Red Tail Golf Club Devens, MA
One of the Best
Nestled within a natural environment interspersed through the former U.S. Army base that was Fort Devens, the 18-hole march at Red Tail Golf Club can be tantamount to a war of attrition over one of Massachusetts’ top public golf courses. And whether it is the guard tower seemingly randomly situated overlooking the 18th tee box, or the hidden old munitions bunker laying aside the 17th green, reminders abound at Red Tail of the property’s military history.
Commissioned for play in 2002, Brian Silva of New England’s top design firm of Cornish, Silva and Mungeam, devised a 7,000 yard masterpiece composed upon a varied and visually stunning landscape. Although brute force and power are certainly assets in engaging Red Tail, pinpoint target acquisition is equally rewarded in the golfer’s battle to strategically evade the variety of minefields and other hidden ambush opportunities lying in wait at Red Tail.
Red Tail is a study in variety. While some holes such as the par three 11th and the par four 17th are defined by sandy waste bunkers reminiscent of the Sandhills of North Carolina, other holes like the par four 4th and 14th, as well as the classic risk-reward par five finishing 18th, incorporate dramatic elevation drops evoking comparisons to the spectacular mountain golf of northern New England. And with the blind approach or tee shots required on the par four 14th and 16th, respectively, you can even detect subtleties perhaps inspired by the great links courses of Scotland and Ireland.
Perhaps Red Tail's most unique and memorable design feature is the manner in which many of its greens are camouflaged naturally into the surrounding terrain. Whether it be the plateau greens of the 2nd and 9th, the semi-punchbowl surfaces of the 4th and 14th or the greens emanating out of the hillsides on the 7th and 8th, the somewhat refreshing absence of wetlands, bunkers and other beachhead obstacles fronting many of Red Tail’s green complexes encourage frontal assaults characterized by run-up approach shots played low.
Located 35 miles northwest of Boston in Devens, Massachusetts, Red Tail served as the host to the 2009 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship, the 2016 MGA Amateur Public Links Championship, and the 2017 MGA Senior Four Ball State Championship. Clearly, Red Tail Golf Club rates among the best golf courses in New England.