Frederica, GA: One of Fazio’s latest gems.
This is the first of a series on golf course architects and their designs. Watch for future posts on Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Robert Trent Jones II and others.
Between 1998 and 2003, in what can now be considered the Golden Age of golf course design in terms of number of courses built and the elevation of their designers to rock star status, no fewer than 36 Tom Fazio-designed courses opened within the gates of U.S. golf course communities.
During the Golden Age of modern golf course
design Tom Fazio built 26 residential courses
Their average net asset value at the time (course plus residential property) amounted to $214.1 million, according to calculations made by the Dallas-based Golf Research Group.
In that same time period, only Jack Nicklaus opened more courses within golf real-estate communities, and only Nicklaus proved more of a catalyst than Fazio for enhancing property values, according to per-community averages compiled by GRG.
While Nicklaus courses are tournament-tested, Fazio’s layouts draw more lavish praise from critics and seem to evoke a stronger emotional response from average players. Fazio’s creative mind thus produces a powerful one-two punch of value–appreciating real estate and a more satisfying round of golf. And while real estate values are down across the spectrum, observers expect communities with Tom Fazio designs to be at the forefront when valuations start to climb again.
Fazio Spotlight: Dataw Island, SC Fazio’s credibility among golf’s top decision-makers stems in part from his apprenticeship with his uncle, George Fazio, in the 1960s. George was a top-rank tournament golfer who finished third in the 1950 U.S. Open and competed in eight straight Masters.
When he became a full-time course designer, he brought nephew Tom in as a field assistant. The partnership lasted for years and produced many courses still admired today. At Mirabel, in North Scottsdale, Arizona, for example, a memorable desert golf experience,his routing and bunkering melds the colors and textures of the course itself with subtle desert visuals all around it.
Fazio Spotlight: Governors Land at Two Rivers, VA
When golf real estate developers make plans for large-scale communities with multiple courses, they almost always include Fazio as one of their chosen designers. At Reynolds Plantation, Greensboro, GA where Nicklaus, Rees Jones and Bob Cupp all designed 18-hole courses, Fazio was the one asked to build a 27-hole complex, the National.
The Landings on Skidaway Island, GA, may be pleased to offer its Arnold Palmer, Arthur Hills and Willard Byrd 18s, but as a tool for enhancing property values, they can do no better than the Deer Creek layout Fazio crafted there in 1991.
And with its 1990 debut of the Beresford Creek course, Daniel Island outside Charleston, S.C., set the amenity standard for its small-town community with Fazio first, to be followed by a Rees Jones course more than a decade later
Barton Creek Resort & Spa, Austin, TX (2 courses)