Since the last U.S. Open here, the Redan has become a household name. A brand. The children of North Berwick's original and still very much alive 15th hole has developed a cult following. There are even reverse Redans.
Labeled a Redan, Shinnecock Hills' 7th is a step-child at best. The hole shares almost none of the attributes making the original or the offshoots so much fun to play. (Ron Whitten does a nice job in this piece for GolfDigest.com getting into the Redan's background, its history at Shinnecock and the ideal playability. An accompanying Dom Furore photo also beautifully shows how some faults of the Redan could be remedied by a move of the tee toward the left.)
It's been some time since I've seen the 7th and while it's probably great fun to play at certain green speeds or for late afternoon giggles, the controversial par-3 just doesn't quite match the rest of this stupendously sound work of architecture.
Since the 2004 U.S. Open, more short grass has been installed around the putting surface, which was also expanded by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. Yet walking around the green again and getting reacquainted, I find it difficult to see how the hole is a good test of skill or a fun one to play.
I raise all of this on the U.S. Open eve not to call out the hole in advance apology for the inevitable shenanigans, but to make sure after this week we are not lumping all other Redans in with the problem child.