Redtail Golf Course
Ontario, Canada

This array and diversity of challenge within the medium length two shotters give Redtail a unique identity. Some holes like the sixth may almost seem a touch awkward with its elevated green surrounded by the ravine on three sides, but the hole is an original and all the better for it. Far too many designers ‘beat’ a hole to death (translation: move a lot of dirt) until as the years go by, all the holes take on a certain sameness as the unique features of each site were obliterated. This is patently not the case at Redtail, as the course reminds one of no other.

The elusive sixth green complex with its 3,300 square feet green requires a very crisp short iron. Small greens work well at Redtail, as a result of its limited play.

Any course with interesting greens can feature many holes under The Holes to Note section. We have chosen a few other than its medium length two-shotters.

Holes to Note

Fifth hole, 535 yards; Full credit goes to the architects on this hole for their ability to find the perfectly canted fairway on this double dogleg. From the tee, the hole swings to the right and the fairway is perfectly sloped so that the appropriately shaped fade will run an extra twenty yards. It is easy to appreciate the hole now but to find it when it was 200 acres of wilderness is amazing. And the golfer wants to gain every extra yard off the tee possible for the second shot must ideally cross a stream some 140 yards shy of the green. The golfer wants his most precise club into this elevated green as it follows the slope of the terrain back to the golfer and is blisteringly fast. Lorne Rubenstein tells the story where his missed eighteen foot putt from above a back left hole location ended up fifty feet away – the resulting four putt and double bogey did little to aid his cause.

The winding fifth is bisected by a tiny brook, which dictates how the golfer plays the hole.

From behind the green, the golfer appreciates how the heavily canted green slopes toward the water.

Seventh hole, 220 yards; This one shotter plays across a ravine to a diabolical green complex with a false front right and bunker back left. The obvious feature is the ravine that wraps close toward the back right of the green. However, the real challenge is more subtle and rests with the left to right tilt of the green. The over-cautious golfer will bail to the left, away from the ravine. This missed shot tends to be a pull and is long left. From there the golfer is d-e-a-d. To keep the ball on the green is a feat, never mind an up and down.

The intimidating tee shot on the seventh hole.

However, the real terror is the subtle left to right tilt of the firm green.

Eighteenth hole, 520 yards; As acknowledged by Bill Coore in a Feature Interview on this site, a reachable par five may be the hardest type hole to design as it must remain playable for all calibers of players. This swing hole succeeds admirably on that count. In addition,any approach played from 130 yards to eighty yards into this green is done so right at the base of the clubhouse. Its stone verandah is the perfect spot to overlook the proceedings and to greet home each match of your friends.

From the landing area of the three shot eighteenth, the golfer must decide which avenue of attack to pursue. The clubhouse

Repeated play makes the golfer leery of approaching the eighteenth in two, for fear of this difficult up and down.

Speaking of the clubhouse, no description of Redtail is complete without it. Only at Skibo and a few other courses have the authors remarked on a clubhouse but this must be one. The interior is one big den with heaps of nooks and crannies to which the golfer and his mates may repair. There are also several rooms upstairs to accommodate a few guests. A tremendous amount of thought went in to getting the details just right and lessons were learned from such grand old clubhouses as Merion, Oakmont and Pine Valley. Most importantly, the finished product is the exact opposite from the forced stuffiness that some wannabe clubs suffer through; the interior is meant for relaxation with one’s friends.

One of the joys of being a Redtail member is passing the hours in this beautiful clubhouse.

As much as one may want to recline in a leather chair in front of the fire,one must get out on the course. It is the kind the game needs more of – a low profile design that relies on vexing green complexes rather than on length. Nothing is overdone and as Brad Klein says, it is ‘pure golf.’

The End