Course Review: The Legends Golf Club at Temeku Hills

This morning was a pleasant start to what should be a memorable extended weekend for me. I got out early to get a quick morning round at The Legends Golf Club at Temeku Hills in beautiful Temecula.

This course was formerly just known as Temeku Hills, but new owners took over a few years ago and have been making the efforts to revitalize the course and re-brand its mediocre image. It’s not that this was ever a bad course. It’s just had to deal with some tough competition in Temecula in the forms of Journey at Pechanga, CrossCreek, Redhawk and Temecula Creek Inn. Those first three happen to be a few of my favorite courses in all of Southern California and TCI is also quite enjoyable, so you can count me amongst those that would tend to overlook The Legends when playing golf in this area.

I first played here probably 7-8 years ago and found it to be a decent course then. After today, I think I can appreciate it a little more after a positive overall experience.

I booked a 7:00 tee time through GolfNow for just $25. The price is what caught my attention. I was fully aware they just aerated the greens last weekend, but I’m impressed they would offer such a discount (around half the price of what they’d normally charge for a weekend morning round). I think it’s great when courses do stuff like this because it turns a negative into a positive.

Some courses won’t even tell you they’ve aerated, let alone offer any sort of discount. In those cases, it’s almost always a negative experience and will make people think twice before they return in the future. Hopefully this aeration discount results in more positive good will for The Legends.

I ended up playing by myself and going first off a little before 7:00. There was a threesome that shared my tee time, but the nice guy in the pro shop gave me the option to play by myself. I didn’t necessarily feel the need to be antisocial, but getting done quickly is always appealing. I’m glad I made that decision because I saw that threesome still playing the 7th hole as I was driving away from the course.

I think the layout at The Legends is pretty enjoyable and shows many hallmarks of a typical Ted Robinson design. Big greens with distinct tiers, ample bunkering and water hazards that are equally pretty and intimidating. There are a few awkward tee shot angles, but if you are playing the blues or whites here, this would categorize as a “target” layout where driver is not always the best choice. From the gold tees, the course plays significantly longer, but the major distance gaps are mostly relegated to a handful of holes.

As you might expect from the original name, the layout is pretty hilly. Many greens are elevated and most are quite well protected. Speaking of the name, I’m not sure how they arrived at “The Legends,” but they try to bring some meaning to it—albeit in kind of an arbitrary way. The new logo has the Claret Jug in it, there are some old-timey photos and murals around the pro shop, and every hole is now named for a golf “legend” (Old Tom Morris, Bobby Jones, Arnold Palmer, etc.).

When it was still Temeku Hills, the course had fallen onto hard times, so it is good to see the effort the new management has put into making this place more appealing again.

The conditions were pretty decent overall. The tee boxes were excellent. The fairways and rough have a number of different grasses growing in, so it looks a little dappled in many places. They keep the fairways cut tight, so I never had any bad lies. In the rough, though, it’s a bit more of a factor as the ball tends to gravitate toward those awkward lies right in between two tufts of grass.

I was in a handful of bunkers and they were all nice to play from. One I found had a softer white sand while the rest were brown in color, but equally good sand.

As I mentioned, the greens were aerated on 3/21. That made for some bumpy putts, but it was not too bad. I had the guy mowing the greens right in front of me on the back nine, so he was leaving trails of sand that was kind of a nuisance on some holes. Still, the aeration work was done pretty well and they should heal quickly. In another few weeks, they should be fantastic, but for now you can enjoy the reduced rates as ample compensation for less-than-ideal greens.

For the right price, The Legends is well worth checking out. It will never be the best in town, but it has its place and it seems like a quality operation they have running things now.

Some pictures from The Legends Golf Club at Temeku Hills (3/29/14):

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