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Tom Fazio’s Best Courses


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#121 schley

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 06:46 AM

Played The Quarry at La Quinta last week and it was my favorite Fazio course I have played over Galloway and Butler National.  Great conditioning.


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#122 DandyDon

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Posted 21 November 2018 - 08:18 PM

View PostBubb, on 08 March 2018 - 03:43 PM, said:

Fazio is my favorite architect. The National at Reynolds Lake Oconee is a real treat. So is the Premier at Treetops.



It just goes to show you, different strokes for different folks.....The National was actually my least favorite course at Reynolds....

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#123 tarheel golf

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Posted 21 November 2018 - 09:58 PM

Forest Creek, Pinehurst NC

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#124 teejaywhy

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Posted 22 November 2018 - 04:42 PM

View Postschley, on 08 March 2018 - 11:51 AM, said:

Variety is the spice of life and I enjoy variety for sure, which means Doak and Fazio have their place.  I think that people like chocolate and some vanilla, some coke others pepsi.  There is room for both as well as others.  Of the course designers who are alive today I would rank them according to my favorites top 5:

Tom Doak
Ben Crenshaw & Tom Coore
Pete Dye
Tom Fazio
Jack Nicklaus

Bill Coore


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#125 gatorMD

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Posted 22 November 2018 - 05:39 PM

Played trump international in west palm.  course was gorgeous but extremely challenging.

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#126 geochitown

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Posted 22 November 2018 - 09:27 PM

View PostRoadking2003, on 03 March 2018 - 10:59 AM, said:

View Postschley, on 03 March 2018 - 03:07 AM, said:

Fazio has made his niche and done it well, he goes for high profile courses with large budgets and doesn't necessarily work with the land as he sees it, for he has the budget to move things.  To compare him to Doak is apples and oranges.  I think it takes much more skill and discipline to design like Doak for he let's the land tell him what to create and that is his philosophy if I had to characterize it.  He has worked with some great pieces of land for sure (Bandon, Cape Kidnappers, Ballyneal) but you don't find his courses as part of golf resorts or master planned golf course communities, for he doesn't move much land, not because he can't, but because that isn't his philosophy.

Here is an analogy.  I like pizza, but just cheese.  That is Doak.  Fazio has some exotic menu with everything custom.

Any Joe Smo course designer can make a great course out of land like Cape Kidnappers.  Doak mostly, if not always, works with a wonderful natural setting.  That's much easier than starting with nothing.

Common ground and the Rawls course (Doak) are built on flat land
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#127 geochitown

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Posted 22 November 2018 - 09:31 PM

I think I’ve only played one Faxio course, The Glen Club, in Glenview, IL

A golf pro buddy loves Coral Creek, near Boca Grande, FL
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#128 raynorfan1

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Posted 22 November 2018 - 09:34 PM

View Postgeochitown, on 22 November 2018 - 09:27 PM, said:

View PostRoadking2003, on 03 March 2018 - 10:59 AM, said:

View Postschley, on 03 March 2018 - 03:07 AM, said:

Fazio has made his niche and done it well, he goes for high profile courses with large budgets and doesn't necessarily work with the land as he sees it, for he has the budget to move things.  To compare him to Doak is apples and oranges.  I think it takes much more skill and discipline to design like Doak for he let's the land tell him what to create and that is his philosophy if I had to characterize it.  He has worked with some great pieces of land for sure (Bandon, Cape Kidnappers, Ballyneal) but you don't find his courses as part of golf resorts or master planned golf course communities, for he doesn't move much land, not because he can't, but because that isn't his philosophy.

Here is an analogy.  I like pizza, but just cheese.  That is Doak.  Fazio has some exotic menu with everything custom.

Any Joe Smo course designer can make a great course out of land like Cape Kidnappers.  Doak mostly, if not always, works with a wonderful natural setting.  That's much easier than starting with nothing.

Common ground and the Rawls course (Doak) are built on flat land

And both are among his least celebrated designs.

