The Heathland Course at the three-course Legends Resort is a bomber’s dream.
Architect Tom Doak built the 6,800-yard par-71 layout as an open, rolling, links-style design with a combination of cavernous bunkers and pot bunkers its primary defense, along with large and undulating greens.
“You don’t want to hit it in any of the [fairway] bunkers because they’re deep and odds are you’re not going to reach the green,” said Jay McAllister of Myrtle Beach, who took part in a review of the course in early February.
But the fairway bunkers are generally in short locations in the landing areas and much of the trouble can be bypassed off the tee with big drives.
“It’s very forgiving with wide fairways and big greens,” Jay said. “This course definitely favors the big hitter who can knock it over all the trouble. But if you’re not hitting your irons good you will have very long putts.”
Joining me and Jay, a scratch golfer who owns Bourbon Street Bar & Grill, in the review foursome were Robert “RC” Collins of Myrtle Beach, a remodeler and wallpaper/painting contractor with a 4 handicap, and Marty Mesimer of Myrtle Beach, a landlord and co-owner of Finders Keepers Consignment & Boutique with an 8 handicap.
“This golf course is unique around here because of the type of golf course it is,” RC said. “It’s like a European shot-making golf course.”
The course, which opened in 1990, is a par 71 because it has just one par-5 on the back nine.
Champion Bermudagrass greens that were not overseeded this winter were quick and either tiered or very undulating on the front nine. “The course is very fair but the greens can be severe,” Marty said. “There are a lot of buried elephants in them.”
The greens on the back nine are noticeably less undulating, making the front more difficult. “The greens on the back have a lot less undulation so they’re more fair to the bogey golfer like myself,” RC said. “The fast greens are what make the golf course.”
For this winter at least, the rough and many areas of native grasses between holes have been cut down to a playable length.
The course is very playable for seniors and women with only a few forced carries. The greatest difficulty for high handicappers will be exiting the bunkers.
Legends courses have become known for great deals in the past few years under the management of Arnold Palmer Golf Management.
Walk-in green fees with cart range from $82 to $135 but the course has incredible membership deals and local rates. For $10 per year, the Loyalty Club offers rates between $29 and $49 depending on the time of year, including breakfast, lunch and two beverages. A Players Club membership for $35 per month allows unlimited use of the lighted driving range and $18 rates after 1 p.m. with less than 48- or 24-hour notice.
“You can’t beat this golf course for price and for the facilities. It has a great clubhouse,” RC said. “Everything about it is good and the golf courses are good and well-manicured.
“It’s quality golf and great service.”
The group appreciated the affordable rates and found the staff to be cordial. “It’s a great atmosphere with a friendly staff from the cart attendants to the women behind the bar,” Jay said.
Jay also enjoyed the openness of the layout. “Being a long hitter off the tee, the wide open fairways and big greens really free me up,” Jay said. “And there aren’t many hazards other than deep-faced bunkers.”
Marty liked the speed of the greens, “which was a lot quicker than what we usually play,” he said. RC liked the difficult greens on the front nine and bunkers that “are tough to get out of.”
Despite there being a lot of players on the course, pace of play was acceptable.
Marty thought the greens on the front nine were too difficult. “Some greens were very severe, but once again golf is tough,” he reasoned.
RC found there to be too many short par-4s, with three that measure 355 yards or less from the tips.
Jay found you had to rely on the complimentary yardage books. “They could really speed up the pace of play with satellite yardages in the carts or a hole description on the tee box,” Jay said. “Several holes it was hard to tell where it goes.”
Two par-3s are less than 170 yards, and two are 210 or longer. “The par-3s are very long with tough up and downs,” RC said. “They have large greens so your chipping needs to be spot-on.”
The 210-yard third hole is uphill with a bunker front-left of a green that slopes off a front-middle hill, and there’s bailout room on the right. “The hole probably takes awhile to play because it’s so long and there’s so much trouble around it; it’s tough to get up and down for par,” Marty said.
The left half of the green on the 150-yard third is hidden behind a mound other than the top of the flagstick, and there are bunkers front left and front right of a putting surface that has a slope to the right that is more pronounced on the right side.
