The Templates: The Redans of Macdonald, Raynor, and Banks

A history and analysis of the Redan template holes built by C. B. Macdonald, Seth Raynor, and Charles Banks



Perhaps the most famous of the templates, the original Redan hole is the 15th hole at North Berwick Golf Club in Scotland. Designed by Ben Sayers, many consider the Redan to be the best par-3 design in golf. Its brilliance lies in the options it gives golfers of every skill level. Birdies, pars, and big numbers can be had by great players and average players alike.


A Redan typically ranges from 180-230 yards and features a 45 degree right-to-left oriented green protected by a deep bunker along the left side. Redan and Reverse Redan greens (same concept with the opposite angle) carry a great deal of slope that typically runs toward the bunker and from the front of the green to the back. An easy way to spot a Redan is by the defining shoulder on the right side of the green. This mound funnels balls towards the middle and back of the green. Traditional Redans also typically feature a bunker short of the green with another behind the sloping shoulder that penalize wayward shots. Up-and-downs from the back bunker are highly unlikely.

On first look, it would appear that the bailout position is short and right of the green. That miss will actually leave a challenging pitch over the shoulder in the green and down the slope. The best place to bail out is long and left of the green as it will leave an uphill chip back to the pin.

The Original Gangster is the 15th hole at North Berwick. This is where Macdonald and many other architects drew inspiration for their own versions.

Based on a military fortification, the 15th at North Berwick set the tone for all of the others that came after it. The green slopes heavily from right-to-left and front-to-back and is guarded by extremely deep bunkers left, right, and long of the green. An ideal miss is long as it leaves an uphill chip shot back to the pitched green.

Country Club of Charleston – 11th – 177 yards

Home to perhaps the most intimidating version of the Redan hole is the Country Club of Charleston. Host of the annual elite Azalea Amateur field and the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open, the 11th strikes fear in the game’s most talented players. This hole is so severe, some players will choose to play for bogey. The tee box is built on an old Revolutionary War outpost and sits slightly above the green. The reverse redan’s slope is one of the most severe in all of golf and leads to many attempts to escape with a bogey. The wisest play is long right to give a chip up the slope to the hole. A miss long left almost guarantees bogey, or worse.

Chicago Golf Club – 7th – 207 yards

The 7th at Macdonald and Raynor’s Chicago Golf Club stretches to 207 yards and calls for a precise long iron shot that moves from right to left.  Any shot that lands on the right shoulder will funnel back to the middle of the green. This is one of the most pronounced and severe Redan holes anywhere in the world and many consider it to be the best rendition of the hole.

National Golf Links of America – 4th – 195 yards

Those who don’t think that Chicago Golf’s Redan is the best typically consider NGLA’s the the greatest version of the hole. Macdonald found a breathtaking spot for this rendition and built many bold features into the 4th at NGLA, including a large right-to-left slope and an extremely deep bunker. Beyond the magnificence of the hole’s architectural features, it has a stunning setting.

Shoreacres – 14th – 185 yards

Designed by Seth Raynor, the 14th is a dramatic Redan hole with a deep bunker guarding the green and a large shoulder along the right side. This version is unique because of the ravine that Raynor was able to use as an added penalty for a miss left. Any shot played short and to the right leaves a player with an awkward chip that will be heavily influenced by the shoulder on the right. A poor shot runs the risk of rolling into the  greenside bunker.

Fox Chapel Golf Club – 6th – 192 yards

At Fox Chapel Golf Club outside of Pittsburgh, Raynor employed a reverse redan for the 6th hole.

The tee shot into the Reverse Redan 6th at Fox Chapel

Camargo Club – 15th – 192 yards

Seth Raynor’s Cincinnati classic has one of the best Redan holes in golf in the 15th, which stretches to 192 yards. Notice how well Raynor is able to use Camargo’s rolling terrain to his advantage, blending the 15th hole perfectly into the natural terrain.

The tee shot into Raynor's elegantly set Redan at Camargo

St. Louis Country Club – 16th – 185 yards

At C.B. Macdonald’s Saint Louis Country Club, a Reverse Redan can be found on the 16th. While Macdonald always preferred a right-to-left Redan, here the natural terrain called for a left-to-right sloping green. This hole’s slope isn’t quite as pronounced as some of his others, but it is a splendid design that requires a player to execute a left-to-right shot to get the ball close.

Sleepy Hollow Country Club – 7th – 217 yards

The 7th at Sleepy Hollow is a beautiful downhill Reverse Redan that plays a stiff 217 yards. A gentle Redan shoulder awaits players on the green, but it can play tough in the modern era as the back left bunker is much more in play. A shot from back there is very challenging to get up and down.

The downhill tee shot to Sleepy Hollow's 7th - Photo Credit: The Bausch Collection at MyPhillyGolf.com

Greenbrier “Old White” – 8th – 234 yards

The Redan at C.B. Macdonald’s only public access course is a dandy as the natural topography of the Greenbrier is ideal for this template. A wise player will keep their shot towards the right as the front-left of the green is guarded by the deepest bunker on the course. Old White’s Redan is one of the few that plays to the original intention as the yardage calls for a low, running shot.

Shinnecock Hills – 7th – 189 yards

A little history lesson for Shinnecock’s Redan. After C.B. Macdonald designed the neighboring National Golf Links, he and Seth Raynor were enlisted to redesign Shinny. The course was subsequently redesigned again by William Flynn, who removed many of Macdonald and Raynor’s changes. One hole that was spared was the Redan hole. Flynn did alter the green by raising it a few feet, making it more severe than it was originally. The tee box was also moved to the right, adding a difficult angle to an already difficult hole.

