Tom Fazio’s Best Courses

Fazio has more courses on the Top 100 lists than any other architect, so for those who’ve played many of those, what do you consider to be his Top 5-10 in the USA?
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  • jimwgt26jimwgt26 Members Posts: 1,181 ✭✭
    Lake Nona and Conway Farms.
  • slprince67slprince67 Members Posts: 143 ✭✭
  • OutBackHackOutBackHack Members Posts: 910 ✭✭
  • caniac6caniac6 Members Posts: 2,711 ✭✭
    I haven't played it in about 20 years, but I really enjoyed Wild Dunes Links course.
  • krtgolfingkrtgolfing Members Posts: 1,043 ✭✭
    Barefoot Fazio is good
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  • MoretyMorety Members Posts: 273 ✭✭
    My two favorites are Frederica and Golf Club of Tennessee.
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    Champion Hills.....
  • Tbell3Tbell3 Members Posts: 384 ✭✭
    Wade Hampton and Frederica
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  • mallratmallrat Members Posts: 2,913 ✭✭
    Interesting topic and I had no idea about the # of Fazio courses. I’ a Fazio fan and will always choose one of his courses if that is the difference.



    That said I got into an argument on here last year with someone who said that Fazio is the worst current architect and all his courses are garbage. Where I took exception was that that was his opinion and he was saying it like fact. He wouldn’t accept that that was just his opinion.



    Anyways, sorry to sidetrack. I really enjoy Grayhawk and loved his course at Pronghorn.
  • BNGLBNGL Members Posts: 1,603 ✭✭
    Literally every one, at least to me. Seems like he has had a hand in a majority of Florida courses.



    Jupiter Hills both the Hills and Village Jupiter FL

    MacArthur Club Hobe Sound FL

    West Course at Johns Island

    Vero Beach FL

    Black Diamond Quarry and Ranch Levantine FL

    Berkeley Hall Bluffton SC

    Jupiter Island (redesign), Hobe Sound FL
  • Roadking2003Roadking2003 AustinMembers Posts: 5,303 ✭✭
    I've played 17 Fazio courses and all of them are very good; some are spectacular. Here is how I would rank them;



    Whisper Rock

    Red Sky Fazio

    Flint Hills National Golf Club

    Barton Creek Canyons

    Cordillera Mountain

    Barton Creek Foothills

    Stonebriar CC

    Wild Dunes

    Pelican Hill Golf Club

    White Columns

    Grayhawk Golf Club - Raptor

    Amelia Island Plantation - Long Point

    Pinehurst #7

    Disney Osprey Ridge

    Gateway Golf and CC

    World Woods Pine Barrons

    Woodlands - Carlton Woods
  • Roadking2003Roadking2003 AustinMembers Posts: 5,303 ✭✭
    mallrat wrote:


    That said I got into an argument on here last year with someone who said that Fazio is the worst current architect and all his courses are garbage. Where I took exception was that that was his opinion and he was saying it like fact. He wouldn't accept that that was just his opinion.




    Sounds like somebody who is insecure in his opinions. So he refuses to debate the issue because his only argument is "my opinion is better than yours".



    I love Fazio courses and I think most experts would list him among the "best ever architects" .
  • FairwayFredFairwayFred Sponsors Posts: 4,020 ✭✭
    edited Nov 28, 2017 #14

    mallrat wrote:


    That said I got into an argument on here last year with someone who said that Fazio is the worst current architect and all his courses are garbage. Where I took exception was that that was his opinion and he was saying it like fact. He wouldn't accept that that was just his opinion.




    Sounds like somebody who is insecure in his opinions. So he refuses to debate the issue because his only argument is "my opinion is better than yours".



    I love Fazio courses and I think most experts would list him among the "best ever architects" .




    Fazio has done some good work but I don't know any experts who would list him as one of the best ever architects. Not even close. Despite all his designs there has never been a Major held at a Fazio course and 2 of his highest profile redo jobs for majors (Inverness and Oak Hill) are being currently redone to remove any traces of the work he did. The industry has shifted away from the kind of courses Fazio designed with their concentration on "framing" the hole and extensive earth moving and more towards a natural approach and imo Golf is all the better for it. He was part of the era of excess that had developers spending far too much on average golf courses which helped make the price of the game sky rocket. It's a hole I believe golf is still trying to dig itself out of.



    My favorite Fazio course is World Woods Pine Barrens.
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  • dpb5031dpb5031 Members Posts: 5,163 ✭✭
    Galloway National in NJ should be on any list of Fazio's best. If the wind is up (which it often is being on the bay) Galloway can be a real beast and has a topography similar to Pine Valley.



    Overall, I really like Fazio courses...especially from an aesthetic perspective. Generally though, Nicklaus and Dye create more challenging courses with higher shot vales, harrowing approaches, and even tougher recoveries if you choose the bail-out option.



