Legend Oaks Golf Club in Summerville, SC is much more than your typical daily fee facility. Although the golf course receives much of the spotlight, its tennis program is one of the best in the area, and its restaurant, Bistro One18, receives a lot of business from locals and other non-golfers. I think it’s safe to say that Legend Oaks is truly a hidden gem!
Legend Oaks is located about thirty minutes from Charleston, off of scenic Highway 61. As you turn off the highway and approach the Antebellum-style clubhouse, the road is framed by centuries-old live oak trees. It’s reminiscent of driving down Magnolia Lane at Augusta National, only without the security checks and raised eyebrows!
The Club has received its fair share of accolades for both golf and tennis. The Golf Course Owners Association voted Legend Oaks South Carolina Golf Course of the Year in 2010 and the Charleston Business Journal has named them one of the Top Three Lowcountry Courses. Their tennis program was recognized by the Southern Division of the USTA as the South Carolina Tennis Facility of the Year in 2012.
Legend Oaks offers golfers five sets of tees with yardages that stretch from 6,809 to a manageable 4,957 for the ladies, juniors, and seniors. I found the Blue Tees (6,063/70.5/124) provided a substantial challenge for someone playing the course for the first time, and still, let me leave with a little dignity!
Legend Oaks is built on the site of an antebellum rice plantation and has plenty of water hazards, sand traps, and wetland areas with deep, thick underbrush. Remember those centuries-old live oaks you saw on the way in? You’ll find plenty more of them as you make your way around the layout only these are not there for aesthetics! You’ll also see towering pines and a whole host of Lowcountry wildlife.
The front nine has a little bit of “target golf” to it and demands more control off the tee whereas the back nine is more wide open. The Diamond Zoysia greens were installed in 2014 and not only hold well-hit approach shots nicely they also provide a noticeably smooth putting surface.
As you play the course, you may get a Pete Dye or Jack Nicklaus vibe. That’s because course architect Scott Pool worked for Dye for 10 years and did a lot of course shaping for Jack Nicklaus as well. Unlike Dye who liked to hide pot bunkers and other hazards whenever he could, Pool is upfront about the challenges you’ll encounter. It’s more of a brains-over-brawn philosophy at Legend Oaks or, as former owner Jim Chickarello used to say, “It’s a shotmaker’s course.”
The golf course has several memorable holes; for me, they were Numbers 1, 6, 10,16, and 18.
The opening hole is a 362-yard par 4, dogleg left. If you can fly your tee shot over the fairway bunker on the left, you’ll have a much shorter approach shot. Longball hitters should take note of the water just past the fairway bunker on the right. Success off the tee will leave a mid to short-iron approach shot that plays slightly downhill onto a large green. Although there are no bunkers around the green, the subtle undulations may get you. Nothing wrong with starting with a par!
Number 6 is a 480-yard par 5 that many players will be able to reach in two. Your layup and approach shots play significantly downhill and if you can hit your layup shot over the fairway bunker on the left, you may just catch the slope and roll all the way to the green. The green is small and is protected by water on the right and in the back if you fly it long. Although there are no bunkers around the green, there is a lot of mounding which can make for some interesting lies.
If you’ve never played the golf course before, the 10th hole can be notoriously intimidating. At 322 yards, length isn’t the main concern although longball hitters should take note of the pond in front of the green. Playing your tee shot left of the water will leave a longer approach shot into the green but may save a golf ball or two. The green is very large and angled front left to back right. The right side is protected by a bunker in front as well as water and a marsh area. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, Legend Oaks does something interesting and flips the nines, so this will be your first hole of the day.
Number 16 is a long par 4 that plays 400 yards from the Blue Tees. The hole doglegs around a lake however it’s more like a right turn than a dogleg! Longball hitters may be able to carry the lake off the tee, but for the rest of us, playing your tee shot left of the water will avoid the wet stuff but still leave a hybrid or long iron into the green.
The finishing hole is a straight-away par 5 with some interesting twists. Although it’s only 451 yards from the Blue Tees, it plays longer and requires accuracy on your first two shots. The fairway opens up to the right of the fairway bunker, but your next shot may be blocked out by trees. Anything left of that bunker spells big trouble. If you can hit a straight drive over the bunker on the left you’ll have the best angle into the green. It’s clear sailing from about 140 yards out, once you get past the trees that line either side. The long, narrow green is probably the best-protected green on the golf course with bunkers in front and on either side.
Before your round, be sure to hit a few balls on the full-length driving range where you can swing away with every club in your bag. The practice green is mowed daily and will give you a feel for what you’re about to encounter.
Whether you’re new to the game or just need a tune-up, Legend Oaks offers an instructional program with an experienced staff of professionals who want to help you achieve your goals. Since no two golfers are alike, they use the latest in golf technology and instill the fundamentals of the game to help you succeed.
Legend Oaks is a semi-private golf and tennis facility. Everyone is welcome to play the golf course and enjoy a meal at Bistro One18. It’s a great place to relax and unwind after a round or entertain business clients and associates. Bistro One18 isn’t what you’d expect at a public golf course. Of course, they offer all of the traditional clubhouse foods – wings, sandwiches, and burgers – but they also offer some pretty impressive entrees. Choose from Chicken Marsala, Chicken Alfredo, Fish and Chips, and my favorite, Steak Frites. It’s all good and you won’t leave hungry!
For a daily-fee facility, Legend Oaks has a lot to offer. In addition to the 18-hole championship golf course, they offer a very robust tennis program as well as a very active swimming pool. For more information on becoming a member or to book your next round, give them a call at (843) 821-4077 or visit them online www.legendoaksgolf.com.