Legends Golf Resort: Heathland Course (Myrtle Beach, SC on 01/02/16)

I decided that day two of my trip would start at Legends Golf Resort. It was convenient to where I was staying and there are three courses on-site which would offer some flexibility for a replay. With short days this time of year, every few minutes can count when trying to squeeze in an afternoon round! Legends actually has five courses, with the other two maybe a half hour in either direction. The three courses here are Heathland, Moorland, and Parkland while Oyster Bay is across the border in North Carolina and Heritage is in Pawleys Island. Out of the three courses here in Myrtle Beach, I liked the look of the Heathland Course online so I decided to give that one a shot!

I got there about 15 minutes before my 8:00am tee time and the place was packed! I’m not talking just a bit busy, I am talking about at least 100+ golfers getting ready to go! There were multiple 15 passenger vans in the parking lot with Ohio plates so it appeared to be a popular spot for some buddies trips. I know it was a holiday weekend, but I didn’t expect so many folks out this early!  Oddly, we were the first group off the 10th hole and then saw some groups in front once we got to the 1st hole. We were never pressed though and crept our way around in 4 hours and 45 minutes. I’d say cart path only cost us at least an hour or it wouldn’t have been too bad. One thing I’ve read about Legends is that the pace of play can suffer, so if you like to blitz around you might choose your tee time wisely!

Tom Doak designed the Heathland Course and just by seeing that name, you know you could be in for something special. Doak has designed some high profile courses and gets a lot of love among the forums that I follow. The first Doak course that I ever played was Pacific Dunes and I didn’t care for that one much at all, but I really enjoyed the Heathland Course! I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a round here for a couple of reasons! First, the course has a great look and second, it is playable for the average golfer!

Heathland is one of those “theme” courses that can be found at popular golf destinations, say Las Vegas or here in Myrtle Beach. The course is modeled after links courses in countries like Scotland! I haven’t played any courses overseas, but Heathland seems to deliver on the playability that a true links course might offer on a calm day. There is even a burn that criss-crosses throughout the course! The course has wide fairways and large greens with fescue grass and mounding that separate the holes. The course has an open feel to it, with trees potentially affecting play on only three or four holes. The course occupies a lot of land which means that someone can slash it around without having to worry much about being able to play the next shot. You can do just one or two things well all day and play just fine here, which is something I love about a course. Very rarely do I have all facets of my game working, so it was nice to have the option to recover.

Because it was wet and going to be cart path only I played the White tees which are 70.3/125/6355. That’s normally a couple hundred yards shorter than I’d prefer, but it was a cool morning and I figured the ball wouldn’t go anywhere. Plus, the course is a par 71 with only three par 5’s, which makes it play slightly longer than a par 72 of the same yardage. The challenges at Heathland, at least from these tees, are going to be avoiding the deep bunkers and hitting good lag putts. From what I saw of the large bunkers, you want nothing to do with them! Avoiding the greenside bunkers might be tougher than you think because of the uneven lies you’ll have in the fairways. Getting the flight right might some luck for many amateurs! The greens have plenty of undulation, but it didn’t seem overwhelming. You’ll also be faced with lots of lines off the tee, some of them with landing areas that are obstructed by mounding or bunkers.

Considering the all the rain, the conditions were nice and worthy of the $60 green fee. The greens were cut tight and rolled well, just a bit slower than they looked. As you can see from the pictures, it was a gloomy morning which didn’t help to dry things out! Unfortunately, my pictures did very little to compliment the course! The fairways and tees were full and the overseed had come in nicely. The fairways and tees were a smidge long, but that wasn’t a surprise. Compared to a couple others places on the trip, they were tight lies, ha!

Overall, I enjoyed the Heathland course and walked away thinking that it was one of the better value courses that I’ve played so far in Myrtle Beach. I even got a free lunch ticket! Based on my experience, I look forward to trying out the other four courses that are under the Legends umbrella. The only downside I see here could be the pace of play, but I just have my lone round here and the comments of others.

#1 (414 yard par 4):

The 1st is a long par 4 and a tough hole to begin. It doglegs right and the tee shot plays to an uphill sloping fairway, which means drives won’t run out much. The fairway is wide and the left side offers a better view of the green, but a longer shot. The only problem around the green is a cross bunker about 30 yards short that needs to be carried.

1-1 1-2

#2 (323 yard par 4):

The 2nd is a short par 4 and a great strategic hole. Standing on the tee I couldn’t tell if it went left or right but it doglegs right past a mound. The fairway is narrower and playing from the left side, or hitting a longer club from the tee, opens up a view of the green. I hit driver, which isn’t needed, and was left with just a flip wedge into the back to front sloping green. A tee shot over to the right is playable, but could leave a completely blind approach from short range.

2-1 2-2

#3 (195 yard par 3):

The 3rd is the longest par 3 on the course and it plays even longer because it is about a club uphill. The fairway rises to the green so I’d recommend carrying the ball at least to the front of the green. There are some grass bunkers over the green which is a feature that I like to see.