    I've noticed that Fazio places a lot of bunkers in places that will rarely ever be in play. They're apparently there for framing and aesthetics more than to be a challenge, and it works in terms of creating a great look. With Nicklaus and/or Dye, it seems like every bunker is right where it needs to be to kick your azz if you misfire or dont commit to the required shot.
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  • deadsolid...shankdeadsolid...shank ClubWRX Posts: 14,671 ClubWRX
    Can't say I really know if I've ever played one of his courses. Guess I'll have to look at a list of his designs and see. But if he does regularly "frame" his holes I'd probably like his courses, I like seeing that so I have an idea where to hit.
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  • raynorfan1raynorfan1 Members Posts: 3,541 ✭✭


    Can't say I really know if I've ever played one of his courses.




    You’d know. Fazio courses are not shy about letting you know about the great genius who designed them.
  • dpb5031dpb5031 Members Posts: 5,163 ✭✭
    Trump Bedminster in NJ has two courses, the Old and the New. Both are Fazio, one being a collaboration with his son. They are really good courses.
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  • Roadking2003Roadking2003 AustinMembers Posts: 5,303 ✭✭
    edited Nov 28, 2017 #19


    mallrat wrote:


    That said I got into an argument on here last year with someone who said that Fazio is the worst current architect and all his courses are garbage. Where I took exception was that that was his opinion and he was saying it like fact. He wouldn't accept that that was just his opinion.




    Sounds like somebody who is insecure in his opinions. So he refuses to debate the issue because his only argument is "my opinion is better than yours".



    I love Fazio courses and I think most experts would list him among the "best ever architects" .




    Fazio has done some good work but I don't know any experts who would list him as one of the best ever architects. Not even close.




    Yeah, I guess that's why the "experts" at Golf Digest list 15 of his courses among their "100 Best Courses in America". That's more than any other architect by a wide margin.



    And here is what they have to say about Tom Fazio; " [background=rgb(252, 252, 252)]With 15 courses on the list of America's Greatest 100 Courses -- five more than the next closest -- Tom Fazio sits alone as the country's preeminent modern day designer."[/background]



    [background=rgb(252, 252, 252)]But what do they know? [/background]
  • cristphotocristphoto Members Posts: 3,313 ✭✭
    Pinehurst 7 and Palmetto (Hilton Head) are two good courses.
  • FairwayFredFairwayFred Sponsors Posts: 4,020 ✭✭
    edited Nov 28, 2017 #21



    mallrat wrote:


    That said I got into an argument on here last year with someone who said that Fazio is the worst current architect and all his courses are garbage. Where I took exception was that that was his opinion and he was saying it like fact. He wouldn't accept that that was just his opinion.




    Sounds like somebody who is insecure in his opinions. So he refuses to debate the issue because his only argument is "my opinion is better than yours".



    I love Fazio courses and I think most experts would list him among the "best ever architects" .




    Fazio has done some good work but I don't know any experts who would list him as one of the best ever architects. Not even close.




    Yeah, I guess that's why the "experts" at Golf Digest list 15 of his courses among their "100 Best Courses in America". That's more than any other architect by a wide margin.



    And here is what they have to say about Tom Fazio; " [background=rgb(252, 252, 252)]With 15 courses on the list of America's Greatest 100 Courses -- five more than the next closest -- Tom Fazio sits alone as the country's preeminent modern day designer."[/background]



    [background=rgb(252, 252, 252)]But what do they know? [/background]




    That number is trending downward and most of his ranked courses are at the bottom of the list.



    I personally know both the people behind the Digest Top 100 list and all their architecture coverage and they do not consider Fazio to be one of the best architects of all time. Other than one line of fluff in their list you do not see anyone saying that. Also Digest rankings include things that have nothing to do with the golf course and Fazio was lucky enough to get a lot of projects that score very high on everything outside the golf course due to great locations and almost unlimited money.
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  • krtgolfingkrtgolfing Members Posts: 1,043 ✭✭


    I've played 17 Fazio courses and all of them are very good; some are spectacular. Here is how I would rank them;



    Whisper Rock

    Red Sky Fazio

    Flint Hills National Golf Club

    Barton Creek Canyons

    Cordillera Mountain

    Barton Creek Foothills

    Stonebriar CC

    Wild Dunes

    Pelican Hill Golf Club

    White Columns

    Grayhawk Golf Club - Raptor

    Amelia Island Plantation - Long Point

    Pinehurst #7

    Disney Osprey Ridge

    Gateway Golf and CC

    World Woods Pine Barrons

    Woodlands - Carlton Woods

    cristphoto wrote:


    Pinehurst 7 and Palmetto (Hilton Head) are two good courses.




