FRIDAY, JULY 13: Modern architects often repeat themselves. Charles Blair MacDonald, Seth Raynor and Charles Banks are no exception.
Raynor and Banks’ mentor, Charles Blair Macdonald, purposely replicated famous holes from cherished British layouts.
They did not build pure replicas, such as we find today at novelty courses, instead they were seizing on a concept and adapting it to the varying conditions and topographies of their sites.
While the word itself was coined to describe the 15th at North Berwick, Redan has come to mean a specific manner of green complex.
Macdonald described it best: “Take a narrow tableland, tilt it a little from right to left, dig a deep bunker on the front side, approach it diagonally and you have a Redan.”
Raynor and Macdonald generally outfitted their Redans with an exaggerated “kick-back” slope in the approach and front section of the green.
Part of the fun of a Redan is watching the ball kick onto the green and roll.
You can try to fly a ball onto a Redan green, but they are usually quite shallow, framed by penal bunkers front and back. And because they can have a front-to-rear slope of up to five feet, best of luck playing dart-board golf on a Redan.
The 17th at Mid Ocean is a wonderful example of the Redan.
It’s important to remember a couple of things about this MacDonald standard: Classic Redans play right to left—but they can also be oriented left to right.
Tucker’s Point’s 11th is an example of a reverse Redan adaptations.
Second, vintage Redans were in the range of 190 yards (a strong par 3 in the early days of golf) and work best as long holes where the greens receive lengthy approaches.
The lower trajectory of such shots means the ball rolls more readily when it hits the ground and therefore responds to the Redan’s kick-back grading that is a key element to these golf holes.
In Bermuda we are very lucky to actually have two wonderful examples of this type of course in Mid Ocean and Tucker’s Point. (Castle Harbour as it was in those days, is Charles Banks last course he built in 1932)
Repetition, in the right hands, can be a beautiful thing!
Paul Adams is the PGA director of Golf at Rosewood Tucker’s Point.