By Bill Sangster

It’s Columbus Day weekend and I’m off to RedTail Golf Club in Serrento, Florida. Heard a lot of good things about RedTail so today I will either verify or question its reputation.

My plan calls for playing the course, talking with members, golf course personnel and chatting with assistant professional Christian Schabacker.

During my visit, a few golfers from The Villages are here playing in a special “Travel Day Tournament,” all of them ready, willing and able to to offer unfiltered commentary on the good, the bad and ugly of the “road trip.”

It’s interesting to listen to them talk about how much they enjoy playing “away” or playing somewhere different than the usual courses at The Villages. The conversation centered more on “something different” rather than “something better.” I think some golfers who belong to country clubs would agree that a “road trip” to a neighboring course brings out a sense of adventure and excitement, especially when playing for the first time.

The first few holes at RedTail prepare you for the challenges ahead. The natural layout of these holes brings with it the demands for accuracy and common-sense golf. It is a quick awakening to the natural beauty of the course, coupled with the realization that this links course will have your undivided attention for the whole round.

As we progressed, it became apparent that shots that strayed off the fairway were headed for trouble. The first cut does give you a fair chance to play the next shot with little adjustment to your swing. If the ball finds the area outside of the first cut, it’s a different story. The thickness and length of the outer rough will result in consequences, such as additional strokes on the hole.

RedTail is purposely designed to have discontinuous fairways, accessible landing zones, numerous bunkers and waste areas and plenty of rough. When golfing on a links course this is the rule rather than than the exception. “The first time you visit RedTail, you learn, then you play it the second time.” More