Olivas Links
The Hideout Golf Club
The Links at Las Palomas
Arizona Grand Resort
Legend Trail Golf Club
Coldwater Golf Club
Coyote Lakes Golf Club
Lookout Mountain Golf Club
Peacock Gap Golf Club
Concho Valley Golf Club
Grande Valley Golf Club
Phantom Horse Golf Club San Miguel Golf Club

Legend Trail Golf Club

Hole No.2
Hole No.6
Hole No.7
Hole No.14
Hole No.16

Scope: Planning, Design, Environmental Mitigation, Construction Documents and Construction Coordination

Collaboration: With the Office of Rees Jones

Budget: $10.5 Million

Builder: Wadsworth Golf Builders

Awards: Best New Courses (Golf Digest)

Legend Trail Golf Club was designed by Arthur Jack Snyder and Forrest Richardson. The developer, Michael Brown, acquired the property (formerly known as Desert Ranch) and began adjusting already approved plans in the mid 1990s. The original course layout had been developed by Randy Heckenkemper.

Richardson and Snyder changed the routing. The team saw new opportunities and worked with land planners to retain natural areas and yet get yields from adjoining residential development. Forrest Richardson was responsible for taking the new plans through the City of Scottsdale's (Arizona) highly complex environmental lands ordinance. Richardson and his client was successful. The approval for Legend Trail was the first golf course to go through the entire process of Scottsdale's Environmentally Sensitive Land Ordinance (E.S.L.O.)

As construction began, the entire project and holdings were sold. The new owners, seeking a "name" golf architect, began searching for someone to put their name on the project. Richardson and Snyder assisted with this process. While they disagreed with the premise — that a "name" architect was essential - they recognized that it was ultimately not their decision.

Snyder was instrumental in personally speaking with some of the candidates. In the end, Rees Jones was engaged to work with the original designers, placing his "stamp" on the course as construction continued. Jones and his associate, Greg Muirhead, ultimately worked with Forrest Richardson to make subtle changes to the design, which had been approved and was somewhat etched in stone.

Forrest Richardson & Associates remained as the "golf architects of record" for the work, handling all irrigation design, lakes design and continuing to provide construction observation. The firm worked in tandem with the office of Rees Jones, reviewing field sketches and weighing in on changes made in the field.

The 6,800-yard, par-72 layout remains as one of Scottsdale's most beloved courses. Golfers from throughout the world have come to appreciate its classic and graceful design which melds well with the stark desert landscape. While many courses in the desrt are nothing but endless target golf experiences, Legend Trail is different. Strategy and options abound. The golf course feels different for a desert course. This, perhaps more than any other comment, typifies the design that was created by the team.

Rees Jones deserves significant credit for his input and design at Legend Trail. Greg Muirhead's interpretation of the Richardson/Snyder routing and design has stood the test of time. While the collaborating architects did not always agree, it was always a pursuit of great golf that won in the end analysis.

Before his passing in 2005, Snyder commented, "It was a tough project, especially when the new owners came to us and asked about getting someone with a bigger name to be involved. Mostly, I felt bad for Forrest, as this was clearly the most exciting site he had ever worked with at the time."

Snyder took the situation in stride. Even though he may have been bitter on the inside, he never was public with his feelings. "Jack was positive until the end," notes Richardson. "It must have been difficult for him to realize that his name was not good enough for someone's idea of marketing or promotion. As for me, I just focused on trying to help bring the best golf course to fruition. I made 55 site visits during construction. It was a passion for me to stay involved and help Greg and the shapers."

The most significant alterations from the original design were Hole Nos. 13 and 17. At No. 13 Snyder/Richardson had designed on paper a par-5 with multiple landing areas and gambles, both off the tee and en route to the green. "As an uphill hole, we felt a par-5 that was reachable with the right combination of shot execution was the right approach," says Richardson. The hole (as of 2006) remained a par-4 of about 450-yards.

At No. 17, the par-5 was altered to a par-5 in the field. "I can see the thinking behind the par-5," admits Richardson, "But I am still convinced that a par-4 would be just as good — if not better." The Synder/Richardson hole at No. 17 played about 460-yards with a desert arroyo crossiong the fairway diagoinally at the 260-yard mark from the back tees. "The wash affected the score," notes Richardson. "As it is now, you can lay-up and still make a par."

Regardless of the field changes — they happen all the time as golf courses get built — it is a certainty that all of the course golf architects share a sense of pride in the final outcome of Legend Trail.

"It is a quintessential desert design," comments Richardson. "Seldom do you see classic style brought to the desert. Nearly all the courses here are target, forced and completely unnatural when you look at them objectively. At Legend Trail the final result is both beautiful and enjoyable — I love playing there, and so do almost any golfer you ever meet who is familiar with desert courses."

© 2013 Forrest Richardson & Associates
home | about us | portfolio | philosophy | services | books & writings | golf course terms | news & press
contact us | legal info