Architects are usually only as good as their sites, or at least their budgets—Tom Fazio would certainly agree with that, which is why he only agrees to projects that give him the resources to push the land around until it’s the way he wants it. Strantz was just getting to that level of prestige when he passed away, but Tot Hill Farm, opened in 2000, was a relatively low-budget design on a central North Carolina property that was too rugged and rocky to yield a Tobacco Road-level course. Strantz used what he had to shape some of his wildest greens, working around the site’s obstacles the best he could. The course is a staggered mix of daring, often outrageous holes (the par-3 13th) dotted with moments of sublime brilliance like the par-5 eighth and the par-4 17th. Golf Digest named the third hole, a downhill par 3 with a green wrapped around a rock outcropping, the best third hole built in the U.S. since 2000.
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