The opening of Legends Resort, a 54-hole property, in 1990 was a landmark event in Myrtle Beach. The Scottish-inspired facility attracted the national spotlight and golfers arrived in droves.
A clubhouse modeled after an old-world castle, a lighted 30-acre driving range, and three outstanding golf courses have been powerful lure. A young Tom Doak designed Heathland, the Parkland Course offers a more traditional layout, and Moorland, a P.B. Dye creation, might be the most discussed of the trio.
Thirty years later, Legends remains as popular as ever and Moorland still stirs plenty of conversation, a testament to the quality of the course.
Here is what you need to know about Moorland before teeing it up.
● Golf Digest famously ranked Moorland as the 37th toughest course in America. With a rating and slope of 74.0/140, it offers a substantial challenge, but Moorland isn’t one of the nation’s hardest courses. It’s not the toughest course on the property – that distinction belongs to Parkland, in my humble opinion. The course isn’t easy but it shouldn’t scare you away either. Asked for one word to describe Moorland, fun is more appropriate than hard.
● Why is Moorland so fun? In part because Dye wasn’t afraid to push boundaries. From the white tees, the course features a 220-yard par 3 (No. 7) and a 223-yard par 4 (No. 16, otherwise known as Hell’s Half Acre).(top photo) The nature of the challenge varies throughout the round, leaving golfers anticipating what comes next. It’s worth the trip just to play No. 16, which offers a legitimate chance to drive the green but the putting surface is surrounded by trouble if you miss.
● Moorland’s fairways are among Myrtle Beach’s widest so, unless your driver is totally off the rails, finding the short grass shouldn’t be a problem. While there is ample room, better players are rewarded for playing to the proper spots in the fairway.
● The challenge at Moorland comes around the greens. The putting surfaces are among the Grand Strand’s largest but if you miss, getting up-and-down isn’t easy. The greens are elevated and often flanked by deep bunkers. Tightly mown run-off areas also make recovery challenging, so make sure your wedge game is sharp.
● Now to address the elephant in the room. Legends has a reputation for slow play. Don’t assume because a guy posted something on a message board two weeks ago about how long it took him to play that you will have a similar experience. My group, teed off at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning and played in 4:15, perfectly acceptable pace of play. We had lunch, a beer in the clubhouse, watched some of the British Open, and were on the way home by 1:15 p.m. That’s a good day.
Yes, Moorland is challenging but it’s also a treat to play.