The Legacy Golf Club

Theodore Roosevelt and Pancho Villa would visit the Sierra House off the 1st tee in the early 1900s.
Theodore Roosevelt and Pancho Villa visited the Sierra House still located off the 1st tee in the early 1900s.

The Legacy Golf Club in Phoenix is steeped in history, and it’s one of the most well-conditioned courses in the Valley. Located on what was once Dwight B. Heard’s sprawling 7,500-acre ranch, the course enjoys unlimited watering rights, so it’s green year round. Artifacts from the Old West are scattered throughout the property, and the ranch’s original two-grain silos, which were built in 1902, still stand sentry along the 18th fairway and were once the tallest structures in all of Maricopa County. On occasion in the early 1900s, President Theodore Roosevelt and Mexican Revolutionary Pancho Villa were known to visit the Sierra Vista House that still marks the 1st tee to this day.

The course was designed by Gary Panks and opened in 1999. The following year, it was chosen to host the LPGA Standard Register Ping Classic. Panks also designed The Raven Golf Club at South Mountain that’s literally right across the street, and by my count, he’s either designed or had a hand in exactly 30 courses throughout the state. The Legacy plays 6,946 yards from the Copper Tees to a Par of 71, a course rating of 72.0, and a slope of 127. A couple of years ago, I shot a career-best 67 out here and lipped out an eagle putt for a 66 on the 18 hole. Here are some of the highlights of the round:

The Par 4 3rd hole turns right into a view of South Mountain.
The Par 4 3rd hole turns right into a beautiful view of South Mountain.

Holes Worth Writing Home About
When I walked into the pro shop and asked about the course, Head Golf Professional Will Booth told me three things: driving is at a premium; the fairway bunkers are deep and penal (I happened to hit a few of them off the tee, and he was right); and keep your ball below the hole. He was right on all three counts. He also told me that the course was probably in the best shape it’s been in some time. I can’t say I could tell a difference. It’s been in near tournament-level conditions every time I’ve played it.

One of my favorite holes on the entire course is the short, 376-yard Par 4 3rd. You hit your tee shot to the left side of a sloping fairway to avoid the fairway bunkers on the right, but your approach shot to an elevated green is overlooked by South Mountain in the background. It’s a really pretty visual.

On the back nine, I would say the Par 4 16th hole is one of the most unique. It’s 389 yards, but if you avoid the fairway bunkers on the left, you’ll get some nice roll-out and have just a wedge in for your 2nd shot.

South western
Artifacts from the Old West are still scattered throughout the property.

The greens are bermudagrass, and the edges of all the cups are painted white just like they do on the tour. I thought this was a nice touch – probably so viewers can see the holes on TV.

Legacy has a grass driving range with Nike range balls, a huge practice putting green, and a very, very nice short game area. Come a little early so you can work on your game.

Quiet Please…
The bunkers were really the only thing that drew any complaints from the people I was playing with. It’s not that they’re in bad shape. To be fair, by the end of the day, in 103 degree dry heat, they should be as hard as a rock. The fairways, greens, and tees were all in great shape.

Here’s another juicy piece of news – The Legacy isn’t aerating its green until July 7th! That means you have a little less than a month to enjoy this gem.

The Par 3 17th hole is tough, especially when the pin is tucked all the way back left behind the bunkers.
The Par 3 17th hole is tough, especially when the pin is tucked in the back left behind the bunkers.

My best shot of the day came on the long Par 3 17th hole. The pin was back, and I measured 233 yards with my rangefinder. The hole is guarded by deep bunkers to the left of the green complex. I hit a 3-iron hybrid to the middle of the green not wanting to mess around and still had to putt my ball up and over a pretty severe ridge for a two-putt par. If the wind was blowing any harder, this would have been a very, very difficult hole. It’s the No. 5 handicap hole.

While We’re Young
One we got the go ahead to play though a few of our Golf Academy classmates, we flew. It only took us 3:20 to get around. Unless you’re out here on a weekend, I don’t see any reason why you would play this course in over four hours.

Next On the Tee
Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club in Maricopa. It’s played host to multiple U.S. Open Qualifiers.

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