    I believe you are thinking of Pinehurst number 8 as number 7 is a Rees Jones course. Sadly have not had the chance to play number 8 yet. Heard great things about it!
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  • vallygolfvallygolf Members Posts: 408 ✭✭
    edited Nov 28, 2017 #23
    I like Fazio courses. My preference overall is a bit more traditional, but I think he puts out courses that are a good combination of challenging, fun, and aesthetic. Top for me would be:



    Estancia

    Whisper Rock

    Shadow Creek

    Pinehurst #8 (Except 6 which is not a good hole)







    Edit: Barton Creek courses (Canyons and Foothills) are two good Fazios at the same resort. I would put them somewhere down the list but they are near the top overall.
  • Roadking2003Roadking2003 AustinMembers Posts: 5,303 ✭✭
    krtgolfing wrote:



    I've played 17 Fazio courses and all of them are very good; some are spectacular. Here is how I would rank them;



    Whisper Rock

    Red Sky Fazio

    Flint Hills National Golf Club

    Barton Creek Canyons

    Cordillera Mountain

    Barton Creek Foothills

    Stonebriar CC

    Wild Dunes

    Pelican Hill Golf Club

    White Columns

    Grayhawk Golf Club - Raptor

    Amelia Island Plantation - Long Point

    Pinehurst #7

    Disney Osprey Ridge

    Gateway Golf and CC

    World Woods Pine Barrons

    Woodlands - Carlton Woods

    cristphoto wrote:


    Pinehurst 7 and Palmetto (Hilton Head) are two good courses.




    I believe you are thinking of Pinehurst number 8 as number 7 is a Rees Jones course. Sadly have not had the chance to play number 8 yet. Heard great things about it!




    You are correct. #8 is Fazio.
  • Roadking2003Roadking2003 AustinMembers Posts: 5,303 ✭✭
    mallrat wrote:


    Interesting topic and I had no idea about the # of Fazio courses. I' a Fazio fan and will always choose one of his courses if that is the difference.




    BTW, is your profile photo the North Course at Mauna Lani? I love that course.
  • dpb5031dpb5031 Members Posts: 5,163 ✭✭
    Almost forgot, The Ridge at Back Brook in Ringoes, NJ. Spectacular golf course with incredible features and backdrops of exposed red rock formations.
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  • CMCSGolfCMCSGolf Members Posts: 508 ✭✭
    It seems like Fazio rarely builds someone's favorite course. A lot of people have listed good courses they enjoy playing, but are any of these the next course any one has played? However, he also rarely builds a course that stinks. He seems to have the recipe nailed for a quality course that is good, but not truly great. I find that a lot of his courses look very similar, but that can be said about Doak as well and he is a very different kind of architect.



    I really like Pronghorn Fazio. That course looks great and has all kinds of fun shots. On the other side, his work at Inverness is awful. The 3rd hole (par 3 with a pond on the right) could not fit worse into a classic Ross course. His style has a modern look and it does not seem to meld very well into 100 year old courses.
  • RBurlRBurl Members Posts: 55 ✭✭
    Personally, I'm a big fan of Fazio. I can understand the criticism of his over manipulation of the natural terrain, but think that point is way over stated. Secondly, I like the framing of holes. Just a personal preference. I have played a lot of his courses and I promise you they really standout compared to other courses around them. Now it could be they are the best courses in that area, but doesn't that speak for itself?

    Eaglepoint and Frederica are the two best courses I've played on the southeast coast. The ocean course is great, but these would be my three best courses. In the NC mountains Wade and Diamond Creek are far superior to anything else. He is able to get the golf ball moving on the ground like you are in the British Isles. Whisper Rock and Estancia are the best in PHX. I don't remember a course of his I did not like and think he gets a bad rap amongst golf architect elitist.
  • raynorfan1raynorfan1 Members Posts: 3,541 ✭✭
    I really enjoy playing Tom Fazio designs. They're big, beautiful, fun courses. When I'm on vacation and I want to roll around in a cart for a few hours hitting golf balls in a beautiful setting, Fazio is the guy.



    But for all of their beauty, his courses tend not to be particularly thoughtful or challenging. They're generally pretty straightforward and easy to figure out. Which is sometimes exactly what you want...but they're not "amazing" golf courses - just really fun one night stands.
  • Mr. BlutarskiMr. Blutarski Members Posts: 68 ✭✭


    mallrat wrote:


    That said I got into an argument on here last year with someone who said that Fazio is the worst current architect and all his courses are garbage. Where I took exception was that that was his opinion and he was saying it like fact. He wouldn't accept that that was just his opinion.




    Sounds like somebody who is insecure in his opinions. So he refuses to debate the issue because his only argument is "my opinion is better than yours".



    I love Fazio courses and I think most experts would list him among the "best ever architects" .




    Fazio has done some good work but I don't know any experts who would list him as one of the best ever architects. Not even close. Despite all his designs there has never been a Major held at a Fazio course and 2 of his highest profile redo jobs for majors (Inverness and Oak Hill) are being currently redone to remove any traces of the work he did. The industry has shifted away from the kind of courses Fazio designed with their concentration on "framing" the hole and extensive earth moving and more towards a natural approach and imo Golf is all the better for it. He was part of the era of excess that had developers spending far too much on average golf courses which helped make the price of the game sky rocket. It's a hole I believe golf is still trying to dig itself out of.



    My favorite Fazio course is World Woods Pine Barrens.




    He also did the "Tiger proofing" of Augusta National.
  • adamjstladamjstl Members Posts: 565 ✭✭
    I appreciate all those who answered the thread without bashing the architect.



    We all have different criteria for evaluating courses. All the major publications use a different formula for creating their Top 100 Lists, yet all of them have numerous Fazio designs.







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