According to Golfweek and Golf Digest magazines, only one living golf course architect rivals the legendary Donald Ross for the number of top courses in the USA. That architect, Tom Fazio, moved his home to North Carolina in his prime designing years, much as Ross did a century earlier.
Many architects have design in their blood, and Fazio is among them. He started at age 17, assisting his uncle, George Fazio, in a firm that was Tom’s on-the-job training. He became a partner with Uncle George in the 1970s, took over the business in the early 1980s and created his own firm shortly thereafter.
One of his early co-creations with George was Pinehurst No. 6 Course (1978). Tom’s solo work such as the Wild Dunes Links Course (1980) on the Isle of Palms, S.C. got him national recognition.
His best judged Carolinas works at the turn of the century were Wade Hampton GC in the North Carolina mountains (1987), Forest Creek GC in the North Carolina Sandhills (1996), and Belfair Club West Course on the South Carolina coast (1995). The variety of his designs over all types of terrain is testimony to his creativity. “A golf course should reflect the natural beauty of its environment,” he said in describing his design theory in part.
His other North Carolina designs include Champion Hills GC, Eagle Point GC, Old North State Club, Pinehurst No. 8, Porters Neck P&CC, Treyburn CC and complete redesigns of Pinehurst No. 4 and UNC Finley GC in Chapel Hill.
His other South Carolina designs are Barefoot Resort’s Fazio Course, Belfair’s East Course, both courses at Berkeley Hall, Callawassie Island, Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards, Cotton Dike Course at Dataw Island, The Daniel Island Club, Moss Creek Plantation’s Devil’s Elbow Course, the Osprey Point Course on Kiawah Island, the Fazio Course at Palmetto Dunes, Sage Valley GC, The River Course at Kiawah Island, Thornblade Club, TPC at Myrtle Beach, Wachesaw Plantation Club, the Harbor Course at Wild Dunes and Woodcreek Farms.
Tom Fazio was inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 2002.