George Fazio & Tom Fazio (1974)/Tom Fazio (R. 1988, 2005, 2008)
Butler National was former tour player George Fazio's ideal of a championship course, with 10 carries over water in 18 holes. Even before it opened, it was signed to serve as permanent site of the Western Open. Problem was, when it opened, it was the last cool-weather venue on the PGA Tour to utilize bluegrass rather than bent-grass for its fairway, and several prominent golfers declined to play Butler National because of potential flyer-lies from those fairways. Eventually the turf was converted, but then the Shoal Creek scandal occurred. Rather than change its restricted men's-only policy, the club relinquished its role of Western Open host after the 1990 event. So why include a club on America's 100 Greatest that won't allow female panelists a chance to evaluate it? Because we rank golf courses, not club policies.
100 Greatest History: Ranked since 1975. Highest ranking: No. 21, 2007-2008. Previous ranking: No. 46
“Not flashy, but tough. This is pure golf from the first tee to the 18th green. It is a true and fair test to the scratch golfer, and an extremely difficult one at that. It does not let up in challenging all the skills; distance, accuracy, finesse and even the mental aspect. It can take a golfer out of their swing comfort zone.”
“Fazio's 2004 renovation has done a fantastic job updating and lengthening a top-notch layout by incorporating classic Fazio bunkering with Tour Grade Signature sand, new bentgrass greens, and added elevation and undulation on a few fairways.”
“The course might not be as pretty as others or have the aesthetics, but it is supremely well-conditioned and many holes are tight. The ninth hole, for example -- even though it is not long -- you have to hit the right part of a narrow fairway to have an unobstructed shot into the green. ”
“Smart by Fazio to move fairway bunkers forward, which makes the course much more playable for the average player -- in most cases you need to hit the ball 275 yards or more to bring them into play. The course is narrow and tough enough as it is, no need to penalize the 200-230 yard hitter.”
“It's too bad the membership policies prohibit the club from hosting a tour event in the near term. This is one of the best tests of golf there is.”