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#129 jwellefson1

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Posted 26 November 2018 - 08:43 AM

Has anyone played Piedmont in Northern VA? I have a connection there and just wanted to know what its like. I know it's a Fazio design, but otherwise I don't know much else.
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#130 schley

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Posted 26 November 2018 - 12:32 PM

View Postraynorfan1, on 22 November 2018 - 09:34 PM, said:

View Postgeochitown, on 22 November 2018 - 09:27 PM, said:

View PostRoadking2003, on 03 March 2018 - 10:59 AM, said:

View Postschley, on 03 March 2018 - 03:07 AM, said:

Fazio has made his niche and done it well, he goes for high profile courses with large budgets and doesn't necessarily work with the land as he sees it, for he has the budget to move things.  To compare him to Doak is apples and oranges.  I think it takes much more skill and discipline to design like Doak for he let's the land tell him what to create and that is his philosophy if I had to characterize it.  He has worked with some great pieces of land for sure (Bandon, Cape Kidnappers, Ballyneal) but you don't find his courses as part of golf resorts or master planned golf course communities, for he doesn't move much land, not because he can't, but because that isn't his philosophy.

Here is an analogy.  I like pizza, but just cheese.  That is Doak.  Fazio has some exotic menu with everything custom.

Any Joe Smo course designer can make a great course out of land like Cape Kidnappers.  Doak mostly, if not always, works with a wonderful natural setting.  That's much easier than starting with nothing.

Common ground and the Rawls course (Doak) are built on flat land

And both are among his least celebrated designs.

I wouldn't say Common Ground is one his least celebrated.  He did a fine job at the redo and is a very nice public facility with a growing the game focus.  Well utilized and appreciated by many.


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#131 raynorfan1

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Posted 26 November 2018 - 12:50 PM

View Postschley, on 26 November 2018 - 12:32 PM, said:

View Postraynorfan1, on 22 November 2018 - 09:34 PM, said:

View Postgeochitown, on 22 November 2018 - 09:27 PM, said:

View PostRoadking2003, on 03 March 2018 - 10:59 AM, said:

View Postschley, on 03 March 2018 - 03:07 AM, said:

Fazio has made his niche and done it well, he goes for high profile courses with large budgets and doesn't necessarily work with the land as he sees it, for he has the budget to move things.  To compare him to Doak is apples and oranges.  I think it takes much more skill and discipline to design like Doak for he let's the land tell him what to create and that is his philosophy if I had to characterize it.  He has worked with some great pieces of land for sure (Bandon, Cape Kidnappers, Ballyneal) but you don't find his courses as part of golf resorts or master planned golf course communities, for he doesn't move much land, not because he can't, but because that isn't his philosophy.

Here is an analogy.  I like pizza, but just cheese.  That is Doak.  Fazio has some exotic menu with everything custom.

Any Joe Smo course designer can make a great course out of land like Cape Kidnappers.  Doak mostly, if not always, works with a wonderful natural setting.  That's much easier than starting with nothing.

Common ground and the Rawls course (Doak) are built on flat land

And both are among his least celebrated designs.

I wouldn't say Common Ground is one his least celebrated.  He did a fine job at the redo and is a very nice public facility with a growing the game focus.  Well utilized and appreciated by many.

Celebrated might not have been a good choice of words - the concept is celebrated, but the course itself is not very highly regarded. Sort of the same way that Goat Hill is "celebrated"...but that doesn't make it a "great" course.

And for validation, I'll point you to Doak's "Rank My Courses" thread at GCA; CommonGround is almost universally at (or near) the bottom of everybody's rankings.

Edited by raynorfan1, 26 November 2018 - 01:05 PM.


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#132 firstbatch

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Posted 26 November 2018 - 01:12 PM

Belfair West in Bluffton,SC is a great Fazio track and home in April to the PGA Club Pro tournament.
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#133 schley

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Posted 26 November 2018 - 01:40 PM

View Postraynorfan1, on 26 November 2018 - 12:50 PM, said:


Celebrated might not have been a good choice of words - the concept is celebrated, but the course itself is not very highly regarded. Sort of the same way that Goat Hill is "celebrated"...but that doesn't make it a "great" course.

And for validation, I'll point you to Doak's "Rank My Courses" thread at GCA; CommonGround is almost universally at (or near) the bottom of everybody's rankings.

So the goalposts have moved.

