Parkland Course at Legends Resort: Into The Woods

Myrtle Beach’s Legends Resort has three golf courses—the Heathland, Moorland and Parkland. All three are very solid, so much so that many visitors argue over which course is the best of the three. That is the mark of a successful trio of on-property courses, in this golfer’s humble opinion. My ranking puts Parkland in third place at Legends, but not by much. After all, someone has to finish last in the class at Dartmouth…

The Course
The Parkland Course has something of a checkered history design-wise, which contributes to its uniqueness. After designing the successful Heathland Course on open, rolling grassland across the middle of the property, Doak was conscripted to be a bit bolder with his Parkland layout, which caused some amount of conflict with original ownership. In the end, Mike Strantz had a role in finishing the Parkland Course, which is indeed more adventurous in places than the Heathland.

The main features that set the Parkland apart as one of the area’s more interesting layouts are the bunkering and the contouring and size of the greens. In addition to being enormous, some of the bunkers are more like chasms, sinking ten or more feet below the putting surface at times. Take the short par four ninth hole, whose back-tee length of less than 350 yards makes it seem like it’ll yield up plenty of birdies. That is, until the player looks out toward the green to see a huge, deep bunker waiting to gobble up an overly aggressive tee shot or overly timid wedge or short iron approach. Much like other Strantz-influenced courses, the Parkland uses psychological intimidation to great effect.

There are scoring chances, though, for the smart and steady player. The next hole, in fact is one of them; the par-four tenth is also fairly short, with a wide fairway and large green where players can use its slopes to get their approach shots close to the hole. These sorts of features make Parkland a lot of fun to play. If you happen to catch it when the fairways and greens are firm and fast, it can be a scream.

The Experience
The main criticism leveled against Legends Resort in Myrtle Beach is that it can sometimes have the feeling of a “golf factory” where players are moved from the parking lot to the clubhouse to their carts to the golf course in a fashion that is more, shall we say, militaristic than concierge-like. That is not terribly far off at peak times, but in the so-called “shoulder season,” there is no feeling of rush or sluggishness on a packed golf course. And the Parkland, like the other courses on property, is normally in nice shape, especially considering the volume of grass—especially the putting surfaces—that needs to be maintained out there.

The Verdict
Especially if you will be staying somewhat centrally on the Grand Strand, you would do well to put Parkland on your itinerary. Chances are you will find it a refreshing aesthetic change of pace from some of the area’s more pedestrian tracks.

(posted 4/9/14)

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