Tom Fazio (1987)/Tom Fazio (R. 2006-2012)
Built during the period when Tom Fazio was still working with the existing landscape rather than ignoring it, Wade Hampton is an exercise in restraint. The fairways flow through a natural valley between flanking mountain peaks. Some holes are guarded by gurgling brooks, but Fazio piped several streams underground to make the course more playable and walkable. Selected as Golf Digest's Best New Private Course of 1987, it has never been out of the Top 40 since it joined America's 100 Greatest.
100 Greatest History: Ranked since 1991. Highest ranking: No. 15, 2007-'08. Previous ranking: No. 21
“Might be the best mountain course in the United States. Such an impressive use of the land to blend housing with the mountain views -- to the point where you don't really notice it's residential. Fazio also did a great job using natural (or semi natural) water features and rocks.”
“This is Fazio's home club -- he lives off the par-3 sixth hole in the summers. Certainly one of, if not his best, works. Definitely one of the best modern-day courses in the United States. I was surprised at the superb ambience at this club. A really strong caddie program, with an elegant clubhouse and a great, traditional locker room that even includes a card table with nice leather chairs.”
“The club has utilized sub-air like Augusta in its greens, contributing to some of the best firm, fast yet receptive greens I've played. There are plans, though, to renovate them in 2017.”
“Fazio somehow combined outstanding risk/reward characteristics with playability to create a high-end 100 Greatest course with great playability as well -- a difficult combination to achieve.”
“Not many know this, but ask around about Headwaters -- a secret Fazio-designed par-3 course with an amazing practice facility across the street. There are less than 50 members.”