Had you said lowest rated of his courses I would agree it would be in the bottom half.  Keep in mind Tom Doak doesn't and hasn't done bad courses.  If I were to rank his courses and give an average, IMO only Coore/Crenshaw would probably score higher for active architects.

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#134 raynorfan1

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Posted 26 November 2018 - 01:57 PM

View Postschley, on 26 November 2018 - 01:40 PM, said:

View Postraynorfan1, on 26 November 2018 - 12:50 PM, said:

Celebrated might not have been a good choice of words - the concept is celebrated, but the course itself is not very highly regarded. Sort of the same way that Goat Hill is "celebrated"...but that doesn't make it a "great" course.

And for validation, I'll point you to Doak's "Rank My Courses" thread at GCA; CommonGround is almost universally at (or near) the bottom of everybody's rankings.

So the goalposts have moved.

Had you said lowest rated of his courses I would agree it would be in the bottom half.  Keep in mind Tom Doak doesn't and hasn't done bad courses.  If I were to rank his courses and give an average, IMO only Coore/Crenshaw would probably score higher for active architects.

I'm happy to debate the original goalposts. I think it's a little weird to turn on the meaning of "celebrated".

Look at the thread on GCA. CommonGround is consistently ranked (as is Rawls) at the bottom of the list. I don't know of a better measure of "celebration" than having a collection of Doak fans list their favorite courses top to bottom. If you wish to propose a better measure, feel free, but I haven't seen it.

I agree with you that it's a good course that is loved and appreciated by many. But that doesn't change the fact that it's one of his lowest-regarded efforts.

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#135 schley

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Posted 26 November 2018 - 02:27 PM

View Postraynorfan1, on 26 November 2018 - 01:57 PM, said:

View Postschley, on 26 November 2018 - 01:40 PM, said:

View Postraynorfan1, on 26 November 2018 - 12:50 PM, said:

Celebrated might not have been a good choice of words - the concept is celebrated, but the course itself is not very highly regarded. Sort of the same way that Goat Hill is "celebrated"...but that doesn't make it a "great" course.

And for validation, I'll point you to Doak's "Rank My Courses" thread at GCA; CommonGround is almost universally at (or near) the bottom of everybody's rankings.

So the goalposts have moved.

Had you said lowest rated of his courses I would agree it would be in the bottom half.  Keep in mind Tom Doak doesn't and hasn't done bad courses.  If I were to rank his courses and give an average, IMO only Coore/Crenshaw would probably score higher for active architects.

I'm happy to debate the original goalposts. I think it's a little weird to turn on the meaning of "celebrated".

Look at the thread on GCA. CommonGround is consistently ranked (as is Rawls) at the bottom of the list. I don't know of a better measure of "celebration" than having a collection of Doak fans list their favorite courses top to bottom. If you wish to propose a better measure, feel free, but I haven't seen it.

I agree with you that it's a good course that is loved and appreciated by many. But that doesn't change the fact that it's one of his lowest-regarded efforts.

Dude.... you are the one who used celebrated, not me.  It doesn't mean highest rated to me.  I simply said had you used lowest rated of his courses my opinion would have been different.

However when I evaluate courses I have seen and played I don't really care what others opinions are, I now have one myself and put that ahead of any others.  The worst Ferrari is still a Ferrari and I think of Doak as well as CC courses the same way.  I would put Common Ground at a Doak 5 personally.  I can understand lower scores, but a 5 is certainly an above average course and where I see it, thus my opinion.  As a result and for all the reasons given previously it is very much celebrated.


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#136 raynorfan1

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Posted 26 November 2018 - 02:29 PM

View Postschley, on 26 November 2018 - 02:27 PM, said:

As a result and for all the reasons given previously it is very much celebrated.

More celebrated than his other works?

I stand by my original point that it is among his least celebrated work. As is Rawls.

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#137 RichieHunt

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Posted 26 November 2018 - 04:51 PM

I like Fazio's designs.  But like Ari said, he designed very expensive courses and golf courses are going more organic these days.

I also love Pine Barrens.  That's what I like about his work over say, Crenshaw's.  He's been able to design different types of layouts and create a lot of gems.  In fact, Rolling Oaks at World Woods gets way overlooked.  That's a great track and is completely different from Pine Barrens.  






