Tom Fazio’s Best Courses

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  • troublelovetroublelove Members Posts: 354 ClubWRX
    My favourite Fazio course closed a few years ago... The Falls at Lake Las Vegas. Great times and a perfect 'have fun and don't score' course.



    World Woods, Waterville (Ireland) and Shadow Creek comes a pretty close 2nd.
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  • FairwayFredFairwayFred Sponsors Posts: 3,967 ✭✭



    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.




    Yes he did. Wheather or not that was a good thing is a different discussion.

    CMCSGolf wrote:


    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.




    +1 I think this post is spot on.
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  • raynorfan1raynorfan1 Members Posts: 3,519 ✭✭
    adamjstl wrote:


    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.




    If you look at the numbers behind the Golf Digest rankings, they bear out what people “feel” - Fazio’s courses outperform peers in “aesthetics” and “conditioning” and underperform on “shot values” and “resistance to scoring”.



    This, understandably, draws the scorn of the architecture snobs.
  • dhc1dhc1 NYCPosts: 877 ClubWRX
    edited Nov 28, 2017 #35
    raynorfan1 wrote:



    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.




    Probably true but pales in comparison to the worship that Tom Doak gets/gives himself.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • MoretyMorety Posts: 273 ✭✭
    I'd like to play any of the Discovery Land Co. properties and I think that Fazio has done most of those courses. All look like fun courses and amazing properties.
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  • One_Putt_BlunderOne_Putt_Blunder Members Posts: 10,794 ✭✭
    Kinda shocked not to see Gozzer Ranch mentioned yet. That one looks awesome and in the running for his best work
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  • augustgolfaugustgolf Golf with dignity Coastal NCMembers Posts: 3,890 ✭✭
    I haven't read the entire number of posts here, but I would put Mariner Sands in Martin County Florida up there with anything that he has done.



    Great, playable members course. Easier to maintain than some monstrosities done in the recent past, and an enjoyable round anytime I've played it.
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  • adamjstladamjstl Posts: 565 ✭✭
    raynorfan1 wrote:

    adamjstl wrote:


    I appreciate all those who answered the thread without bashing the architect.



    Exactly. I created the post to highlight his best work; not point out his shortcomings.



    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.




    If you look at the numbers behind the Golf Digest rankings, they bear out what people “feel” - Fazio’s courses outperform peers in “aesthetics” and “conditioning” and underperform on “shot values” and “resistance to scoring”.



    This, understandably, draws the scorn of the architecture snobs.
  • adamjstladamjstl Posts: 565 ✭✭
    Btw, the Golfweek methodology includes aesthetics and conditioning categories as well. The Golf Magazine system is essentially a “I know it when I see it” model.



    Regardless, I created the post to highlight his best work, not point out his shortcomings.
  • BNGLBNGL Members Posts: 1,557 ✭✭
    augustgolf wrote:
    I haven't read the entire number of posts here, but I would put Mariner Sands in Martin County Florida up there with anything that he has done.



    Great, playable members course. Easier to maintain than some monstrosities done in the recent past, and an enjoyable round anytime I've played it.




    Mariner Sands is definitely an overlooked course! As well conditioned as some more exclusive clubs down the road.
  • Shadow Creek

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  • jerebear21jerebear21 Don't Go Left ClubWRX Posts: 3,250 ClubWRX
    unlimited resources + bulldozers + lack of shot quality = Fazio



    he built so many there's bound to be a good one here or there; pine barren is my favorite of his and it's probably not even his best looking one.
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  • raynorfan1raynorfan1 Members Posts: 3,519 ✭✭
    dhc1 wrote:


    Probably true but pales in comparison to the worship that Tom Doak get/gives himself.




    I think Doak is a great student of golf history, and understands that a significant amount of the "greatness" of Donald Ross, RTJ, et. al. was their marketing ability. He'd like to be equally great...
  • sheldonjhackersheldonjhacker Members Posts: 3,699 ✭✭
    He's done a bunch of updates/slight modifications to lots of courses...at $1,000,000.00 per ! image/nyam.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':nyam:' />
  • dhc1dhc1 NYCPosts: 877 ClubWRX
    Morety wrote:


    I'd like to play any of the Discovery Land Co. properties and I think that Fazio has done most of those courses. All look like fun courses and amazing properties.




    Silo Ridge is great - greens are really well done.
  • dparkdpark Members Posts: 2,506 ✭✭
    raynorfan1 wrote:


    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.