3-1

#4 (338 yard par 4):

The 4th is another short par 4 with some options off the tee. It is one of those holes you will want to play backwards. The fairway is out to the right and gets wider the farther that the tee shot is hit. I hit driver just because the course was playing long, but a layup club should work just fine. If the pin is in the center or back then you can take a driver online with the green (over the fescue) which sits off to the left. That’s the most direct route that leaves a shorter shot, but from the rough. The green is elevated so an accurate short iron approach is needed.

4-1

#5 (509 yard par 5):

The 5th is the first of the three par 5s. It is a bit involved, but still should offer a decent chance at a par or birdie. The fairway is wide for the drive but narrows considerably as the hole plays into the pines. The best drive will carry the bunker in the fairway which is about 250 yards. I cannot carry it that far and played out to the right. That turned out to be a good decision as I had a great angle to layup. Playing from the left side will require a draw layup. The fairway runs out into some rough and a mound so make sure to stay short of that on the layup. Some of the bigger hitters could reach in two but it will have to be an accurate second. The green slopes from back to front.

5-1 5-2

#6 (392 yard par 4):

Besides the last, the 6th is the only other tree lined hole on the Heathland course. The hole goes left and all the trees and the bunker guarding the dogleg make it a good driving hole. It has some distance too so all that makes it the #1 handicap. The green has a few ridges in it which I couldn’t see from the fairway. It doesn’t look like much, but be careful!

6-1 6-2

#7 (459 yard par 5):

The 7th is the shortest par 5 on the course and a great chance for a birdie! It is wide open all the way to the green with the only challenge being the two tiered green. The green rises up about 5 feet to get to the back level and I faced a crazy putt down that hill! I’d suggest being on the proper tier. For those familiar with the Old MacDonald course at Bandon Dunes, this green reminds me of the 11th there. The hole plays longer than it looks because it is uphill.

7-1

#8 (136 yard par 3):

The 8th is the shortest of the par 3s. It is ranked as one of the easier holes and I’d agree because I had just a short iron and could tee it up. The left half of the green is hidden by a mound and a small bunker. The green slopes from left to right so I’d suggest landing the ball slightly left of the flag for the bounce.

8-1

#9 (418 yard par 4):

The 9th is a long par 4. The tee shot plays slightly downhill to the fairway before the approach plays uphill to the green. The green angles from front right to back left and falls off on the left side.   I’d add a club into the green.

9-1

#10 (413 yard par 4):

The 10th is a long par 4 and a tough hole to start the back nine. The biggest problem is going to be multiple, deep bunkers in the fairway that guard the dogleg. Driving in one of them could mean just a layup. The green is deep and has a downslope at the front which makes getting an approach close a difficult task.

10-1

#11 (391 yard par 4):

I thought the 11th was easiesr than the scorecard indicates. It was a drive and a mid iron for me. The drive should avoid the bunkers on the right and then it is open around the green.

11-1

#12 (145 yard par 3):

The 12th is a short par 3 that can be a good scoring opportunity! It is ranked as the easiest hole on the course and I won’t argue too much with that. Hitting the large green with a mid or short iron shouldn’t be difficult but two putting from long range could be. The green is heart shaped and for the most part slopes from right to left.

12-1 12-2

#13 (521 yard par 5):

The 13th is the final par 5 on Heathland! It is the longest of the par 5s, at least from the white tees, and plays even longer because the last half of the hole plays uphill.  The distinguishing feature here is the burn that comes into play on the drive and on the layup. The burn is right of the fairway on the tee shot and then cuts across to the left. That means someone is going to have to decide if they want to play to the left or right on the layup. Both sides are narrow so you better hit an accurate layup! I’d consider adding a club for the third shot.

13-1 13-2

#14 (365 yard par 4):

The 14th is a mid-length par 4 that could be a chance at a good score. The tee shot shouldn’t pose many problems as the fairway is wide, although out of mounds lurks off the fairway. The bigger hitters will want to avoid the driver because of the burn cuts across short of the green (280ish). The green slopes from back to front and falls off over the back.

14-1 14-2

#15 (334 yard par 4):

The 15th is a short par 4 and a good driving hole because of all the options. The hole goes left so someone can take an aggressive line and try to carry some bunkers (225ish) or play out to the right for a longer shot. Depending on conditions, I think the best play is to carry the large bunker as the fairway is the widest just over it. It should be just a short iron from there and a chance to stick it tight!

15-1

#16 (428 yard par 4):

The 16th is the #2 handicap and the longest par 4. It is uphill and because of the wet conditions, it would have taken two of my best swings to get there in two! Like the 13th, the burn cuts across the fairway forcing someone to decide which side to play to. To be honest, I’m not sure what advantage the left fairway offers. Whatever you do, make sure to avoid the deep cross bunker with railroad ties! That unfortunately could come into play after a out of position tee shot. It isn’t right in front of the green, which is nice.

16-1 16-2

#17 (185 yard par 3):

The 17th is a long par 3 that probably plays a club uphill. It is all carry as the green has a small false front. The wide green slopes severely from back to front so make sure to stay below the hole.

17-1

#18 (387 yard par 4):

The 18th is a heavily bunkered closing hole. There are probably at least a dozen traps that line the fairway and guard the green. The green is narrower and falls off on multiple sides.

18-1 18-2

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