The final round of our trip was at Legacy Golf Links, which is located just south of Pinehurst in Aberdeen. It only took us about 10 minutes to get to the course from where we staying. For those of you who are directly challenged you’ll want to be aware that the clubhouse is located a bit further south than the community entrance. If you turn into the community and miss the sign like I did, you might end up driving around aimlessly. That’s something I’m all too familiar with!
You won’t find Legacy on any of the best in state ranking websites, but don’t let that fool you! It is more of a testament to the quality of golf that North Carolina offers as opposed to a reflection of Legacy. After playing Legacy, I’ll say that it is one of my favorite Pinehurst areas courses that I’ve played. Plus, the ranger that was there when we played added incredible value to the experience!
Although Legacy is under the Nicklaus Design umbrella, Jack Nicklaus Jr gets the credit for this design. I didn’t have much luck tracking down a list of courses that he has designed, but I found one in Arizona that I recall liking. When it comes to the design, Jack Jr hit a home run! If I were to try my hand at course design, it very well could look something like this! Assuming that I had the same tools and training as these big name designers, of course! The biggest parallel I can draw is that Legacy reminded me quite a bit of a John Fought design. Fought is one of my favorite architects, with much of his work being on the West Coast!
I’ve commented a couple times that I love Fought courses because they are playable off the tee, but require good irons to score. In a nutshell, that’s what I enjoyed so much about Legacy. I felt like I always had a chance to get the tee ball in play and let my irons and short game bail me out if needed. Heck, you can even pull off the hero shot here!
I played the Blue tees which are 71.4/127/6495. As evidenced by those numbers, the chance to put together a good score is there! Even from the Black tees, the rating and slope are reasonable. I think the biggest challenge will be trying to get the distance right on the narrow, or shallow, greens. Many greens have a ridge that separates them into sections. I had two poorly timed misses which led to big numbers, but no matter what, I found the scorecard result to match my play on each hole. Good shots were rewarded while poor shots were punished, and that was consistent on full shots and short game shots. The biggest difference between Legacy and say Pinewild from our previous day, is that average shots here were playable. I’d call Legacy a player friendly course!
This player friendliness stood out on the very first hole! It is a mid-length par 4 with plenty of room to the right on the tee shot and the approach. The slope is from right to left so it is almost like this hole was designed for a slicer to try to warm up! Even on the holes with trouble, the trouble was typically on just one side and you could hack your way up the other if needed. The 5th, 10th, and 11th are examples of this with water on one side while mounding (free of bunkers) is on the other side and can yield favorable kicks. I intentionally played it up into the mounds on the 11th and my ball took a huge kick right leaving me with a short birdie putt. There are other player friendly features such as bunkerless greens and holes without many bunkers. I thought the 18th was the only hole out of character with the “friendly” design. It is a long par 4 with a forced carry over water to get to the green. It is a good hole, but I just don’t see many amateur golfers getting on that green in two. Any of the holes just mentioned could be considered the signature hole! Overall, the course is towards the top of what I’ve played in Pinehurst, when it comes to playability.
Another thing that stood out about Legacy was just how creative you can get with your shot selection! The course is heavily mounded, but most of that mounding can be used to your advantage. You can intentionally play away from trouble with the full swings and you might even end up hitting the fairway or green. I know those folks who want to protect par will probably disagree, but I enjoyed not having a gaping bunker on the high side of the hole. That relaxed me allowing me to hit some good drives and gave me the confidence that I could always string together some birdies. I was able to use my imagination around the greens too, especially if I was out of position. The slopes in the greens tended to feed shots towards pin locations, which I think is awesome! Also, because of the greenside mounding, I was able to chip to an upslope on the opposite side of the green, at least leaving myself a par putt.
Like many of the courses in the area, Legacy has some wonderful scenery. The course is located on a flatter piece of property featuring multiple lakes and thousands of those pretty pine trees that make me love the area! The course has some waste bunkers and native grass, but it doesn’t look as rustic as say Deercroft or Dormie Club. The front nine has some homes visible, but they are set back far enough so as not to be a nuisance. There aren’t any homes on the back nine at this time, but I’m not sure what the plans are for development going forward. For my Gulf Coast readers (all one of you maybe, hehe) Legacy reminded me a lot of Grand Bear in Mississippi. We were a twosome sandwiched in-between two foursomes (4.5 hour pace) so I was able to get plenty of pictures, make sure to enjoy them!
The conditions at Legacy were very good. I mentioned it in previous reviews, but this area was affected recently by Hurricane Matthew. There was a large downed tree near the 14th tee box, but the maintenance staff did a great job to clean everything up! We got an idea of how much water the course took on because of a pond near the 17th green coming up almost to the green! Because of all the rain from the storm and the planting of the winter ryegrass within the last week, the course played long. The fairways and tees were full and because the new ryegrass was just starting to grow, it didn’t affect play. Thankfully, the rough here was shorter than at Pinewild. I only got one bird’s nest lie! The greens were the best part of the maintenance as they were firm, quick, and nearly blemish free. If you read the putt right and got it started on that line, it was going to drop. I had to play for plenty of release around the greens and it was tough to get close to front flags. The greens were a bit slower than at Pinewild, but you could still spend some strokes here too.
Out of the ~15 Pinehurst courses that I’ve played so far, Legacy is towards the top. It is playable, has a good look, and the staff was fantastic! On two blind tee shots, the ranger was out telling us when we were clear to hit and then spotted our tee shots. In all my rounds, I haven’t see that before! Legacy has a lot to like and I’d suggest you check it out if you are in town.
#1 (375 yard par 4):
#2 (532 yard par 5):
#3 (399 yard par 4):
#4 (419 yard par 4):
#5 (154 yard par 3):
#6 (489 yard par 5):
#7 (352 yard par 4):
#8 (355 yard par 4):
#9 (162 yard par 3):
#10 (376 yard par 4):
#11 (170 yard par 3):
#12 (385 yard par 4):
#13 (527 yard par 5):
#14 (393 yard par 4):
#15 (367 yard par 4):
#16 (457 yard par 5):
#17 (151 yard par 3):
#18 (432 yard par 4):