The names of the three courses at Legends Resort give you an indication of the style of their layouts, and the Parkland Course doesn’t mislead.
“I have always enjoyed the Parkland Course. It really lives up to its name,” said Matt Doda of Myrtle Beach, a musician and 3 handicap who took part in a review of the course in early August. “It’s a parkland-style course. It’s not links. It has more trees and is characterized by big, deep bunkers – especially the greenside bunkers – and big, sloping greens.”
Joining me and Matt in the review foursome were Jim Saunders of Myrtle Beach, a paramedic with a 20 handicap, and Jessica Walters of Myrtle Beach, the marketing director and caddie master for The Caddy Girls with a 28 handicap.
Parkland was the final course to open at the Legends complex in 1992 with a design credited to the developer Legends Group, and all tees, from the front red at 5,370 yards to the back blue at 7,108, are relatively long.
“There are lots of options to hit around or over deep sand traps, wetlands and water,” Jessica said.
Contoured fairways surrounded by thick tree lines have ample landing areas, but Parkland requires some strategy.
Deep and difficult bunkers that often limit your options because of high lips, hazards that often require carries and the undulation and multiple levels of many large greens provide the difficulty, and the rough was thick, deep and penalizing the day we played, giving the course more of a defense.
“It’s an enjoyable course,” Jim said. “There are a lot of risk-reward holes from the white tees. It’s definitely a challenge. I like that there is a lot of risk-reward with shots over hazards. You have a lot of options on the par-5s and longer par-4s.”
Matt found there to be less strategy required from the back tees for all but long hitters. “From the back tees there isn’t much risk-reward because you can’t carry any bunkers or cut corners,” Matt said.
The course is isolated as each hole is set off on its own in the forest, with some housing around. “I’ve never been a fan of houses on the course but they do a good job of concealing them,” Matt said. “There’s not a lot of out of bounds.”
Rain in each of the two days prior to our round affected conditions, but the course was well manicured for our group. “The course was in great shape despite all of the rain we had earlier in the week, plus the lack of rain earlier in the summer,” Matt said.
Parkland has TifEagle ultradwarf Bermuda greens that were full and somewhat slow. “The course was in good shape and the greens rolled true,” Jim said.
Great rates are available at Legends. A Loyalty Club that is $15 per year offers rates between $30-$49 that include breakfast, lunch and two drinks. The Players Club is $35 per month and includes unlimited range use and a post-1 p.m. 48-hour rate of $18. “The value is the best on the Grand Strand,” Jessica said. “The rates are great for package play and locals. It’s excellent for locals to play after work.”
Added Jim: “You can’t beat this deal anywhere – two beers, lunch, breakfast and golf, and good golf courses.”
Legends has a huge range that is lighted and remains open after dusk, as well as a complete short-game area and the Classic Swing Golf School. “I love the range,” Matt said.
Jessica appreciates rangers policing the courses to maintain an acceptable pace of play because of the great volume of rounds played. “Rangers keep people playing on schedule,” she said.
Matt found there to be a lot of grain in the greens that you have to account for, and believes the bunkers need an infusion of sand. “The bunkers look like they are way overdue for sand replacement throughout the course,” Matt said.
We played three holes on the back nine that had high grass in fairways before we reached the mowers. Presumably, rain in recent days may have kept mowers from cutting.
Jim found the course to be a little long from the respective tee boxes, and Jessica believes there are more scenic options on the Strand and even at the facility.
There are no breaks on the par-3s, measuring between 185 and 235 yards from the tips and between 172 and 210 from the white tees. “Par-3s are long but fair,” Matt said. “From the back tees holes 13 and 16 were playing 240-plus. They’re very tough, but a good shot with a 3-wood could lead to a birdie.”
The 185-yard third hole required a tee shot over wetlands with a bailout area to the right of a green that breaks to the front and right and is protected on the front, left and back by bunkers. The 190-yard fifth has both a bunker and water to the right that extends behind a deep and fairly flat green that is also protected by a deep bunker that is short of the putting surface on the left side.
The 227-yard 13th requires a tee shot over wetlands to a large, elevated and fairly flat green that is protected by several bunkers with high lips, particularly a set of five bunkers front right. “Ladies par-3s were still challenging with several forced carries,” Jessica said.
