The Fazio Design
Tom Fazio's accolades include Best New Resort Course, Best New Private Course, Best New Public Course, and Golf Course News voted him Golf Course Architect of the Year five years in a row.
The awards and accolades for Tom Fazio’s golf courses seem to pile up year after year. Yet, it has only been in the last 10 years that Fazio has taken his place among those who are considered the best of their time.
Tom Fazio is the nephew of George Fazio, the semi-prominent tour pro of the 1940’s and 50’s who gave up a car dealership to design and build golf courses. In the 20 years prior to 1980, Uncle George and his assistant Tom co-designed over 30 new courses including notables such as Butler National in Illinois, Edgewood Tahoe in Nevada, and Pinehurst #6, the first non-Donald Ross course at Pinehurst.
Not all his work with George was well received, however. While golf course architects are always at the mercy of skimpy budgets and wild-eyed contractors, there were a few downright mysteries like Delhi Ridge in Connecticut, and the trumpeted remodels at Inverness and Oak Hill have never been well loved.
In 1983 Tom split from his semi-retired uncle to make a go of it on his own.
It was the Wild Dunes Links Course (1980) in South Carolina that brought Tom into the limelight. Built along the Atlantic, this award-gathering course has that ”rough at the edges” look that blends seamlessly into a variety of coastal dune, wetland and forest environments. This was where Tom’s remarkable ”feel” for what a golf hole should look and play like seemed to emerge. The timing was now right as the golf boom of the 80’s hit its stride and beautiful playable golf was in demand.
On gorgeous sites with budgets to match, the office of Fazio Golf Course Designers followed one crafted course after another through the 1980's and 90’s. Rough hewn bunkers seemed to grow from forest hollows. Subtle yet infinite variations graced every land form and putting green complex.
Most of these golf projects were private courses that were in demand by the purveyors of resort and retirement homes. While these highly photogenic courses were almost all outstanding in their own right, they were foremost products to sell real estate.
And did they sell real estate!
Tom’s ascending prominence seemed to peak with the Shadow Creek Golf Course (1990) in Las Vegas. Due to the ultra-private veneer, few people have ever seen the Steve Wynn-financed monument to excess that reportedly cost nearly $40 million to construct (an average golf course usually costs less than $8 million).
Mountains were moved, foreign landscapes were transplanted to the desert, each hole was an instant classic. Jackpot! Eminently likable, Tom Fazio does not hesitate to credit his excellent design staff, which has now spread over three offices in the U.S.
His main base of operations is Hendersonville, North Carolina, where his new Champion Hills course is located.