The Templates: Golden Age Redans

A history and analysis of the Redans built by Golden Age greats such as Donald Ross, A. W. Tillinghast, and others


The design of the 15th hole at North Berwick was monumental enough to provide inspiration for both C.B. Macdonald and many of his contemporaries. The MacRaynorBanks template was widely used on their courses, but they were far from the only architects who employed it.

A long par-3 adds variety to a course configuration and examines the game of the best players. The genius of the Redan is that it also affords an opportunity for success to the shorter hitter who is able to deftly utilize the ground. It’s a stout test that is playable for all. No wonder that other Golden Age greats such as Donald Ross, A.W. Tillinghast, C.H. Alison, George Thomas, and William Langford also incorporated their interpretations of the Redan into their courses.

Los Angeles Country Club – North Course- 11th – 244 yards

This George Thomas masterpiece features an incredibly difficult Reverse Redan. Stretching to 244 yards from the back tee box, the 11th plays slightly downhill, but the long shot, deep bunkering, and sloping green make par a tough score to come by.

The picturesque and demanding 11th at LACC North - Photo Credit: Jon Cavalier

Somerset Hills C.C. – 2nd – 205 yards

Some think that the 2nd at Somerset Hills is the hardest Redan hole in the world and even more feel that it is simply the best. Designed by the great A.W. Tillinghast, this Redan stretches to 205 yards and has a tremendous slope to it. As described by a friend of The Fried Egg, “Bogey is a decent score, par is great, and birdie unheard of…”

The tee shot into the 11th with bunkers and slopes to navigate - Photo Credit: Jon Cavalier

Cedar Rapids C.C. – 5th – 160 yards

The Redan that Donald Ross built in Cedar Rapids plays downhill to a shorter yardage, removing the need to hit a long iron. However, the large green with its slope and contour puts a premium on accurately judging distance on the tee shot. Recent restoration work by Ron Prichard and Tyler Rae has this Ross rendition shining.

The hill short right of the 5th green at CRCC provides a generous kicker onto the green.

Milwaukee C.C. – 17th – 196 yards

Charles Alison often incorporated the Redan template into his designs and he built a beauty at Milwaukee Country Club. The penultimate hole is a Reverse Redan that can stretch out to 230+ yards from the back tee. It requires a well struck and shaped shot for a player to avoid a card-wrecker coming down the final stretch.

Alison's Reverse Redan 17th at Milwaukee works perfectly off the hillside

Longue Vue Club – 3rd – 202 yards

A neighbor of Fox Chapel, Longue Vue Club was not to be outdone with its Redan hole. Designed by Scottish golf professional, Robert White, this Redan is carved out of the natural terrain. All of the land flows right to left and downward, which gives this Redan a beautiful, natural feel.

The tee shot at the 3rd at Long Vue, as natural a setting for a Redan as can be found - Photo Credit: Jon Cavalier

Philadelphia Cricket Club – 15th – 240 yards

When Keith Foster was hired to restore Philly Cricket, he removed trees from the 15th and added yardage to make Tillinghast’s Redan 15th play like it was intended. Stretching to 240 yards, the 15th requires players to hit a long-iron, hybrid or fairway wood to reach the green. A good shot likely needs to land the ball short and run it up.

The approach into the long par-3 15th at Philly Cricket

Knollwood Club – 17th – 211 yards

C.H. Alison liked to throw challenges at players down the stretch, and Knollwood’s Redan 17th is a perfect example. The green is dramatically elevated and can quickly turn a wayward tee shot into a big number.

Short right of the Redan 17th is a dicey spot for recovery on this Alison Redan

Essex County Club – 4th – 233 yards

Donald Ross built a doozy of a Redan at his masterwork in Manchester-by-the-Sea. The 4th plays slightly downhill to an angled green with bunkers on all sides. One of 18 brilliant holes at Essex.

From the right of the green on the tough 4th at Essex County

Riviera Country Club – 4th – 236 yards

The historic George Thomas design features a beefy Redan hole that requires players to hit a precise long iron shot into the severely sloped green. To make matters worse, this hole usually plays into a sea breeze. Due to its length, the 4th at Riviera fulfills the original intention, forcing players to land it short and run the ball up to the green.

The intimidating tee shot at the 4th at Riviera

Bob O’Link Golf Club – 12th – 184 yards

In restoring C.H. Alison’s work at Bob O’ Link, Jim Urbina created this rendition of the Redan in the style of Colt & Alison. While the hole lacks an intimidating yardage, difficulty is found in the elevated and sloped green complex.

Short of the Redan 11th, with the left bunker looming

Lawsonia Links – 4th/12th – 203 yards/183 yards

The design duo of Langford & Moreau built two one-shotters at Lawsonia with Redan qualities. The 4th is a more traditional Redan, playing long and uphill with the typical high front-right to low back-left tilt. The 12th is a more creative Reverse version with a canted and contoured green that is truly special. Both holes deliver the tough test that is the spirit of the template.

Orchard Lake C.C. – 7th – 218 yards

The Redan 7th at Orchard Lake is another Alison rendition in the true tradition of the original at North Berwick. The hole, which stretches fo 246 yards, features a deep bunker short of the green. Low tee shots that clear that bunker will feed in but miss left and disaster awaits.

Recovery from the bunker left of the green is far from guaranteed at Orchard Lake's 7th

Quogue Field Club – 4th – 193 yards

Quogue is a wonderful 9-hole design on Long Island and its Redan 4th hole is special. The green has the typical high front-right shoulder, but farther back, players discover a Biarritz-esque swale cutting across the surface. Old school quirk at its finest.

The uniquely challenging green on Quogue's 4th

Exmoor C.C. – 8th – 211 yards

The Donald Ross designed Exmoor CC might fly under the radar, but its Redan is right in your face. The hole plays uphill to a green that has the traditional deep bunker front left, and the putting surface is severe enough to make degreening misjudged putts a real possibility.

Exmoor's Ross Redan 8th from above - Photo Credit: Exmoor CC wesbite