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Is this the most copied hole in the world?

This brilliant par 3 on Scotland's Golf Coast has proved to be an inspiration for course designers all over the globe
 

The 4th at National Golf Links of America, the 7th at Chicago Golf Club, the 4th at Swinley Forest. Just three of the courses to have taken inspiration from 189 yards of brilliance at North Berwick.

Redan, named after a fortress that’s largely constructed from earthworks, may be the most copied hole on the globe.

There are far more than a dozen other well-renowned courses that are said to have mimicked the design of the West Links original – the par 3 15th that, opinion suggests, was designed by Davie Strath in the later part of the 19th century.

So what is it about the hole that has had designers slavering over the past 100-plus years?

The green sits on something of a ridge and slopes severely from right to left. Tee shots can’t be short. They must carry all the way to the hole to avoid a hidden dip.

You hit diagonally if you want the best chance of finding the putting surface and the green is guarded by some threatening, deep, bunkers.

You can see the top of the flag, but you can’t really see any of the green. Yes, just to make it more difficult, it’s a blind shot.

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Don’t think you can bail out long, either. That’s a tricky putt back up the green from there.

Add in the wind and you can see why a hole that has a stroke index of 14 is actually much more of a problem than you’d expect.

Other courses with Redan holes also include Shinnecock Hills and the famous 7th that damaged the prospects of so many during the 2004 and 2018 US Opens.

Redan might be the most copied hole ever but it’s far from the only reason to tee it up at this Scottish links sanctuary.

Indeed, the 15th merely continues an outstanding stretch of holes – with the 13th, “Pit”, also an enduring highlight.

Be careful when you approach the green here. A stone wall blocks your way and you must make sure you clear it.

An approach that lies tight to the ancient structure surely spells the end of any thoughts of a par.

Everything about North Berwick is an experience. Not just the amazing views of the Firth of Forth and the surrounding islands but also beginning, and ending, your round in the old town itself.

Golf’s been placed on this stretch of land since the 17th century. You should make sure you tread those steps.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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