June 2007

Legendary Golf: Where Fun is Par for the Course

Author: Linda Hopkins

For thirteen-year-old New Jersey visitor, Jackson Claudio, a trip to Hilton Head Island would not be complete without multiple visits to Legendary Golf. The same is true for the Wiley family from Ohio. “We went from having our fun to watching our kids have their fun,” said Heather Wiley, whose four-year-old son, Jackson, boasted a hole-in-one on his most recent outing in April.

According to course manager, Deborah Watters, while it’s ironic that the two Jacksons share the same first name, the passion they share for miniature golf is not uncommon. In the four years since she came to work at her father-in-law’s business, she has gotten to know numerous annual visitors. “They are always so happy when I recognize them,” she said.

What’s so great about Legendary Golf?
If you’re looking for windmills and other moving targets, you won’t find them at Legendary Golf. What you will find is the most realistic form of miniature golf in town. Set amidst lush, natural greenery, enhanced by waterfalls, vibrant flowers and impeccably-groomed landscape features, the entire facility blends beautifully with nature while upholding the meticulous planning standards that make Hilton Head Island a model community.

The original course, which fronts on Highway 278, was built in 1984. Course designer and owner, Ed Berry, who has also developed courses in Michigan and Florida said, “This is a great location, because it is a family oriented vacation resort.” At the 278 location, Berry maintains two eighteen-hole courses, the professional course, a par 52 and the championship course, a slightly more difficult par 59. In 1991, he built an additional 18-hole, par 65 course on Pope Avenue which some say is the most challenging of all.

“You don’t have to be a particularly gifted athlete to play, but it’s challenging,” said Berry, explaining his original design concept to closely mimic the contours of a regulation golf course. With the palm trees, doglegs, water hazards, and sand traps, it is like a real golf experience, he said.

According to Watters, Legendary golf is the only miniature golf course on the island that has par 5s. The greens are bigger, offering a greater challenge to the more gifted golfers, she explained. It’s not unusual for professional golfers to take a shot at the courses, she added. Most recently, during the Verizon Heritage tournament, PGA Tour Professional, Stephen Ames brought his family in for a round of putting practice, fellowship and fun.

But regardless of their skill levels, customers just want to have a good time. “People love the water hazards, especially the little ones,” said Watters, noting that lots of children come in wet.

Many people also comment positively about the scripture verses posted on the scorecard posts at each hole. “We’re a Christian business,” said Berry. “I can put the verses there and get across the message that God loves us and has a plan for us all.”

Legendary Golf not only caters to our visitors but to local families and community groups. According to Watters, the business contributes free rounds of golf to athletes and their families who participate in the annual Week of Champions. They also host numerous tournaments and special events for area schools, churches and charitable organizations.

“Miniature golf is something everyone can enjoy, and it’s not cost prohibitive,” said Berry. Adults play for $8 per round, children 12 and under for $6. For each paying adult, one child under age four can play free. If you’re lucky enough to make a hole-in-one on one of the day’s chosen “mystery holes,” you’ll earn a non-expiring gift certificate for a free round. “I change them every day,” said Watters, who conceals her choices under the counter to discourage cheating. “I try to do it on some of the easy holes so the kids have a chance at it,” she said.

Legendary Golf is open for business year round, but hours of operation vary. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the courses are open from 9:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Whether you’re looking for something different to do or you’re just up for a good challenge, swing on over to Legendary Golf, and putt your way to some “hole-some” fun.

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