Blair’s-eye view: No. 8 at Old White TPC
PGA TOUR player Zac Blair offers his architectural expertise on a classic hole
September 10, 2019
By Zac Blair, Special to PGATOUR.COM
- September 10, 2019
Blixt birdies No. 8 in Round 2 of The Greenbrier ClassicIn the second round of The Greenbrier Classic 2013, Jonas Blixt hits his 242-yard tee shot on the par-3 8th hole to four feet then makes the putt for birdie.
PGA TOUR player Zac Blair is a golf course architecture aficionado with plans on building his own golf course, The Buck Club, in his native Utah. Blair is offering his architecture expertise to PGATOUR.COM to give fans an expert’s insight on some of the unique holes on the PGA TOUR. You can follow Zac on twitter at @z_blair and follow The Buck Club at @thebuckclub.
Charles Blair Macdonald and Seth Raynor have blessed the golf world with several amazing golf courses, including National Golf Links of America, Chicago Golf Club, Fishers Island and the Golf Course at Yale. This week’s The Greenbrier Classic, contested on the Old White TPC, will give many fans and players their first glimpse at the work of these amazing Golden Age architects.
Macdonald and Raynor are known for their use of template holes, which were heavily influenced by some of the greatest holes on the British Isles. They often repeated these template holes from courses to course, and we will see one this week at the Old White TPC’s 234-yard, par-3 eighth hole, named Redan.
The 234-yard, par-3 eighth hole at the Old White TPC is a replica of the famous Redan hole found at Scotland’s North Berwick Golf Club. (Courtesy of Josh Pope)
The Redan hole is one of the more famous holes in golf. Even if you’ve never heard the term “Redan” before, you’ve most likely played a hole inspired by the original Redan, the 190-yard, par-3 15th hole at Scotland’s North Berwick Golf Club. It is widely considered one of the best par-3s in the world, and has been replicated many times over.
Macdonald, who also won the first U.S. Amateur, described a Redan this way in the book Scotland’s Gift: “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.”
The way the green is pitched/tilted from front-right to back-left, any shot that flies over the front-left bunker typically will bounce over the back of the green. Long isn't a terrible miss, but if played properly you can surely get the ball on the putting surface. With a deep front-left bunker guarding this green, the proper play is aim at the front right corner of the green in hopes of using the raised kicker to funnel balls to the back portion of the putting surface.
The raised slope at the back of the Redan’s green can be used to funnel shots toward the hole. (Courtesy of Zac Blair)
In my opinion, the strategy that goes into playing this type of hole is what makes the Redan so cool. The eighth hole at the Old White TPC is one of the best versions of the Redan that I have ever played because it is the proper distance for today’s technology and because the green has the correct amount of contour to feed balls right to left.
You may stand on the tee and see a back-left hole location and think firing directly at the hole may be the correct play. This strategy couldn't be any further from the truth.
Missing short-left and anywhere right of the green will surely lead to over-par scores, so avoid these misses at all costs. If you execute your tee shot properly you should no doubt have a good look at birdie on this classic Redan.
The Redan’s green is fronted by a deep bunker. (Courtesy of Zac Blair)