By Joel Tadman published
Red Tail Golf Club, Orlando: Course Review - We discovered this underrated gem of a course in the Sunshine State with a layout to be enjoyed by every level of golfer
Red Tail Golf Club, Orlando: Course Review
Located just over 30 minutes’ drive North West of Orlando, Florida, Red Tail Golf Club maybe overshadowed by its more glamorous local rivals by name, but it provides just as much of a test of nerve and skill as well viewing pleasure.
The course was created by architect Dave Harman, who also designed the two championship courses at nearby Orange County Golf Club that host the PGA Tour Q-School every December. Off the tips it has the potential to measure 7,152 yards with a par of 72 and although it is part of a luxury golf community, it was a welcome relief to discover the holes were not heavily surrounded by real estate.
Our Ecco Cool shoe review was filmed at Red Tail Golf Club, just outside Orlando
The other aspect golfers will enjoy is how the layout spans a vast amount of land. The distance from the clubhouse to the eighth green, the furthest point away, is a considerable hike. The result of this design virtue is how holes only run side by side to each other on a couple of occasions, meaning you really are in your own little world for much of the round.
Having local knowledge on hand, or having played at Red Tail once before, would make scoring easier given the fact that not many of the tees are elevated, which makes the landing zones on the fairway difficult to see - but that’s not to say you can’t enjoy the strategic mystery first time around.
The first hole (above) isn’t as tight as it looks from the tee but you need to be far enough down the fairway to leave yourself a manageable approach to the green.
The uphill par five second provides the first realistic birdie chance while the third hole calls upon precision over brute force – a long iron off the tee for position followed by a short iron will suffice for most.
The fourth hole (below) is a long par three and the first of many to feature water ready to suck in a pulled tee shot but the generously-sized green provides a friendly target.
The par-4 eighth hole is immediately visible on the drive in through the entrance gates and it doesn’t disappoint with a ball in play either. The tee shot must be accurate and hug the tree line down the left side to get the best view of the green for your second shot.
On a course with many candidates for signature holes, visually it is arguably the par-five 12th (above) that pleases the eye the most. A tree blocks some of your view of the fairway, which meanders from right-to-left and then back to the right uphill to a green well-guarded by bunkers. If you flirt with the tree and cut off some of the corner with your drive, it presents a good chance at a birdie.
The 13th (above) is another stunning short par four with some very spacious properties running down the left that leave you wondering where it all went wrong in life.
The difficult closing stretch starts with a small target on the par-three 15th and then the 16th is a tricky par four with water all the way down the right, a feature that also comes in to play in the same way on the par five 17th.
To finish, golfers much negotiate the course’s hardest-ranked hole, which is unusual in itself but more than justified given the water down the left off the tee of this par four and the tiny green guarded by bunkers left and right (below).
Regardless of the tees you chose to play from, you’ll leave the 18th green with all of your skills sternly examined but having thoroughly enjoyed the challenge. Every hole is a visual treat and on our visit in late January 2017, the greens were running true and over 11 on the stimp meter.
Add in the excellent practice facilities and friendly clubhouse, you’ve got all the ingredients for a fantastic day’s golfing in the Sunshine State.
For more information and the latest green fees, visit www.redtailgc.com
Joel has worked in the golf industry for over 12 years covering both instruction and more recently equipment. He now oversees all product content here at Golf Monthly, managing a team of talented and passionate writers and presenters in delivering the most thorough and accurate reviews, buying advice, comparisons and deals to help the reader find exactly what they are looking for. So whether it's the latest driver, irons, putter or laser rangefinder, Joel has his finger on the pulse keeping up to date with the latest releases in golf.
During these enjoyable years he has had some money-can't-buy experiences, like interviewing Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy one-on-one and covering the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.
One of his career highlights came when covering the 2012 Masters he got to play the sacred Augusta National course on the Monday after the tournament concluded, shooting a respectable 87 with just one par and four birdies. To date, his best ever round of golf is a 5-under 67 back in 2011. He currently plays his golf at Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford, Lincs, with a handicap index of 4.7.
Joel's current What's In The Bag?
Driver: TaylorMade SIM2, 9°
Fairway wood: Titleist TSi3, 15°
Hybrid: Titleist TSi2, 18°
Irons: TaylorMade P770, 4-PW
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8, 50°, 54° and 58°
Putter: Evnroll ER2V
Ball: 2021 Titleist Pro V1x
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