CLERMONT, FL—The opening of Legends Golf Club near Clermont does two things:
one, it adds another top flight daily fee golf course to the already rich
Orlando area; and two, it further accentuates how the topography found
throughout Lake County is ideally suited for golf.
The good news is that the city is expanding in this direction—west and
south, into Lake and Osceola counties—and that a number of fine, exciting
golf courses have been built on some of the most fascinating properties
Orlando has ever seen. Clearly, with its hills and flowing land, this part
of the state offers what few other locales can: elevations and the absence
Like nearby Diamond Players Club Clermont and Palisades, as well as its
cousin Kings Ridge located across the street, Legends is a high bluff-low
valley course that takes full advantage of an undulating and relatively
treeless landscape. These courses are unlike anything located within city
limits and for this reason alone they are worth the short drive west.
Visually the course soars. At its highest points it affords full-fledged
panoramic views of the surrounding hills and vales and citrus groves. These
vistas, once impossible to find on a Florida golf course, are increasingly
becoming available to developers in this area who are wisely realizing that
this sort of up-and-down action is appealing to both residents and golfers.
The concept of “view” sells everywhere, especially here where it is so rare.
The property has much in common with the windy rolling landscapes of the
Midwest. Though many of the views overlook the rooftops of the Lennar Homes
development quickly filling in around the course, there are plenty of long
looks out into the rural distance and several that oversee Lake Louisa to
Legends is not designed to be a difficult or even a spectacular golf course
but it’s a success for what it is: a modest test of golf, difficult if
approached too casually but eminently playable even from the championship
tees at 6,911 yards.
The well-known golf team of Clifton, Ezell, Clifton, so adept at creating
solid, populist golf courses in Orlando, designed the course with regard to
a residential mentality. Though capable of hosting serious players and
tournaments, Legends is geared to the local crowd and designed to appeal to
the widest array of players. Most of the rounds will come from the owners of
the new development and the Kings Ridge community, but all Orlando players
should give this course a look if they are interested in genuine relief from
their litany of flat, water-hazard reliant courses. What stands out about
Legends, aside from it’s hilly movements, is the fresh, clean presentation.
The course is balanced and stable from tee to green, conventional in every
sense. Nothing original or dynamic is happening here, but there are few
Plenty of fairway is given to the players and most hazards are benignly
placed to the sides. The holes are uniformly attractive but they are rarely
artificially framed or built up. There are some prodigious breaks in the
mid-sized greens but even these are rarely beyond management. And while the
set-up is mostly straightforward, players looking for an intellectual game
will find just enough strategy at holes such as the 5th, 14th, and 16th to
keep them interested.
The fifth might be the best hole at Legends, a 393-yard (back markers)
downhill dogleg left. From the tee the view is long into the surrounding
hills and the elevation promotes a feeling of power. A bunker at the inside
corner looks insignificant but failure to carry it means an awkward second
shot from a poor angle into a green guarded by water to the right. The angle
in is better from the right, but another bunker guards this side of the
landing area and from here the hazard is more threatening, circling partly
in front of the green. The approach is very much downhill and intense, its
distance difficult to gauge.
Another tumbling hole is the 14th, reachable for some even at 551 yards. The
fairway is broad and slightly uphill from the tee, and the second plays
level to a brow some 100 yards from the green. From there it falls over a
ridge and down to a tight green well below fairway level. A bunker and a
deep hazard guard the green to the left but shots kept to the right have a
chance at running on. Those that don’t will have a ticklish pitch into this
sunken green where a front pin is tough to see and even harder to get close
The 16th is a classic angle hole, a slight
dogleg left. At 427 yards it is the second longest par four at Legends, and
once again the fairway is wide, guarded to the sides by bunkers. The
tendency is to play down the right where there is the most room, but from
this side the second is a long uphill shot over a bunker that defends the
middle and right of the shallow, back-to-front sloping green.
A better and bolder play is to drive aggressively
down the left side to the bend in the dogleg. Though risky, this decision
saves valuable yards and opens up the left side of the fortressed green
complex. Once past this hole, only two average par fours await, so the 16th
is the breaking point, the last real test of the round.