The 165-yard 12th has a creek that crosses well in front of a green that has a long bunker left and front left, slopes left and has mild mounds front right and middle left. The 220-yard 17th is slightly uphill and the green slopes to the front with pot bunkers front left and front right.
“The par-3s are long and very difficult, though they can be forgiving if you misplace the tee shot,” Jay said.
Though three par-4s are less than 360 yards, there are also five that are longer than 440.
The 447-yard opening hole gives players an indication of what’s to come. It’s long with a deep bunker on the right side of the fairway that can be carried with a 255-yard drive from the tips. The green is large and very undulating. “It’s a good opening hole,” Jay said. “It’s long but it’s fair because it’s wide open and has a big green.”
The 355-yard fourth hole is a dogleg left with cut-down rough on the left side if you miss the fairway and the green slopes to the right and back. “It’s the easiest hole on paper but it’s a deceiving little approach shot,” Jay said.
The 461-yard sixth has a 120-yard carry over wetlands and is a slight dogleg left to a rolling green with a swale on the front portion. The 440-yard 10th is a dogleg left around a trio of deep bunkers with a green that is largely flat other than a left-middle mound, and the 411-yard 11th has a pair of bunkers 290 yards from the back tee box.
The 389-yard 14th has a drive over a mild ridge and a downhill second shot over a creek to a green with a large and deep bunker protecting its front and other bunkers right and back left. The 348-yard 15th is a short dogleg left over bunkers, and the 414-yard 18th has numerous bunkers in the landing area off the tee as well as around a green that slopes to the front.
“The par-4s have tough second shots, and pins can be in tough areas,” RC said.
The 542-yard fifth hole turns left off the tee and is slightly downhill once you get past a bunker in the middle of the fairway 295 yards from the back tee box. An area of heather grass cuts nearly across the fairway from the right side 80 yards from a rolling green that slopes to the right.
The 479-yard seventh is wide open and straightforward and can provide an eagle opportunity if you can get the ball on the right portion of the green, which is severely two-tiered and lower in the front third. “You could land a 747 on that fairway and there’s no trouble except the green,” Jay said.
The 539-yard 13th turns left on the second shot and has a creek that crosses the fairway beginning nearly 200 yards from the green on the right side and finishing about 100 yards from the green on the left. “It’s a challenging hole with a risk-reward opportunity,” Jay said. “You need a straight tee shot, then you need to decide if you’re going to go for the green and go for birdie. It requires you to think a little bit.”
“The par-5s are easy off the tee and reachable in two shots except for maybe the 13th,” Marty said.
Marty liked the par-3 third hole, which measured 195 yards from the white tee, and his favorite hole was the par-4 16th, which measured 428 from the white. A creek splits the fairway, forcing a drive short of it to the left or over it to the right. Mounding and native grasses line the right side before a green that slopes to the front and has a bunker front right and short right. “You have two options off the tee, which is nice,” Marty said, “and you have to hit a long club into the green. It’s a challenging hole.”
Jay was partial to the 442-yard par-4 ninth and par-5 13th holes. The ninth has bunkers on both side of the fairway flanked by small trees, brush and native grasses. An elevated green sits behind a deep, high-lipped bunker. “This is the toughest driving hole on the front nine with trouble left and right, and it leaves a long approach shot,” Jay said.
RC also liked the ninth – “that’s a great bunker in front,” he said – as well as the par-4 16th and 18th holes. “The 18th sets up easy on the eyes and demanding shots are rewarded,” RC said.
Least favorite holes
All three players identified the 338-yard par-4 second hole, which measured 323 from the white tee, as their least favorite. The short hole doglegs around a hill that leaves a blind shot to the green unless your drive is well down the left side.
“You can’t see what you have to do until you get close to the green, so you have to drive up to the green before you hit your second shot,” Marty said.
There are a pair of bunkers short right and deep bunkers left and right of a green that slopes slightly to the back right.
“It’s a deceiving dogleg with a blind shot to a green that slopes away from you,” Jay said. “It just really doesn’t fit the eye compared to the other 17 holes.”
Added RC: “If you hit it down the left side the second shot is open and sets up well.”