Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Template Series - #2 Redan

The 4th at NLGA - the best I know

My favorite hole concept is the Redan because the concept favours intelligence and creativity over strength.
The name Redan is used to describe a green that falls away diagonally from right to left. The original Redan hole is still played at North Berwick and is thought to be a creation of the green keeper David Strath. That hole is partially blind with a carry over a couple of bunkers used to indicate the line for the bounced in approach. The left diagonal is defined and defended by the two deep fronting bunkers. The original Redan also features three very deep bunkers on the far side of the approach used to collect any tee shot played through the intended line.

The Creek Club - par four approach

Strategically the hole is set up by the diagonal line created by the front left bunkers. This is then reinforced by the green following the same diagonal. Due to the green’s slope towards the back left the player is provided with two options. The player must carry the bunkers and hold the shot with a hard cut, or play around the front bunkers using a draw to cascade the ball onto the green. Playing around requires deft touch since playing through the intended line will place the ball in the right side bunkers. The recovery is almost impossible since the green runs away from play.
The best position to miss may be long which goes against your instincts. The joy of the hole remains the dilemma from the tee, do you play the high fade with no margin for error or a slight draw and trust the ground to get the job done. This is all possible because of the clever green. Not only the fall from right to left, but also the subtle backstop that will help hold the well hit fade or corral the well positioned draw.

Sommerset Hills - Tillinghast's gem of a Redan

This concept is good that almost every great architect has their own version. The entire hole was copies extensively by Macdonald Raynor and Banks. They even found occasion to use it in par fours and in reverse too. There are versions by Tillinghast, Thomas and Flynn just to name a few. The one thing these architects tended to do was make the concept visible from the tee.
This is the greatest concept the game has ever produced because of the options from the tee and the clear reward for skillful play.

Chicago - built on flat land

So how do I use this template?

This is such an obvious choice as a three. But I do think the concept has a great opportunity to be used in more par fours. I think mid to long fours with this feature would create a lot of interest for the approach shot. The option from the tee would also involve how you want to attack the concept. Having the chance to play aggressively left may make the high cut an easier approach. This certainly opens up some interesting concepts that can be extended out from the green site.


15th at North Berwick
4th at National Golf Links of America
1st at the Creek Club (par four)
12th at Fishers Island (reverse Redan four)

The List:

#1 Riviera
#2 Redan


  1. Suggested holes as templates:

    Par 3s: Kingston Heath 15th hole, The Golf Club (OH) 3rd hole, National Golf Links 4th hole, Jasper Park 4th Hole.

    Par 5s: Bethpage Black 4th hole, Crystal Downs 8th Hole.

    Par 4s < 400 yd: Cape Breton Links 4th hole, Pacific Dunes 16th hole, Pasatiempo 16th hole.

    Par 4s 400+ yd: Pine Valley 16th hole, Melbourne 17th hole, County Down 13th hole, Dornoch 4th hole, Oakmont 18th hole, Shinnecock 9th hole, Riviera 2nd hole, Sand Hills 12th hole, Plainfield 7th hole.

  2. The redan concept has to be used very carefully in design. The reverse redan that you designed at hole #6, at the Saskatoon Golf & Country Club, doesn't provide many options: hit it high with spin. From the forward tees, seniors, women, and higher handicappers don't have any opening to run the ball on, and they don't generate enough spin to fly the ball on the green and make the ball stop.

  3. Vic,

    One of the "other" factors that went into planning the holes at Saskatoon was establishing a couple of key moments where you flat out had to hit a great shot. Since there are so many other moments where you have comfort and freedom, the 6th became a great opportunity to say only your very best will do.

    One hint, don't be afraid to be long and right...regularly.

    : )

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