Legacy Golf Club in Phoenix makes a quick impression

By Rodney Campbell, Contributor

PHOENIX - With a nod to the past and an eye on the future, Legacy Golf Club opened last October and immediately got to work. The course, built on the grounds of a former ranch owned by Dwight B. Heard and Adolphus Clay Bartlett, hosted the LPGA Standard Register PING this past March. Club officials know the competitive climate of Valley golf and they were certain that four days of TV coverage on ESPN would do the course a lot of good.

Legacy Golf Club
Watch out for the bunkers at Legacy Golf Club.
Legacy Golf Club
If you go

It also helped that Charlotta Sorenstam earned her first pro victory in a tournament where she shot 64 in the second round. Her winning score was 12-under par.

"The exposure was fantastic," said club pro Chris Nachtweih.

The resort still gets calls from players wondering if theirs was the course that hosted the tournament. Located next door to the Raven at South Mountain, Legacy is getting around 180 rounds on busy days during the long, hot summer.

"Much of our business has come by word of mouth," Nachtweih said. "We have hosted a lot of tournaments, too."

Nachtweih said his favorite holes are the last six on the par-71 course. There's no wonder why.

Ever seen a 10,000-square-foot bunker? Make it to the 580-yard 14th and you will. If your shot goes left, you would probably rather be in the sand because one of the course's three water holes also runs down that side of the fairway. With such a well-protected green, your approach shot becomes that much tougher of a challenge.

The 510-yard 18th features a bit of history on the right side of the fairway. Just after the turn of the 20th century, the Heard Ranch grain silos were the tallest buildings in Maricopa County. Course designers kept the silos in place and they still stand almost 100 years later.

As for the hole itself, a carefully placed tee shot will enable a player to go for the green in two. Be cautious with that approach shot because, like so many other holes on the course, the green is guarded by deep bunkers where dreams of birdies get buried.

A tough par-3 awaits on the 17th. It's 203 yards from the back tees and a bunker runs down much of the left side of the fairway.

"It's tough when the pin is cut on the left side," Nachtweih said.

Another par-3, the 165-yard 15th requires a carry over water and an accurate shot that you can only hope stays away from a bunker on the left front of the green. Speaking of the green, it's elevated and can be tricky if your tee shot goes long.

On the front nine, the 136-yard seventh is tougher than it looks. While the green is slightly elevated, it's not enough to affect which club you use. The green is quite shallow and there are five bunkers guarding it. In keeping with the other traps on the course, these are deep.

Another historic building turns up on the first hole. The Sierra Vista House hosted many dignitaries over the years, including President Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 when he was a guest of the Heard family. If you play early enough in the morning, you will be treated to the sound of roosters crowing along the 399-yard hole. Though the resort is only 10-15 minutes from Sky Harbor Airport and offers views of the downtown skyline, this is about as rural as Phoenix gets.

"We get calls from people who have flights coming in or leaving that day asking if we have tee times," Nachtweih said. "We are a great day of departure course. (Arriving or departing passengers) don't have the time to get to the north Scottsdale courses."

This is also a true resort with 328 suites spread among 12 clusters of buildings adjacent to the course. The accommodations are split evenly between Master (827 square feet) and Studio (412 square feet) suites. When you stay in the Master suites, you'll have a separate living and dining area, a 32-inch TV and video cassette player, a three-disc CD changer, a kitchen, whirlpool tub and separate shower, and a 25-inch TV in the bedroom.

Staying in the Master Suite is well worth the extra cost, especially if you have a youngster or two along. The couch folds out to become a bed. You also won't have to worry about watching that third rerun of the Pokemon movie with two TVs in the room.

The Studio Suite has a combined living and dining area, a kitchenette, and 25-inch TV and video cassette player. This room is plenty big for a couple taking a weekend getaway.

With kids in mind, there's a children's wading pool and play area on the grounds. Adults can check out the health club, lighted tennis courts, bicycling and jogging trails, and sand volleyball court.

A convenient dining option is the Trail's End Bar & Grill, located in the same building as the golf pro shop. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and seats 64 inside and 20 outside. For lunch and dinner, diners may choose from salads, steaks, sandwiches, seafood, and pasta. On the busy July 4 weekend, the three service members couldn't keep up with the heavy demand, so it took a little longer than usual to be served. The food was worth the wait, but there should have been another waiter or waitress around to match the crowd.

Legacy is offering summer specials through Sept. 9. A Studio Suite runs $69 a night and a Master Suite is $99 a night. The Stay & Play package, which includes a round of golf, is $105 per night in a Studio and $135 in a Master. Additional rounds can be had for $40 per guest for each night's stay.

If you're just coming out for a round of golf, the fees are $60 in the morning, $40 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and $30 after 2. And for a limited time, if you stay the first night at $69 or $99, you get 50 percent off the second night.

Rodney Campbell, Contributor

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