Macdonald and Raynor's Redan on the 7th at Shinnecock Hills - Photo Credit: Jon Cavalier @linksgems

Fishers Island Club – 2nd – 172 yards

Seth Raynor’s seaside masterpiece, Fishers Island, features a Redan hole early in the round. This one is a bit shorter than a typical Redan hole and has the added element of water short of the green that plays with the mind.

Fishers Island Club – 12th – 389 yards – par 4

Fishers Island also has a two-shot Redan in the par-4 12th. A Reverse Redan green is used on this vexing short par 4. Players have to approach the challenging green complex from a myriad of uneven lies, and the putting surface features a subtle knoll in the back that adds to the challenge.

The Course at Yale – 13th – 213 yards

The 13th at Yale is a beautiful downhill Redan at one of Seth Raynor’s best designs. At 213 yards, it still calls for a relatively long approach but the drop in elevation makes this version play a little bit shorter.

The Course at Yale 11th – par 4 -379 yards

Like Fishers Island, Yale is also home to a two-shot reverse-redan in the short par 4 11th. The downhill tee shot forces a decision – layup short of the fairway’s center roll or hit driver over it. Laying up leaves a shot over 150 yards while an aggressive driver leaves an awkward short wedge shot to the fallaway green. Players who find the roll in the fairway will face a lie on an upslope or downslope. The 11th at Yale is a wonderful strategic golf hole that is often overlooked.

High above the 11th at Yale shows the fairway feature that forces players hands.

Behind the short par 4 11th at Yale.

The Creek Club – 8th – 185 yards

Macdonald built a beautiful Reverse Redan at The Creek on Long Island. A good mid-iron shot with a high cut is the ideal tee ball into the left-to-right sloping green.

Lookout Mountain Golf Club – 13th – 203 yards

Seth Raynor built a stunning Redan at Lookout Mountain. The downhill 13th plays down the mountain and has a beautiful vista which looks out over multiple states. This hole rips aways from the tee because of the natural grade of the land.

Mountain Lake Country Club -11th – 160 yards

The Redan 8th from Seth Raynor’s beautiful central Florida course Mountain Lake features a dramatic right-to-left slope that influences shots hit on the right side of the green. The slope of the 8th has to be seen to believed – it’s truly remarkable. While Mountain Lake’s Redan is shorter than normal, the bold shaping more than makes up for the lacking distance.

From the tee on Mountain Lake's 8th, with front bunkers menacing

A closer look reveals the scale and slope of this Redan

Yeamans Hall – 6th – 190 yards

One of the best Seth Raynor designs is the exclusive Yeamans Hall in Charleston, South Carolina. Back pin positions are particularly nasty on this rendition.

The tee shot on the Redan 6th at Raynor's lowcountry gem - Photo Credit: Jon Cavalier

A historical photo of the shoulder slope on this Redan

Southampton Golf Club – 7th – 212 yards – par 3

A fine representation of the Redan template is at the oft-overlooked Southampton Golf Club. The club flies under the radar thanks to its high-profile neighbors in NGLA and Shinnecock Hills. Like many Redan holes, Southampton’s is renowned for the dramatic tilt of the green.

The view from the behind the green at Southampton's 7th

Blue Mound Golf and Country Club – 1st – 398 yards – Par 4

Unlike most on his Redans, the opener at Seth Raynor’s Blue Mound is a two shot hole. It is an interesting take on template because it places a premium on the position of the tee shot. The natures of this hole has changed significantly as modern technology now allows for short-irons and wedges into the green, but just imagine hitting a long-iron shot into this par-4 green. The 1st at Blue Mound is a  demanding start to your round.

The approach into Blue Mound's Redan opener

Blue Mound Golf and Country Club – 13th – 185 yards

Blue Mound’s par-3 version of the Redan hole is a downhill beauty. The green has considerable slope from right-to-left and front-to-back, making short putts extremely challenging. Just as with the par-4 1st, this gorgeous Redan has been changed by technology as players can now hit a mid-iron approach rather than a long-iron.

The view downhill from the tee on the 13th at Blue Mound

This look from wide left of the green gives perspective on the scale of the green slope

Forsgate Country Club – 7th – 217 yards

A Charles Banks design, Forsgate has great template holes that include the Redan 7th hole. A Reverse Redan, the yardage demands a shot with a longer club, just as Macdonald intended with this template.

The long-iron tee shot at the 7th at Charles Banks' Forsgate - Photo Credit: The Bausch Collection at MyPhillyGolf.com

Behind the 7th green at Forsgate, with its significant slope - Photo Credit: The Bausch Collection at MyPhillyGolf.com

Hackensack Golf Club – 12th – 194 yards

Another bold Charles Banks design, this Emerson, NJ treasure features a wonderful redan hole. The 11th has big features for which Banks and his steam shovel were known. Until recently the tremendous kicker slope on the right was buried under rough.

Midland Hills Country Club – 16th – 206 yards

This is one of Raynor’s most unique redan holes. It plays like a redan mixed with a punchbowl. It’s non-traditional but it’s

Essex County Country Club (New Jersey) – 15th – 255 yards

Designed by Charles Banks, this stellar par 3 is a hybrid of two of the most famous templates, the Redan and Biarritz. Playing downhill and forcing most players to pull some lumber out of the bag because of it’s length, a great shot uses the “redan” kicker slope to push balls through the trough short of the green. Beyond the amazing redan and biarritz features, this green also possesses a beautiful and vexing spine that divides the green into a right and left half.