It must be tough to be a golf architect named Tom Fazio and not be that Tom Fazio. Yet, the nephew of one of the game’s pre-eminent designers is compiling his own impressive portfolio of courses, none better than Quail Valley.
Put aside all your assumptions about Florida courses. Working with former world-number-one Nick Price, Fazio II moved huge amounts of dirt to turn flat citrus groves into a rolling, tumbling trip past seven lakes, countless bunkers, and many trees—but with barely a palm in sight (and no homes, either).
Quail Valley suits any golfer, with six tees per hole and little hidden from view. Good players can take on the trouble and hope to find cleverly positioned fairway “speed slots” that produce extra roll. Yet even with the hefty helping of hazards, it’s easy to play away from trouble, finding the wide fairways and running shots onto the big, quick greens.
Best of all, this is a layout that never gets dull. The Atlantic may be six miles away, but ocean winds are a constant. The course is also a pleasant walk, enhanced by top-notch caddies.
Befitting a serious golf club (a pool, tennis, and other amenities are in town at Quail Valley’s two facilities along the intracoastal waterway), there’s an outstanding learning center with top teachers, the latest technology, and six par-three practice holes. It’s the Ivy League for students of the game.