    I have only played a few Fazio courses (Pronghorn, Wild Dunes and Oak Creek) and have enjoyed playing each of them. I don't see them as being quite as "over the top" as modern Pete Dye courses. They are aesthetically pleasing and relatively straightforward and fun to play. I have played Oak Creek the most as it is across the street from where I used to live in Irvine. Very pricey but considering the zip code, inline with other courses in the area. No question he moved a ton of dirt to make the course (it used to be flat ground where a lemon tree grove was), but it works.
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  • jlovelessjloveless Joel Members Posts: 62
    Got to play Capital City Crabapple course recently, absolutely immaculate! Very challenging layout with many tee options.
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  • Roadking2003Roadking2003 AustinMembers Posts: 5,056 ✭✭


    Kinda shocked not to see Gozzer Ranch mentioned yet. That one looks awesome and in the running for his best work




    Probably because very few of us have played it. I tried but couldn't get on.
  • Roadking2003Roadking2003 AustinMembers Posts: 5,056 ✭✭
    edited Nov 28, 2017 #50
    raynorfan1 wrote:

    adamjstl wrote:


    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.




    If you look at the numbers behind the Golf Digest rankings, they bear out what people "feel" - Fazio's courses outperform peers in "aesthetics" and "conditioning" and underperform on "shot values" and "resistance to scoring".



    This, understandably, draws the scorn of the architecture snobs.




    Resistance to scoring should never be a consideration for greatness. Any yahoo can make a golf course resistant to scoring.



    And I would like some of the Fazio critics to be more specific around his lack of shot values. I don't find any lack of shot values on most of his courses. Somebody should list the lack of shot values at Whisper Rock and Red Sky and Flint Hills National and Barton Creek Canyons.



    Thinking about Fazio courses and reading about shot values (see link below) would lead me to think many are just repeating what they have heard rather than doing a hole by hole shot values evaluation.



    http://www.golfcours...jeffrey-brauer/
  • Carl Spackler2Carl Spackler2 ZP Members Posts: 247 ✭✭
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    Played it Saturday, pretty epic.
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  • mallratmallrat Members Posts: 2,868 ✭✭

    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.




    Actually it’s the Fazio course at Pronghorn
  • duffer987duffer987 Don't feed the Choo. Canadian in CaliforniaMembers Posts: 8,952 ✭✭

    raynorfan1 wrote:

    adamjstl wrote:


    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.




    If you look at the numbers behind the Golf Digest rankings, they bear out what people "feel" - Fazio's courses outperform peers in "aesthetics" and "conditioning" and underperform on "shot values" and "resistance to scoring".



    This, understandably, draws the scorn of the architecture snobs.




    Resistance to scoring should never be a consideration for greatness. Any yahoo can make a golf course resistant to scoring.






    Aesthetics should never be a consideration for greatness: Any yahoo can buy 200 acres in the valley below some mountain range and plant a bunch of colorful flowers.

    Ambience should never be a consideration for greatness: Any yahoo can build a clubhouse, stuff it full of leather and wood, and put the employees in plus 4s.
  • Roadking2003Roadking2003 AustinMembers Posts: 5,056 ✭✭
    edited Nov 28, 2017 #54
    mallrat wrote:




    Aesthetics should never be a consideration for greatness: Any yahoo can buy 200 acres in the valley below some mountain range and plant a bunch of colorful flowers.

    Ambience should never be a consideration for greatness: Any yahoo can build a clubhouse, stuff it full of leather and wood, and put the employees in plus 4s.




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  • cristphotocristphoto Members Posts: 3,292 ✭✭
    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!




    Oops. Yes #8. I was there a couple years ago and played 2,7,8. All great courses.
  • youraway2youraway2 Just Old Sticks Members Posts: 1,402 ✭✭
    World Woods is a god course, but I also liked Dancing Rabbit, Azalea Course.
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  • tarheel golftarheel golf Posts: 145 ✭✭
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  • I find Fazio extremely overrated. My ranking of Fazio

    Designs that I’ve played:



    1) World woods pine barrens

    2) World woods rolling oaks

    3) whisper upper

    4) grayhawk raptor


  • 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.




    Well said
  • BNGLBNGL Members Posts: 1,557 ✭✭
    Totally forgot about Bakers Bay in the Bahamas! Definitely a place to to check out!!!
  • dhc1dhc1 NYCPosts: 877 ClubWRX
    edited Nov 29, 2017 #61


    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.




    I'd guess you'd agree that Doak isn't a great architect either as I don't recall a single PGA tournament at one of his courses, let alone a Major.



    I've never understood the objection to earth moving, particularly as it usually comes from critics who decry using aesthetics as a benchmark for courses - the natural look is just that: an aesthetic. Furthermore, the "natural" look that Doak demands means that he primarily builds courses in remote rugged locations which is hard to access and thereby very expensive to play and even worse to get to. Hopefully, you don't give him a pass either on the price issue.
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