can replicate which adds to the overall experience. However, the inconsistent identity in the look, feel, and style of the course hold it back from being as good as it could be. Grade C+
Designer: Donald Steel and Tom Mackenzie 1992
Phone Number: 519-633-4653
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Redtail Golf Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 7020 Mill Rd, Port Stanley, Ontario N5L 1J2 – CANADA
What to Expect: The mega exclusive Redtail Golf Club opened their course in 1992 before the two founding members, Chris Goodwin and John Drake, sold the club in 2021. The course is located south of London, Ontario about four miles north of Lake Erie as the crow flies. The secluded location offers an excellent opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of regular life and the onsite cottages allow you to stay multiple days. While the facilities and service are top notch, the golf course itself is a bit mismatched on the front nine with a consistent theme being missed. At first you think it is a links course, then suddenly you are on a tight tree lined hole, and suddenly you are hitting to a peninsula green par three with stone facing. The links theme resurfaces on the back nine but it is the 18th hole that shines as the best offering at Redtail; a par five with trees on one side and impressive bunkering the whole way home. A variety of water hazards come into play as do ravines that deliver plenty of challenge throughout the routing. The turf is kept in good condition which is helped by the fact that the course doesn't get a ton of play and you'll find fescue lining many of the fairways. Since the course was built for two businessmen's personal use in the first place, there are only two sets of tees on the golf course which can make it extra challenging for ladies or seniors that are accustomed to shorter hole lengths. In the end, the remote setting is nice, but the lack of consistent feel and some amateur design features holds the course back from being one of Canada's elite tracks.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 9th Hole – 147 Yard Par 3 – A one-shotter to a peninsula green set against a steep hillside, the closing hole on the front nine is a do or die offering. Clear the water and you'll have a great look at birdie, but come up short and you'll be scrambling to save a bogey. While the natural inclination might be to go long given the giant backstop behind the green, but for your best chance at carding a two you'll need to stay below the hole by just carrying it onto the front edge.
Best Par 3: 14th Hole – 172 Yards – No bunkering is needed on the final one-shotter of the course that sees a ravine with water separating the tee from the green as well as a tightly mown chipping area short of the putting surface. The elevated green is twice as deep as it is wide and missing left will send balls to a ravine, so accuracy is paramount for success here.
Best Par 4: 10th Hole – 408 Yards – The back nine starts out with a strong par four that plays straight away for just over 300 yards before taking a nearly 90 degree turn left over a rough covered depression that fronts the green. Two deep bunkers protect the front two corners of the green while an amphitheater of trees surrounds the back and a ravine flanks the left. You are going to need some shot making to get your back nine started with a par.
Best Par 5: 18th Hole – 520 Yards – The best hole at Redtail is also its last; a par five traversing back past the clubhouse. The tee shot features a prominent tree in the middle of the fairway where staying left of it will shorten the hole but also risks bringing the thick tree line into play along the left edge of the hole. The fairway ribbons towards the green with the terrain pushing balls left which is why two deep bunkers exist on that side of the green. In a match play situation this is a great hole to get aggressive on and press for a birdie to close out on.
Birdie Time: 13th Hole – 481 Yard Par 5 – If you've been hiding a draw in your bag, now is the time to pull it out. A power draw around the corner of this short par five will put you in the go zone to reach the green in two with a mid to long iron that simply needs to carry the bunker 25 yards short of the green to open up a great birdie chance. The long, skinny green features three bunkers protecting the front but the majority of the green is unprotected and should encourage players to hit to the center of the putting surface.
Bogey Beware: 3rd Hole – 470 Yard Par 4 – The longest par four on the course greets players early in the round and plays northeasterly with the wind often coming across from the player's left which wants to push balls towards the heavy tree line along the right. The approach shot must carry the cross hazard that is just shy of the green and then hope to find the correct tier of the undulated green. Hitting the green in regulation is a rarity, add to it one of the most challenging putting surfaces on the course, and even a two putt isn't a given once you are on board.