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Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Legend Trail

6845 Yds, Par 72, Slope 138, by Rees Jones


They Say: "Designed by Rees Jones, Legend Trail Golf Club offers bent grass greens and an amiable challenge that seems to capture a bit of Scottsdale's Old West spirit. This premiere course has a special essence of the Southwest Sonoran style of golf."

The course is sophisticated, elegant, and challenging -- but the extremely elevated greens common to "jones" courses (of all 3 generations) is barely present, i.e. the greens are elevated but not so much as one might expect . . . i.e. there are only small swales, usually, on the sides and back of the elevated green, where the front might very well be extremely elevated from the fairway, if you see what I mean . . . the traps are cunningly placed, gorgeously shaped, and full of very nice heavy granite sand -- well raked by the groundscrew, but not fluffy . . . the greens are skillfully contoured, but not contortured -- on this day they had been recently aerated, so the putting wasn't the best, but one could tell they were normally fine . . . the greenbelt was wide, especially in places where holes parallel each other, but the fairways still reek of drama and challenge, with moguls, swales, and mounds throughout . . . from the tees, sometimes, there is a very uncomfortable feeling for the first timer on where to place the ball, the kind of doubt that first kills confidence, then the score.

Like #6 above, a short par 4, but most of what you can see from the tee is that big bunker on the left and a dense copse of tall palo verdes in the trash that crosses the fairway: How much can I hit? I hit a full 3wood to the right side of the fairway not-quite short of the bunker; Mr Science hit a half-driver on the same line not quite past the bunker. My PW went 8 feet right of the pin on this extremely elevated green; his, 10 ft left. Ordinarily, those would both have been in serious danger of birdies, even tho' the pin was just on the slope between two tiers, but with the aeration, not this day. I remember this hole from before tho'. Not hitting perfect shots makes it much more difficult. I love the ideation of that #6, it's so, so, so full of wild abandonment that it must prey on the subconcious of the golfer, luring him long into trouble like a siren.

#11 has to be the second hardest hole in Phoenix, behind #4 at Rancho Manana . . . it's not as steeply uphill as #4, but it's longer. I see where the web site says to use a fairway wood instead of a driver, but I can't honestly say that that would have helped me. I remember this hole, too, with a snowman everytime. It's one of those holes, I'd just like to play over-and-over, until I get it right.

#14 is a mid-length par 4 pregnant with challenge. We've played this course 3 times now. The first time on this hole we were so long as to get into trouble from the sharp downhill of the 2nd half of the fairway. So the second time we both laid up too short . . . you don't want to be hitting a longiron into that green. But this time, just as on #6, I hit a full 3wood and Mr Science a half driver; he rolled a further down the hill than I did, but I was very happy with my semi-flat lie. Again, he was long and left, say 12 ft, and I was short and right, say 8 ft. The bumps derailed his birdie putt again, but I would not be denied.
But that would be my only birdie that day; I shot 45-47=92. Mr Science had a 79 with 2 birdies. After my debacle on #11, all I wanted was 2 birdies, but Mr Science broke 80 AND got 2 birdies, trending dangerously close to improving from consistent mediocrity to consistent excellence, if you see what I mean . . . 8^D . . .

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