Fazio visits site,
says laying sod will speed opening
(June 2001) Florence, In If there
is such a saying as sod over seed then it
definitely rings true in the scheduled July 3 opening
of Belterra Casino Resorts new 18-hole golf course.
The Tom Fazio-designed layout was originally
scheduled to open in September. But faced with a long
wait for the grass seeds to grow, officials decided to
put down 70 acres of sod over the 240-acre course so they
could move up the opening date by two months.
It was an issue of only eight holes left,
said Belterra golf pro Jim Newton. We could either
seed and open in September or sod and open up in July.
We chose to do a considerable sodding process.
Fazio, 56, visited his nearly completed course on May
17. Its just incredible what sod will do,
he said overlooking the course which required moving 1.2
million cubic yards of dirt to create.
Fazio started out with a palette of extremely flat land
and has ended up with a layout that features a 65-foot
elevation from the highest to lowest point. He has successfully
designed the banks, ridges and fairways to resemble the
natural horizon. Fazio admitted, though, that this was
not the premise for designing the course.
The first issue was that we wanted to feature the
marquee home, he said, referring to the casinos
15-story hotel that directly overlooks the 18th hole.
Most of the time when you construct a course, you
want to hide buildings. But the presence of this particular
building is really the reason for this golf course.
Workers also planted 2,300 trees on the course to complement
the rolling hills. Two trees from the original terrain
sit on the par-3 second hole.
Fazio has designed golf courses across the country and
has more than 120 to his credit since 1972.
The goal is always to create a different course
and never build the same hole twice, he said at
a May press conference.
He emphasized that distinctiveness does not compensate
for quality. If you cant expect a tour player
to like it, you cant expect anyone else to like
it. But I believe even the beginning golfer will find
this course fun and exciting without walking away frustrated.
Fazio said he did not try to create a signature hole,
as do many architects. In my opinion they all have
to be signature holes. Defining one is like saying one
is better than all the rest.
A Philadelphia native, Fazio resides and operates his
nationally known design firm out of North Carolina. He
started his design career in the 1960s with the assistance
and encouragement of his uncle, touring professional George
Fazio. Since then, some of his creations have included
Shadow Creek in Las Vegas and the Black Diamond in Lecanto,
He has been voted three times as Best Modern Day
Golf Architect in a Golf Digest Poll. His son, Logan,
24, is beginning to follow in his footsteps and has been
designing courses out of Dallas.
One of the most important things when you are creating
a golf course is to create an environmental setting that
is memorable, said Fazio.