Few people have had a greater influence on modern golf than Tom Fazio. When he was still a teenager, Fazio began to work for his uncle George Fazio, an accomplished golf professional who was branching into course design. First from an office in Philadelphia, then Jupiter, Florida, the young Fazio learned of engineering, landscape design, soils, turfgrass and the business side of golf. Before he was 30 years of age, Fazio was a full partner with his uncle, taking over the bulk of the firm’s work during the 1970s.
Fazio first won acclaim when Wild Dunes—a course along the Atlantic Ocean in South Carolina—opened in 1980. By the end of the decade, Fazio’s private clubs would be named Best New Courses in the Country on three separate occasions—catapulting him into the spotlight and inundating him with requests for course design. Fazio assembled a team of talented associates and began a varied run of high-profile projects that continues to this day.
“The most important objective we as an organization set for ourselves on every project is to create a golf course unlike any other we’ve done before,” notes Fazio. “Each presents a new problem requiring a unique solution and a fresh approach that combines past experience, hard work, knowledge, commitment, and, above all, a positive attitude.”
Fazio brought that outlook to Virginia Beach in 1995. While many designers would have seen the relatively flat piece of property as a negative, Fazio viewed it as an opportunity. “We framed the outer edges, building a berm along the roadway and landscaped it for privacy. You still have this big open space feeling when you’re there,” notes Fazio. “There already was some water on the property, bordering one, two, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen and eighteen, so it made sense to bring water into the interior of the property also. So we dug some lakes, which provided the soil to create landforms for tees and greens, which gave the holes some contour.”
While it may be easy to create a memorable course from a spectacular site, Tom Fazio is often able to create a great course from a less than flashy environment. At Bayville Golf Club he has utilized what was given him to the best advantage, created what he needed to enhance the vision, and melded the two together seamlessly, to provide Virginia Beach’s most enjoyable and sophisticated golfing experience.