Duffer Dan and the Undercover Gang at Legends Country Club
The Gang and I, legends in our own minds, went out to Clermont in Lake County to challenge the Legends golf course, just three miles south of the intersection of Highways 50 & 27. In January 2002, our writers and staff picked the Legends Golf & Country Club as the #1 course to play in our Top Ten in Central Florida. After unpacking our bags and visiting the pro shop we were off. The first hole, a 366-yard downhill four par is easy enough with plenty of landing area, but you would be amazed at how many people just want to blast away and lose their ball left or right. We watched as the group in front of us played from the white tees, waited till the foursome ahead had left the putting surface, and then proceeded to miss the fairway and be short 150 yards or more. Where is Glen Makin when you need him? The one enjoyable thing about waiting was the view from the tee box, overlooking Lake Louisa you can see for miles.
After parring #1 we got a quick reality check on the tough par 5, #2. It is 546 yards and plays to every inch of it. Needless to say, the Duffer was so distraught that his ire brought the wrath of the heavens upon the course. That’s right. There was lightening everywhere and we had to seek safety. There were over 2000 lightening strikes in Central Florida that afternoon, so you know he was upset. After a cool down, we were back at #3, a 377 yard par 4 playing uphill, dogleg left to a pin that can not be seen from the tee. This Lloyd Clifton design is 6911 yards from the back tees but plays longer, particularly on the uphill holes. The elevation changes and undulating fairways give you many different stances and lies to play from. Choose your shots carefully. Our first opportunity at a par 3 was #4, 196 yards over a ravine with woods to the left, big oak trees on the right and a smallish green. Bogie is a good score here. We did “good” if you know what I mean.
Finally, #5 is down hill to a lake, then a hard left to a very receptive green. The Gang did well as the Duffer duffed his way to a double. The #1 handicap hole at the Legends is the 448-yard, par 4, all uphill number 6, which we all played well. You might get the idea that the Duffer is going to like the back nine better. Well you are right! Another tough par 5 at #7 where you have to watch out for the water on the left, then a great par 3, # 8 and par 4, #9 where you can get some of your confidence back. The beauty of the course and its vistas soften the hard edges of the few holes that beat the Duffer this day.
The back nine starts off with a short par four, an easy birdie hole if your approach shot stays out of the water that guards the hole on the left. A downhill par 5, and an accessible par four gave the Duffer a chance to get back in the game versus the rest of the gang. When you are driving to the course from the north, there is a water tower before you get to the entrance. Well, that same tower is the focal point to the par 3, 13th, at 199 yards. Our good friend Mark True, an educator from Hunters Creek Middle School, scored a hole-inone and the Duffer felt a whole lot better, because he was paying for the cool ones for sure. Congrats Mark!
We all scored well on the par 5, 14th. One of the prettiest holes and entrances is at the par 3, 15th, a 144-yard shot over water to an uphill green with a shelf in the back. Guess where the hole was? Right at the top of the shelf. Let me tell about this one; I hit a fabulous tee shot that lands next to the pin. I hardly ever put spin on the ball, but the one day I don’t want the ball to come back, it does and finds its way to the center of the green. Par is still good but birdie would have been better. The next 3 par fours play uphill, but opportunities for good scoring are there because of the wide fairways. I played the back better after a horrendous front nine, and came away feeling a little relieved about my golf game.
The fairways were all accessible, but the greens were fabulous. The course is a great challenge and you will be impressed with the diversity of the layout and the beauty of the views throughout. To learn more about an opportunity to play or membership, call 352-243-1118 or log on to www.TheLegendsGolfandCountryClub.com.