Verdict Is In: Legacy Greens Are Superb
Legacy Golf Links celebrated its 20th anniversary Tuesday with a grand-reopening ceremony and a course full of golfers — including media — eager to test the new MiniVerde grass greens.
The verdict is in: The Jack Nicklaus II-designed layout has come up with a winning combination of a great design now featuring one of the best putting surfaces in the area.
The new grass is a strain of Ultra-Dwarf Bermuda, the same putting surface used at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, where the recent PGA Tour Championship was held.
“These greens are perfect,” said Steve Williams, secretary of the Carolinas Golf Reporters Association. “You know I like them … I had two birdies.”
Craig Current is president of the Atlanta-based company that manages Legacy. He was excited about the way the greens accepted approach shots and the true roll of putts.
“The greens have turned out wonderful,” he said. “We have two courses in Atlanta that have this grass so we knew what we were getting.”
Legacy general manager Chad Derusseau was enjoying the outing following three months of working at a club with a course closed for the renovations.
“I shot 77 here a couple of days ago,” Derusseau said, “so I’m claiming the record on the renovated course.”
Derusseau had the opportunity to set a new “record” on Tuesday but ran afoul of the tough signature 18th hole, a 459-yard par-4 with an approach shot over water, and made double bogey.
The demanding hole, nicknamed “The Bear,” lived up to its reputation.
The MiniVerde grass has a smaller blade than the old Bermuda, allowing for a smooth roll with little of the grain previously associated with Bermuda.
The grass also accepts approach shots as well as the more familiar bentgrass, and ball marks are not nearly as damaging. Also, green speed can be as fast as wanted.
One warning when playing Legacy over the next few days, however: Stay out of the rough.
“We just kind of let the grass grow while we were renovating the greens,” Derusseau said, “so the rough is a little higher than we like, especially for a resort course. It’s about the same length Pinehurst No. 2 was for the 2005 U.S. Open.”
That is being taken care of, though, and the rough is being gradually mowed back to a playable length.
“We worked all summer on growing grass,” Current joked. “As you saw, we have a lot of healthy grass out there.”
Brian Katrek, of the PGA Tour Network Radio, did his two-hour show from Legacy earlier in the week and predicted that MiniVerde is the grass of the future for courses that experience severe temperatures in the summer.
“The PGA Tour is very fortunate that it doesn’t have to come to courses when they’re battling the elements,” he said. “Except for the majors — such as the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship — they pretty much follow the seasons where conditions are most favorable. Weather issues that face courses don’t normally face the Tour.
“This is not your father’s Bermuda grass. The greens were so perfect in Atlanta that they looked like they had been air-brushed.”
Legacy is the second course in the Sandhills to convert to Bermuda greens. Hyland Golf Course did it a couple of years ago and the results have been astounding.
The greens at Hyland, although of a slightly different strain than those at Legacy, held up so well during the recent brutal heat of summer that several Carolinas Golf Association qualifying events were moved there from other courses that were suffering damaged putting surfaces.
The changeover at Legacy was handled in-house, with course superintendent Mike Norton and assistant Shaun Kerr overseeing the work.
The popular Legacy course, which has only around 60 members, caters to package play and is open to the public year round. Rates range from $49 to $109, depending on the season. For information or tee times, call (910) 944-8825.
More like this story