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Personnel File - September 2008: Golf

Thomas J. Fazio
President, Fazio Golf Course Designers Inc.
Hendersonville

No living designer has more credits on Golf Digest’s list of America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses than Tom Fazio. His company has created 17 courses in North Carolina, among them Bright’s Creek, named best new course for 2007 by the North Carolina Golf Panel. At 63, he says he has never felt better. “It’s exercise and thinking young. Or maybe it’s those occasional glasses of red wine.”

Apprenticing under his uncle, George Fazio, in the 1960s: “We did one to two courses a year — tops — in the Philadelphia area where we lived. He was a good golfer who just happened to get into the business. We designed them, and we built them.”

On his own: “My uncle kind of retired in the late 1970s when he moved to Jupiter, Fla., but there was never a stopping or starting point in my mind.”

The economy today is bad but: “What we’re going through is similar to what we faced in the early to mid-’70s. When we got a call in 1975 to do Pinehurst No. 6, that was a milestone for our company.”

Principles of design: “Golf courses should reflect the natural beauty of their environments. I’ve got seven senior associates on my staff, and that’s our starting point on every project.”

Peer pressure: “I’ve always been a big fan of Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus. Our approach to design differs from theirs, but I like their courses. Some of what Pete has done takes a lot of guts.”

Becoming a Tar Heel in 1986: “Sue decided we were going to raise our six kids in western North Carolina. We choose Hendersonville so I could be near the Asheville airport. A friend from Wild Dunes in Charleston, Raymond Finch, gave me his plane and said he’d call me if he needed to use it. He didn’t call very much, so I was set.”

Calling North Carolina home: “It’s such a fabulous state that it could be its own country. Think about it: We go from sea level to the highest peak east of the Rockies. And Pinehurst, well, there’s no place else like Pinehurst anywhere in the world.”