The Legacy Golf Links was the host of the 2000 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship, and the course is certainly primed to reward strong players who understand its design.
Featuring many doglegs among its par fours and par fives, players must consider both the fairway’s shape and the surrounding forest when teeing off. Going wide from the tee will often leave the best view of the green, if not the best distance. Playing to the inside of the dogleg, however, will leave a blind shot if you come up short.
Nicklaus Design incorporated heroic elements as well into its use of doglegs. Consider No. 10, where players will consider how much pond they should bite off when playing to the Cape-style fairway.
The 460-yard No. 18 hole has always been celebrated in the local golf scene...or cursed by those who are playing it in the moment. Another dogleg right, players will tee off to a largely blind landing area. Upon landing, players must now consider the best approach to a green fronted by a pond. Those who play wide of the dogleg will have a better angle but, again, a farther distance. Those on the inside of the dogleg will have a shorter shot, but a forced carry of the hazard.
I have opined countless times previously that when courses opt to use the word "links" in their title it comes off as being at minimum disingenuous and at worst a bad case of Madison Avenue hype.
Adam has provided a solid accounting of the course. The design is thorough in its shotmaking requirements and you're tested right from the start as the opening four holes put players on notice.
The course does retreat during the midportion of the round. Nothing bad per se, but nothing that strikes a lasting "legacy."
The par-3s Adam mentioned are good but the routine in having a frontal pond -- whether on the left or right side does get a bit old when done again and again.
The ending is a fine conclusion. The par-5 16th invites the opportunity for eagles or double-bogeys. The par-3 17th is as mentioned -- pro forma shot over water. The ending par-4 18th is one that will be etched in the memory banks. If you fail to hit the fairway -- take the prudent course of action and avoid attempting to take on the frontal pond. Those taking the bold route -- will likely make a quick donation to the golf ball fund at the course.
Overall, Legacy is a quality layout but the immediate neighborhood is stockpiled with plenty of golf options. Place the facility in an area where the competition is not as keen and the fanfare for the layout would likely rise.
Adam correctly pointed out the value proposition for those looking to stretch their golfing dollars. The practice area is also a nice addition and the overall turf quality from the different times I have played has been good. Certainly, worth a look for those not enamored in playing just the elite bucket list layouts that inhabit the greater Pinehurst / Southern Pines region.
M. James Ward
The breadth and depth of golf options in the Sandhills of North Carolina can be overwhelming. Loaded with courses from a variety of designers spanning almost all architectural eras, Pinehurst and Southern Pines can satisfy any golfer’s expectations. On the other hand, navigating the vast selection can be as difficult for a return visitor as it is for a newcomer.
Even with its many globally-renowned neighbors, the publicly accessible Legacy Golf Links stands out. It is a course that is sure to satisfy any level of player visiting the Sandhills. A host to many prestigious amateur events, this Jack Nicklaus II championship design incorporates a range of features throughout the round. Among the most notable aspects of the course are its:
• Serene setting: situated fifteen minutes south of the Southern Pines commercial district, Legacy Golf Links instills a feeling of tranquility. Though the layout is built among a neighborhood, homes are not noticeable. There is a peacefulness about the course which meanders through thick hardwood forests and still lakes.
• Emphasis on playing angles: Legacy features a number of kidney-shaped and other oblong green complexes. On some holes it is necessary to find the correct side of the generous fairways to attack the flag.
• Thoughtful use of the topography: On this rolling property, corridors meander across slopes in a variety of directions. Throughout the round, the player may need a fade or draw to hold a shot against a canted fairway (such as the 7th or 10th). On other holes, the daring golfer may take on a blind shot and trust the undulating landing area for a good kick. The short par four 15th and the very memorable 18th, which plays over the crest of a knoll, are two fine examples.
• Demanding one-shotters: Each of Legacy’s par threes incorporates a water hazard, yet none plays similarly thanks to the setting of the putting surfaces. These tee shots are unnerving, even to the best players.
In any other North Carolina location, Legacy would not only be a great bang-for-your-buck, but probably would rank among the best public courses. With phenomenal practice facilities and country-club-ambience, Legacy provides a calm atmosphere where locals and visitors alike can escape the busier parts of Pinehurst.