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#138 FairwayFred

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Posted 26 November 2018 - 07:50 PM

Has anyone played Pine Valley since Fazio redid the bunkering on the 12th hole?  Since this is potentially some of his last work I think it's a very interesting topic.  Especially since he is a member (along with Gil Hanse). I played PV last month and I was very surprised to see what he did there.
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#139 mallrat

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Posted 27 November 2018 - 12:57 AM

Surprised no one has brought up Pronghorn. A course of his that I VERY much enjoy.

Interesting what I read about his courses being expensive and not organic. At work we have a Fazio and Nicklaus course and the Fazio course takes about 1/2 the amount of maintenance time.

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#140 Roadking2003

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Posted 27 November 2018 - 07:44 AM

View Postmallrat, on 27 November 2018 - 12:57 AM, said:

Interesting what I read about his courses being expensive and not organic.

That may be only one person's opinion.


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#141 FairwayFred

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Posted 27 November 2018 - 08:12 AM

View PostRoadking2003, on 27 November 2018 - 07:44 AM, said:

View Postmallrat, on 27 November 2018 - 12:57 AM, said:

Interesting what I read about his courses being expensive and not organic.

That may be only one person's opinion.

It's not one person's opinion.  In general Fazio builds expensive courses where he moves alot of dirt.  (similar to Nicklaus)  That's just fact.  The merits of this approach can definitely be debated but that is clearly Fazios MO.
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#142 Roadking2003

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Posted 27 November 2018 - 08:49 AM

Expensive is a relative term.  When I think expensive, Chambers Bay, Whistling Straits, Trump National, Shadow Creek and Liberty National come to mind.

Yes, Fazio has built some expensive courses (Shadow Creek), but a lot of his courses are not like that.  I've only played 18 of his courses and most I would put in the medium category, like Barton Creek Canyons, Barton Creek Foothills, Red Sky, Whisper Rock, etc.

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#143 vallygolf

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Posted 27 November 2018 - 09:11 AM

Always interesting to me that any thread regarding architecture (even one specifically aimed at Fazio) typically evolves into looking through the Doak lens.  Not good or bad, just IS.  Probably because he is not shy about making striking public comments on others lack of talent in design.  Interestingly for me he has designed two of my all time favorite high profile courses (Old Mac and PD at bandon), and two resounding thuds for high profile courses (SS Blue and the Loop).  I appreciate the comment above that architecture like art is a personal taste.  I like what I like irrespective of Mr. Doak.

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#144 Roadking2003

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Posted 27 November 2018 - 09:55 AM

View Postvallygolf, on 27 November 2018 - 09:11 AM, said:

Always interesting to me that any thread regarding architecture (even one specifically aimed at Fazio) typically evolves into looking through the Doak lens.  Not good or bad, just IS.  Probably because he is not shy about making striking public comments on others lack of talent in design.  Interestingly for me he has designed two of my all time favorite high profile courses (Old Mac and PD at bandon), and two resounding thuds for high profile courses (SS Blue and the Loop).  I appreciate the comment above that architecture like art is a personal taste.  I like what I like irrespective of Mr. Doak.

Unfortunately, I haven't played any Doak courses.  But based on his top courses list I doubt that I would appreciate his designs as much as he does (he's in love with himself).

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#145 FairwayFred

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Posted 27 November 2018 - 10:18 AM

View PostRoadking2003, on 27 November 2018 - 08:49 AM, said:

Expensive is a relative term.  When I think expensive, Chambers Bay, Whistling Straits, Trump National, Shadow Creek and Liberty National come to mind.

Yes, Fazio has built some expensive courses (Shadow Creek), but a lot of his courses are not like that.  I've only played 18 of his courses and most I would put in the medium category, like Barton Creek Canyons, Barton Creek Foothills, Red Sky, Whisper Rock, etc.

Yeah I guess everything is relative.  Every course you mention is a high dollar/expensive build project but if your only comparing to other expensive build projects than it's all relative.  There's alot that goes into this that you can't see like drainage and irrigation etc that makes up a large dollar figure.  I'd be surprised for example if the construction budget for Chambers Bay was considerably higher than Whisper Rock.  They did move a ton of dirt at Chambers but I believe they didn't have to import a bunch of sand (which is very expensive) because it was already on site.  

