Arizona Golf Course Reviews Legend Trail Golf Club Offers Great Golf With a Touch of Scottsdale’s Old West Spirit
Excellent Arizona Golf Adventures from the Arizona Golf Authority
Legend Trail is the perfect course to play when you want to savor the unique experience of playing golf in Arizona’s Sonoran desert. Whether you choose the par-72 Black tee “Long Trail” at 6,845 yards, or the 4,910-yard “Short Trail” Sage tees, you will enjoy stunning North Scottsdale picture postcard-type panoramas, excellent Tif-Eagle turf course conditioning and a first-rate Rees Jones layout.
The fairways at Legend Trail Golf Club are wide and virtually uninterrupted by desert from tee to green. The desert-carries over native plants are mostly limited to the distance between your tee box and the generous fairways in front of you. The tee boxes rise up as grass islands growing out of the dry desert floor. They deliver a surreal experience of feeling marooned in the prickly desert flora, and add to the high-adventure of playing your way through its remarkable arid-lush beauty.
Now be advised, you choose your own tee box for the round, and therefore, the desert-carries you’ll face for the day, so choose wisely. The “Long Trail” is rated 72.3 and carries a healthy 138 slope; it’s a more modest 68.1 and 115 for the “Short Trail”. Four additional sets of tee markers are located between them so everyone can find a comfortable challenge for the day.
But no matter what teeing ground you choose, Legend Trail will perch you high above manicured fairways that seem to go on forever, and elegantly crafted green complexes molded into the natural terrain. And yet, each time you arrive at your ball, if you glance over to survey the fairway’s edge, you will witness just how quickly the pristine golf course turf vanishes and the harsh, natural desert surface returns. In a word: instantly; it’s quite a sight to behold.
Rees Jones’ layout at Legend Trail presents an enjoyable and playable routing up and over this undulating portion of high-desert property in North Scottsdale, and includes a unique combination of back-to-back 5-pars at the 16th and 17th holes – more on those two later.
A favorite pair on the front-9 starts at the par-4 sixth, playing at just 335 yards. It presents the classic temptation to try and squeeze a bit more distance out of a tee ball than may be safe, accuracy-wise. Desert left and bunkers right narrow the fairway that Mr. Jones decided shouldn’t provide a level lie, anywhere.
The short approach shot, played from an uneven lie, must carry a dry desert arroyo fronting a raised, severely contoured green which wraps around a cavernous front-left bunker. The arroyo and bunker see plenty of action as they collect all the “chunky” second shots those undulating fairway lies produce.
Standing on the seventh tee box, Mr. Jones tempts you with an eminently reachable, 495-yard par-5. He provides a target-bunker at the top corner of the generous, gently sweeping, right-to-left fairway to aim at, and draw your tee ball off of. That will leave you a reasonable hybrid or long-iron second shot to an enormous putting surface, protected by a lake on the left, but wide open on the right side for a run-on shot.
What he doesn’t show you from the tee is the left-side lake guarding the second half of the fairway and green complex, and the fact that it extends back, close enough to the tee, to drown any “gonna go for it in two” tee ball is launched too far left. Rinse one here and this routine birdie hole now looks like a long third shot, over water, to get on in regulation and get out with a well-earned par.
The back-9 at Legend Trail Golf Club is about as good as golf in Arizona gets. The routing, the shot values and the scenery combine for a high energy thrill-ride you won’t soon forget. The crescendo is reached at the 16th and 17th holes, a back-to-back 5-par pairing which can take a good round really low, or destroy 15 holes of solid play.
The 530-yard 16th plays from an elevated tee, which prominently displays an arroyo cutting across the far end of the fairway lying in the pristine meadow below. Players going for the green in two will carry the arroyo with their tee ball; on-in-regulation players play short.
The small green complex is treacherous. It presents a deep, but narrow putting surface, elevated above the fairway and surrounded by a second arroyo that collects everything that is not precisely on target. It’s a lot easier to find this green with a wedge from short yardage than with a fairway metal from way out; your choice.
The 510-yard par-5 17th, on the other hand, begs to be eagled. The putting surface is much larger here but is segmented into several different tiers. If you’re ‘gonna go for it in 2 anywhere, this is the place. Keep your tee ball in the right-hand side of the fairway and, on approach, avoid the bunker front-left of the green. The right side of the green is wide open so you can run it on if you need to. Skilled players can target the tier the pin is on, the rest of us just try to get it on and consider a putt for eagle, from anywhere on the green, accomplishment enough.
Legend Trail Golf Club is a full service golf facility; practice facilities are state-of-the-art and the pro shop is always full of the latest in equipment and fashion trends.
The John Jacobs – Shelby Futch Golf Academy is located here and provides everything the student-golfer dreams of, from detailed video swing-analysis studios to private swing instruction, short game development to handle the subtleties of the Tif-Eagle surfaces and full playing lessons on the championship layout.
The Hot Stix Golf Performance Center also calls Legend Trail home. As everyone who’s been through the Hot Stix club-fitting procedure knows, the matching of an avid player to both a club and a ball, custom tailored to their game, produces great rewards on the golf course.
Legend Trail Golf Club showcases all the best Arizona golf has to offer, including some “good ’ole western style feudin.” And once you’ve played the 11th hole, you’ll be qualified to join the long-standing local debate. The 2 camps lay out this way: Do we leave the 440-yard par-4, the No. 2 handicap hole on the golf course, as it is, or should we keep the green complex, build new tees at the “corner” and convert it to a long, gorgeous downhill 3-par.
Go play Legend Trail Golf Club, you’ll enjoy the day, and then let us know what you think about the 11th.
Arizona Golf Authority AZGA “Local Hang” for Legend Trail Golf Club is the club’s own Cantina at Legend Trail. The patio offers the perfect spot to enjoy their full menu of refreshments and fare amid the tranquil desert surroundings, and offers the best view in town of Pinnacle Peak’s elegant north face. When you’re ready to two-step with the long-neck beer and cheeseburger crowd, head up the road a piece to Harold’s Cave Creek Corral, located just north of the club in Cave Creek, or the Horny Toad, just down the street from Harold’s, in Cave Creek as well.
It’s “All Things Arizona Golf” from the Arizona Golf Authority.