135. Caves Valley Golf Club
Tom Fazio (1991)
To compare the present Caves Valley against that which was originally built in the early 1990s is to recognize how much Tom Fazio has felt obligated to adjust his courses to today’s club and ball technology. Back in 1991, the opening hole was a dogleg-left with a trap at the turn. Today it has four bunkers framing the landing area. The par-5 third had just two “buffer bunkers” along a lake to the right to stop high-handicap slices from landing in the drink. Those buffers are still there, but so too are three enormous bunkers down the left, stretching over 300 yards from the back tee. And so it is all the way around Caves Valley. There are now target bunkers mainly in play for big hitters and frontal bunkers at several greens to force pin-seekers to throw it in the air. Caves Valley is a players’ club, and one remains a player only by being constantly challenged during a round.
Second 100 Greatest history: Ranked from 2013 to current. Highest ranking: No. 132, 2015-2016. Previous ranking: 140th.
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Panelist comments, Caves Valley Golf Club:
"I imagine that when Tom Fazio was given the challenge in the early 1990s of creating “the Caves Valley Experience” in the rolling hills north of Baltimore, he knew that the course must be designed in a manner that allowed for play by golfers of all abilities. To me, Caves Valley is one of Fazio's best designs as his use of the hillside terrain for routing is exceptional."
"Tucked away in the countryside of Maryland, this oasis creates a fantastic golf experience. Ambience of the golf course is very special as the design, setting, facilities and team all are focused on golf. One of the better offerings in the Mid-Atlantic. The property/campus has an outstanding feel. The architecture, amenities, etc. are superior."
"The conditions at Caves Valley are borderline pristine. There is no perfect on our scale ... but to me, this is close to as good as it can get."
"Very picturesque Fazio course—every hole is like a postcard. Elevation changes create great memorability as well."
"No one hole felt like another, which while not being very challenging, created great memorability and rewarded good shot making. I enjoyed the variety of short/long holes of all pars, testing the entire game."
"Caves Valley is really an impressive piece of land. The course is carved out of woods but offers relatively generous fairways. The greens are also large, but quite undulated with multiple nuances to each complex."