By Jeremy Walsh
ArtsPost staff writer
Redgate Municipal Golf Course is a challenging par-71, public course managed by the City of Rockville, Md., designed by local golf course architect Therman Donovan. Since its opening in 1974, Redgate has become a well-known opportunity for local golfers to test their skills.
But is the course really worth your 4 1/2 hours and $50?
Let’s evaluate the Redgate experience, scoring each hole individually, to see whether each part of the course is truly exceptional.
(The scoring system: decently designed holes, challenging and fair will be given a par. Poor or below-average holes will get a bogey, and beautiful, exceptional holes will get a birdie. So, a good, worthwhile course would finish with a score right at par.)
1. Par-4, 376 yards
This uphill, dogleg-left hole is a good starting hole and sets the tone for the rest of the course. There’s change in elevation, fairway bunkers and trees surrounding the green, all of which are constants at Redgate. The hole requires two good shots to a manageable green, a solid test for a first hole. Par
2. Par-3, 168 yards
Players must hit over a small creek on this challenging par-3 that drops downhill significantly to a difficult, sloping green. The green looks beautiful from the tee, though the trees between there and the green are kind of an eyesore. Par
3. Par-4, 324 yards
Easily the most beautiful hole on the front nine. The view from the tee box is simply magnificent, as some 100 yards of lake must be cleared before finding the fairway this short, uphill par-4. Assuming you avoid the fairway bunkers and the trees, the second shot should settle nicely on an easy green. Fun hole for golfers to all levels. Birdie
4. Par-5, 560 yards
A long hole featuring a lake between the fairway and a creek just in front of the green. The approach shot is fun, as the fairway drops some 40 yards to the green. The green is difficult, so try to stay below the hole to avoid a three-putt. Par
5. Par-4, 350 yards
Really nothing special. The tee shot is blind and severely uphill with trees on either side. The hole turns slightly to the left for the approach shot to a huge green. Don’t miss the green to the right because the ground is hard and the grass is poor. Par
6. Par-3, 137 yards
Another picturesque hole. This magnificent, short par-3 requires a simple shot in between three green-side bunkers. Be careful with a green that slopes pretty significantly toward the front. Birdie
7. Par-4, 362 yards
This hole begins a short stretch of holes that straddle the line between average and poor. The seventh hole squeaks by in the former, barely because it’s challenging and the fairway and green are in good shape. The one knock is that it runs parallel to the parking lot, and average golfers don’t need the added stress of financial repercussions for their tee shot to the left. Par
8. Par-4, 423 yards
Again, here’s another hole that barely makes the grade. Players can’t see the fairway from the tee on this long par-4 (not being able to see the fairway or green really takes away from a hole’s quality). Once you reach that fairway though, the view of the green is exceptional, featuring an elevated putting surface surrounded by bunkers on three sides. Par
9. Par-4, 456 yards
The most challenging hole for the average golfer is also the least attractive. The view to the green is what brings it down. The fairway slopes awkwardly to the side on the left side and has a big, drooping tree blocking the right side. The green is also needlessly big. Overall, a poor way to finish a good-looking front nine. Bogey
After nine holes, Redgate’s course design is pretty exceptional, and is sitting at 1-under-par. Considering that par is a good score for all courses using this system, being better than that is awesome. The two beautiful holes are much more memorable than the poor finishing holes.
10. Par-4, 412 yards
This is the last in the aforementioned stretch of mediocre holes and like the others, is another long par-4 that demands two quality shots, though this green is the most challenging on the course so far. The green is a slick beast, slanting drastically from right to left. Here’s a case where challenge balances out unremarkable design. Par
11. Par-4, 309 yards
Just a remarkable, short par-4. There are hazards on either side, but the tee box is some 20 yards above the green, tempting everyone to bring out the driver when a lay-up tee shot is the smart play. For years, this green has had irrigation and disease problems but is finally in good shape. Play smart and you’ll get the same score: Birdie
12. Par-4, 383 yards
Clearly the eyesore of the back nine. The tee shot must carry up a slope of some 50 or 60 yards just to make to a part of the fairway. The view to the green, surrounded by trees and out-of-bounds, is unspectacular, like the rest of the hole. Bogey
13. Par-4, 415 yards
This features yet another blind tee shot, with the green nowhere in sight. From the fairway, you face another severe drop to the green. Though blind tee shots are frustrating, there’s something beautiful about the view from above a well-manicured, bunker-surrounded green. Par
14. Par-5, 507 yards
The 14th hole is the most spectacular on the course. It’s a medium-length par-5 that plays downhill from the tee to a challenging green surrounded by long, deep bunkers. The view from the tee box is simply stunning, with the nuances of the hole clearly visible. Golfers know exactly the test before them; it’s a matter or being able to conquer. Birdie
15. Par-3, 138 yards
Here’s an average-looking, short par-3. The shadows from the huge trees on either side disguise the green, throwing off one’s depth perception. It’s tough to judge tee shot distance and the green is huge, making it a fun little hole. Par
16. Par-5, 498 yards
The most difficult hole on the course to judge. On the one hand, it’s a short par-5 that presents the possibility for good scores. On the other hand, there are awkwardly sloped areas of rough between patches of fairway and hazard that can make the hole unpleasant to play. Still, everyone enjoys a short par-5; just keep it in play. Par
17. Par-3, 200 yards
The 17th is a difficult, uphill par-3 that is anything but scenic. On the right is an area of ugly, dry trees and shrubs; and on the left is out-of-bounds and netting that guards an office building. Not pretty, but it’s challenging and the green is in good shape. Par
18. Par-4, 437 yards
Probably the flattest hole on the course, tee-to-green. Two long, precise shots are necessary for this slight dogleg hole. The view from the tee is good; the view to the green is great. The green is guarded by a man-made lake on the left and bunkers on the right. In all respects, it’s a great way to complete the course. Birdie
For the round, the design of Redgate scores a 3-under-par, which is remarkable. Though the course hits a slight snag on the quality-meter between holes seven and 10, the course is excellent overall.
Many of the holes have elevation changes and well-kept, lush fairways and greens, which any golfer should love. If you haven’t been out there, it’s time to grab your sticks and experience Redgate.