The 235-yard 16th has water short and left of a very deep green featuring a mild swale in the middle and several bunkers left and front left.
“Par-3s seem a little long for the average golfer,” Jim said. “The 16th hole with the pin all the way in the back was tough, playing about 220 yards [from the white tee].”
Four par-4s are at least 440 yards, while another three are less than 380. “Par-4s are pretty straightforward,” Matt said. “There’s a great mix of tough holes where par is a good score to ‘green light’ holes where a birdie is a must.”
The 428-yard sixth hole requires a carry over wetlands on the second shot to a two-tiered green that is higher in the back, and the 400-yard seventh is straightforward with several bunkers down the left side and an elevated green featuring a false front.
The 311-yard ninth hole is a dramatic and unique hole with a very elevated green to the right side that towers over a deep and wide fronting bunker. The hole also features a creek down the right side, bunkers to carry on the right and a pair of bunkers to carry, avoid or lay up in front of on the left.
The 363-yard 10th has a green tucked to the right behind high mounds with a pair of bunkers in their slopes, the 460-yard 12th has a pair of bunkers in the fairway 310 yards from the back tee, and the 441-yard 14th has wetlands cutting off the right side of a fairway that runs out into trees on the left.
The 400-yard 17th has a tee shot over wetlands and bunkers in the middle of the fairway 70 yards from the green, and the 18th has a slightly uphill tee shot to a wide fairway and a flat green behind front-right mounding.
“The par-4s were good and not overly challenging, just long,” Jim said.
Four par-4s are less than 290 from the red tees. “There are lots of advantages for the ladies on the par-4s,” Jessica said. “Keep an eye on where you can steal some shots.”
Three of the par-5s measure 549 yards or more from the tips and at least 500 from the white tees, and three require a carry over water or wetlands at some point. “The par-5s here are fantastic,” Matt said. “They are long, but if it were drier I would have had a chance to reach all of the par-5s in two.”
The 567-yard fourth turns right off the tee with bunkers on the left side of the fairway. Water lurks on the left for the second shot and a green well protected by bunkers is flat in the back and slopes to the front from the middle. The 549-yard eighth has water crossing about 50 yards worth of fairway beginning about 200 yards from a green partially tucked behind a right mound.
The 509-yard 11th has a downhill second shot over a pond that angles closer to the green on the left. A green with bunkers left and right slopes to the front and off a middle-right mound. The fairway on the 563-yard 15th is bisected by wetlands about 300 yards from the back tee and features one of the course’s smallest greens.
“The course has monster par-5s,” Jim said. “Almost every one is three shots to reach.”
Jessica concurred with Jim, as three of the par-5s measure between 427 and 487 yards from the red tee. “I felt like all the par-5s on this course were super long from the ladies tees,” she said.
Jim’s favorite hole was the par-4 ninth, which measured 289 yards from the white. “It’s risk-reward, and you have to plan your shot depending on pin placement,” he said.
Matt was partial to the 377-yard first, requiring less than driver off the tee and featuring four bunkers down the left side of the fairway and an elevated, rolling green with bunkers left and right. “It has always been my favorite starting hole at the beach,” Matt said. “A very wide fairway makes for an inviting tee shot. You set up left and hit a power fade off the tee.”
Jessica was fond of the ninth and 10th holes because of the bunkering and vegetation. “The sand traps on holes 9 and 10 are insane,” she said. “There are lots of options to play the holes, and when the magnolia trees are in bloom their scent fills the air.”
Least favorite holes
Jim’s least favorite hole was the par-5 15th, which measures 513 yards from the white tee. “It’s just a long hole that goes over water twice, making club selection difficult,” he said. “It’s not a bad hole, just really difficult.”
Matt’s least favorite hole is the 458-yard second hole, requiring a carry over wetlands off the tee and a deep fairly flat green that angles behind a large front-right bunker. “It’s the most difficult hole on the course in my opinion,” Matt said. “It has the toughest tee shot on the course, preceded by the easiest tee shot on the course.”
Jessica selected the par-5 15th hole, measuring 427 yards from the red tee, as her least favorite. “I think I lost three balls on the hole, but that has a lot more to do with my golf skills than the hole,” she said.