Tom Fazio is the most awarded active American architect in the game and the man responsible for some of the most expensive layouts in golf history. It really started for Fazio while working with Steve Wynn at Shadow Creek, here Fazio created a remarkable golfing oasis in the heart of the North Las Vegas desert – from this point his career never looked back. In America if you have bundles of money and want to create an intimate high-end golf facility you speak to Fazio first, as he is the guy that builds immaculate, lavish layouts that are ever-appealing on the eye and easy for all to understand and master. His greatest skill is really as a landscape architect, as all his tracks are beautiful to look at and often holes are framed by bunkers and hazards that look to have been built to enhance a landscape photograph.
Some connoisseurs, who blame him for escalating course construction costs, denigrate Fazio’s work but this is unfair as it’s Fazio’s clients who choose to spend such money, and the reality is that most is spent underground on turf technology that ensures the course is in perfect condition throughout the golfing season. The people who deserve such blame are magazines and ranking panels that can’t see beyond green grass to the inherent quality of the actual golf holes on the ground. These are the people making lush, perfectly manicured golf courses seem desirable.
What we find most remarkable about Fazio is how much these magazines and ranking panels seem to love his work, he has more Top 100 courses on the Golf Digest Top 100 list than any other architect including several that are ranked in the first 50. We’re not suggesting Fazio doesn’t build good golf courses, but at times his layouts start to look fairly similar and those that aren’t built on solid golfing ground do seem a distance behind the genuine Top 100 calibre courses in the US.
His best, however, are very good – each of Quarry at La Quinta, Wade Hampton, Shadow Creek, World Woods (Pine Barrens Course), Black Diamond Ranch (Quarry Course), Victoria National and Galloway National are fun to play and nice places to be members.
Tom Fazio has much to recommend but he is clearly not a suitable design choice for many developers.
In order to determine his suitability, or for an independent appraisal of his entire portfolio, please contact the Global Golf Group.