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#146 doubledub

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Posted 27 November 2018 - 12:42 PM

Escondido northwest of Austin. Great set of greens that are always firm. Green designs match holes well (difficult hole=mellow green, easy hole=prepare to be ejected). Best angles into greens almost always require aiming towards the trouble off the tee.

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#147 mallrat

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Posted 27 November 2018 - 11:24 PM

View PostFairwayFred, on 27 November 2018 - 08:12 AM, said:

View PostRoadking2003, on 27 November 2018 - 07:44 AM, said:

View Postmallrat, on 27 November 2018 - 12:57 AM, said:

Interesting what I read about his courses being expensive and not organic.

That may be only one person's opinion.

It's not one person's opinion.  In general Fazio builds expensive courses where he moves alot of dirt.  (similar to Nicklaus)  That's just fact.  The merits of this approach can definitely be debated but that is clearly Fazios MO.

This clarifies a big part of my post. I was thinking expensive in terms of maintenance and not purely build cost.

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#148 Roadking2003

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 09:44 AM

View PostFairwayFred, on 27 November 2018 - 10:18 AM, said:

View PostRoadking2003, on 27 November 2018 - 08:49 AM, said:

Expensive is a relative term.  When I think expensive, Chambers Bay, Whistling Straits, Trump National, Shadow Creek and Liberty National come to mind.

Yes, Fazio has built some expensive courses (Shadow Creek), but a lot of his courses are not like that.  I've only played 18 of his courses and most I would put in the medium category, like Barton Creek Canyons, Barton Creek Foothills, Red Sky, Whisper Rock, etc.

Yeah I guess everything is relative.  Every course you mention is a high dollar/expensive build project but if your only comparing to other expensive build projects than it's all relative.  There's alot that goes into this that you can't see like drainage and irrigation etc that makes up a large dollar figure.  I'd be surprised for example if the construction budget for Chambers Bay was considerably higher than Whisper Rock.  They did move a ton of dirt at Chambers but I believe they didn't have to import a bunch of sand (which is very expensive) because it was already on site.  

The land for Chambers Bay was $33 million and construction of the course was over $20 million before they built a clubhouse.  But that's OK since it was paid for with other people's money.

Edited by Roadking2003, 28 November 2018 - 09:45 AM.


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#149 FairwayFred

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 11:42 AM

View PostRoadking2003, on 28 November 2018 - 09:44 AM, said:

View PostFairwayFred, on 27 November 2018 - 10:18 AM, said:

View PostRoadking2003, on 27 November 2018 - 08:49 AM, said:

Expensive is a relative term.  When I think expensive, Chambers Bay, Whistling Straits, Trump National, Shadow Creek and Liberty National come to mind.

Yes, Fazio has built some expensive courses (Shadow Creek), but a lot of his courses are not like that.  I've only played 18 of his courses and most I would put in the medium category, like Barton Creek Canyons, Barton Creek Foothills, Red Sky, Whisper Rock, etc.

Yeah I guess everything is relative.  Every course you mention is a high dollar/expensive build project but if your only comparing to other expensive build projects than it's all relative.  There's alot that goes into this that you can't see like drainage and irrigation etc that makes up a large dollar figure.  I'd be surprised for example if the construction budget for Chambers Bay was considerably higher than Whisper Rock.  They did move a ton of dirt at Chambers but I believe they didn't have to import a bunch of sand (which is very expensive) because it was already on site.  

The land for Chambers Bay was $33 million and construction of the course was over $20 million before they built a clubhouse.  But that's OK since it was paid for with other people's money.

The Fazio course at Whisper Rock easily cost more than $20 million to build for just the golf.  Regardless of who paid for it.  No idea about land acquisition costs but that's irrelevant to this discussion.
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(still a huge club HO)

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#150 titleistlefty33

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 07:32 AM

Escondido, Briggs Ranch, Alotian Club, Lake Nona, Shadow Creek

Some of my favorite Faio designs that I’ve played.... I find them all very fun and challenging enough
But none of them get me too excited. They are all just very very solid. Nothing too unique or spectacular from a design perspective. Just lacking a little something

lead tape & Taylormade TP5X's

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