Renovation, Veteran Staff Keep Legacy Humming
It’s been 15 months since Legacy Golf Links made the change from bentgrass greens to MiniVerde Bermuda, and general manager Chad Derusseau has been smiling ever since.
“We reopened in October 2011, and we’ve been very pleased with the results,” Derusseau said during an interview in his office on a raw January day.
“We’re really happy with the greens and the way our customers have accepted them. The grass is healthy, and we’ve been able to keep them consistently fast all year. We were never able to do that in the past.”
Derusseau is as pleased with the way the grass holds up during heavy play periods as he is with the speed consistency.
“I think there’s definitely a difference in the wear and tear factor,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of traffic on them — the most play we’ve had in years — and they’ve held up very well.
“For one thing, it’s much harder to make a ballmark on them. You can see where the ball lands, but it’s not nearly as damaging.”
Legacy, the first course designed by Jack Nicklaus II, has always been a popular layout, both with local golfers and those coming in from outside the area for package play.
And, while the amount of play at Legacy is still not quite where management would like to see it, the number of rounds has shown an increase.
“In looking at the area, play is still a little down,” Derusseau said, “but as for our market share, we had more rounds in 2012 than we’ve had in the last few years.
“One thing that’s helped us is that we have groups of locals, outside of members, who are playing more often. They used to play three or four times a year, but now they’re playing almost every month.”
One of the cheapest ways for golfers to enjoy playing many of the Pinehurst area courses is through the purchase of the Sandhills Golf Capital Card. Approximately 20 courses honor the card, and rates are affordable.
“We also offer senior and military rates,” Derusseau said. “There are several options for area golfers to save money. Our reputation with outside golfers has always been good, and our pre-booked rounds for this year are up.
“If golfers don’t want to buy one of our reasonable memberships, we try to get them to buy a card. The rates with the cards run as low as $28 up to $39, which is during the highest rate of play periods.”
Another factor that Derusseau feels helps make Legacy attractive to golfers is the veteran staff.
“We’ve had pretty much the same staff members for 10 years or longer,” he said. “We’re proud of that low turnaround rate from top to bottom, and it ensures that when golfers come to Legacy, they know what they’re going to get.”
Included among those “assets” are head professional Brad Poplyk, golf shop attendant Al Warren, course superintendent Mike Norton, his assistant Shawn Kerr, and a congenial food and beverage staff.
Another factor that makes Legacy popular, especially with senior players, is the varying tee lengths.
Move up from the challenging championship tees and golfers can play from distances that allow them to enjoy the layout. Distances from those tees range from 6,000 yards to 5,000. And they’re not labeled by gender, but by ability.
“Every golfer can find a tee that suits his or her game,” Derusseau said.
There are several well-designed holes at Legacy that offer various challenges, but Derusseau feels the par-3 group is exceptional.
“People coming off the course mention the par-3s a lot,” he said. “One reason is that all bring water into play, which creates a natural beauty. They’re all four very scenic.
“They all have elevated tee boxes, too, which show off the setting. They’re pretty and they’re challenging.”
Derusseau is hoping that 2013 is even better than the past year.
“Our reputation with outside golfers has always been good,” he said, “and a lot of local golfers, especially those who aren’t members of another club, like to play here.
“We’re still pushing the renovation work we’ve done, but we really just want people to think of Legacy as a friendly place to come to.”
For tee times or other information, call (910) 944-8825.
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