My traveling golf league headed north of the border this week. Our destination was Ottawa Lake, Mich. The course we played is called The Legacy, by Arthur Hills. I can attest to the fact that Mr. Hills built a beautiful golf course.
The Legacy features bent grass greens and fairways. The course has five lakes, one of which has a green located in its midst. The eighth hole measures 126 yards from the white tees. Normally when a par 3 plays that short it is considered easy. When you have to land on and stay on an island green, well, it becomes decidedly more difficult.
I'm not sure about the handicap structure used at The Legacy. The eighth hole is the third most difficult one according to the scorecard. I realize that the island green is intimidating, but even if you find the water you get to use the drop area, which is located on the island. A bogey is likely, double at worst. To me a tough hole is one that you can post double figures on.
At the other end of the spectrum, the easiest hole, according to the charts, is No. 11. This hole is a par 5 that plays over 500 yards. With tree issues to the left, plenty of fairway bunkers and another around the green, a big score is possible here.
Despite the questionable handicaps, The Legacy is a very nice layout. The bent grass greens were very quick and some of us (all right me) had difficulty adjusting to the speed. The bent grass fairways were nice, but I prefer a little more grass. It would appear that I don't like to take divots when the fairways look like the greens. I mean who wants to tear up grass like that!
As we drove up to the clubhouse, I couldn't help but think about the name of the course. When I think of the term legacy, it suggests that it is what one remembers about a person or place. We will all leave behind some sort of legacy to all those people we have come in touch with. Whether it is a positive or negative legacy remains to be seen.
One thing that is certain is the fact that if something negative happens to you, that will likely be what is remembered. When you think of former President Richard Nixon, what first comes to mind? If you say anything other than Watergate, you are in a small minority.
College football coaches Jim Tressel and Joe Paterno are likely to have a legacy that will forget all the wins. What will be remembered are the scandals that marked their last months at Ohio State and Penn State. Perhaps that may not be fair, but that is the way of the term.
As for the legacy of The Legacy, one thing stands out for me. Our round of golf took more than five hours to play. We got behind some sort of outing and they were not very fast. Waiting on every shot is not a lot of fun. If anyone in that outing is reading this, here's a tip: When cart partners don't play cart golf (that would involve one player going well left, while the other goes well right), drive to one of the balls and drop the guy off. Then go to your ball. Each player hits his next shot and you can reunite later. Play goes so much faster if you play ready golf.
Though the length of the round is what I am likely to think of first, The Legacy is still a great golf course. We had a few trick shots in our group. One of my playing partners hooked the ball left on a hole where the fairway doglegged to the right. He hit a tree and it shot straight right. Had it gone left who knows how big a score he might have posted.
I might have topped that with my drive on the final hole. The 18th requires a lengthy drive over one of those five lakes. There is a bailout area to the right, but I still have some length left and I'm headed over the water. My effort landed about a yard short of clearing the lake, but one little skip and I'm on dry land. I knew I could clear the water!
As for my legacy at The Legacy, it comes down to the birdie putt I had on No. 15. A good drive and a towering 7 iron put me 5 feet from the coveted birdie. On a course that had the fastest greens we have played all season, I managed to leave the putt an inch short ? and of course, right in the jar. Maybe I should call it my "lag"acy.
I do believe we put too much emphasis on one's legacy. We all tend to care about what others think of us though. As for me, I remember a sign posted on the wall of a watering hole I once visited. It read "everyone brings joy to this establishment ? some when they enter, and some when they leave."
I just hope that my legacy will put me in the former group.
Al Stephenson is The A-T's golf columnist.
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