Page 24 From Fall 2012 Florida Golf Magazine ©Copyright 2012, All Rights Reserved. Subscribe at
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Tequesta Country Club members thank Tommy Fazio for renovating their classic old Dick Wilson-Joe Lee designed golf course.

Golf course designer-builder, Tom Fazio ll at the 9th hole of Tequesta Country Club in Tequesta Florida.

In Tequesta Florida:
Tequesta Country Club & The Florida Golf Course Architecture of Designer-Builder Tommy Fazio

“On behalf of the entire membership at Tequesta Country Club,
from the bottom of my heart I just want to say thanks Tom, you've done a great job for us.”
Club President John “Woody” Wodraska

Written By Joe Stine, Editor - Florida Golf Magazine

Tequesta Country Club,
Founded - 1957, Par 71, 6850 - 5192 yards
Original Architect Dick Wilson - Tom Fazio II

          There must be a reason that so many touring pros call Tequesta Country Club their home course. That is of course, when they're not out winning tournaments. Ernie Els, British Open 2012; Olin Browne, U.S. Senior Open 2011; Russ Cochran, Senior British Open 2011; Steve Marino, 21 top ten finishes in his 10 year career; Keegan Bradley, with two wins in 2012; Rickie Fowler; Ed Sabo, winner of two consecutive PGA Senior Club Professional Championships.
          Steeped in tradition, this challenging par 71 golf course is recognized as one of the gems of legendary golf course designer Dick Wilson and his then young assistant, Joe Lee. Each hole has its own unique character within the overall Wilson design and throughout the last fifty-some years has demanded discipline and good shot selection.
          Arguably one of the older and more prestigious golf courses in Palm Beach County, Tequesta Country Club’s vision of a golf community in an old Florida setting dates back to 1955 when Charles Martyn began developing a golf club surrounded by homes. When selecting a team to design the new course, the team of Jack Kurtz, Charles Martyn and Walter Lathrop decided upon the talents of Dick Wilson and Joe Lee believing that their traditional design would capture the Old Florida ambience while creating a challenging course. Construction of Tequesta Country Club’s golf course began in 1955.
          The Clubhouse and Course were officially opened on December 12, 1957 by Jack Kurtz, the first club president. The occasion featured an exhibition golf match played by Arnold Palmer, Dow Finsterwald, Truman Connell and Jack Kurtz. Dow was named Club Pro, and the following year won the 1958 PGA Championship, and much to the delight of Tequesta Country Club members, he appeared in this televised tournament with the Tequesta Country Club name printed boldly on his golf bag.

Jack Kurtz and Dow Finsterwald with the PGA Trophy in 1958

          This was also the first year the US PGA went to medal play, and Finsterwald was named Player of the Year. Renowned as a perfectionist from tee to green, Dow Finsterwald won 12 PGA Tour events between 1955 and 1963 and was a four-time Ryder Cup player and 1977 Ryder Cup captain. He was the 1962 Masters runner-up after an 18-hole playoff with his good friends, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player.

Taken in 1957 this old photograph shows Arnold Palmer hanging out in the pro shop of Tequesta Country Club with his buddy, Club Pro Dow Finsterwald. Dow was Tequesta Country Club’s first Head Pro and the following year won the 1958 PGA Championship. This was also the first year the US PGA went to medal play, and Finsterwald was named Player of the Year. Dow Finsterwald won 12 PGA Tour events between 1955 and 1963 and was a four-time Ryder Cup player and 1977 Ryder Cup captain. He was the 1962 Masters runner-up after an 18-hole playoff with his good friends, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player.

          Golf greats such as Palmer, Nicklaus and Player often joined Finsterwald to play the Tequesta CC course. In the early years Ben Hogan played a heart fund charity exhibition with Dow and Frank Stranahan, which was commemorated by an autographed classic print of Ben Hogan that still hangs in the main clubhouse.
          The Dick Wilson designed course at Tequesta Country Club has always attracted top name golfers and celebrities. Crooner Perry Como used to sign off his weekly television show with “I'm going to a little piece of heaven called Tequesta, Fl.” A daily golfer, along with golf legend Toney Penna, the duo sang praises of the challenging course. From President Kennedy's secret game with club pro, Eddie Bush, to Richard Nixon's participation in a club tournament there, the fifties charm of Tequesta Country Club has long enticed golfers who find the course to be a perfect challenge.
Tequesta Country Club’s recent history

          Tequesta Country Club’s current history continues to be exciting. The course is constantly being redesigned and updated. Within the past five years, several innovative changes have been brought about by a very well know name in golf design...Fazio. With a new look at shrinking the original footprint of the course, young Tom Fazio II, the next generation designer from the well known golf course designer family, has made a deep impression on the golfing community. A local resident who lives with his wife, Gabrielle and two daughters, MacKenzie and Riley, the forty-four year old designer is a Tequesta Country Club member and has already made changes that are bringing in new and younger members.

The 352 yard par 4, second hole at Tequesta Country Club in Tequesta Florida. The green of this hole is backed by a natural setting of drought resistant indigenous plants hand selected by Tom Fazio II.

Young Fazio's namesake, Uncle Tom Fazio, ('the world's top golf designer')

          Heading up the family tree is George Fazio, (1912 –1986) a successful player in the fifties and a prolific architect who counts among his designs the exclusive Jupiter Hills, Florida. He first employed Tom Fazio and Jim Fazio and we know how that turned out!
          "I started working on building golf courses by picking up rocks and sticks. Then progressed to building irrigation systems and greens and running a tractor then a bull dozer," said Fazio II. "I worked in the family business started by great-Uncle George with my father, Jim and my Uncle Tom. Every summer I helped out. I don't know if they employed me to keep me out of trouble or get me interested, but it worked."
          Young Fazio's namesake, Uncle Tom Fazio, has been referred to as 'the world's top golf designer'. His accomplishments range from Florida to New York and around the nation. The Fazio name seems to be a favorite of Donald Trump as Tom, Sr. has designed both the Trump National in Philadelphia and the Trump National along the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. In addition, since his family has grown, Uncle Tom Fazio now accepts offers internationally and has a club in Waterville, Ireland as well as others spots throughout Europe. Tom Fazio Sr. has designed more than 120 courses and has more courses ranked among the top 100 in the U.S. than anyone else in the business.
          While a student at Mississippi State University, young Tom Fazio II had an opportunity to work on a golf course in Italy. His father, Jim Fazio, an internationally known golf architect was designing the course. "I did much soul searching before making my decision to work there," said Tom. "But it was an invaluable experience living, working and learning in Italy for two years."
          And learn from the best he did. His father, Jim Fazio, is the designer of record for Trump National (2001) in Briarcliff Manor, New York and Trump International in West Palm Beach (1999) The senior Fazio, Jim is well known throughout Italy and Japan for numerous golf clubs designs and redesigns including Trump International Golf Club, Raffles Resort on Canouan Island in the Grenadines in 2002.
          With those kind of genes, is it any wonder that young Tom Fazio II is not only knowledgeable but also brings a new brand of creativity? "I hate to hear people say they're "hands on," meaning they put in an appearance at the job site," said Fazio II. "When I say "hands on," I mean that I'm there and I don't leave until the project is complete. I’m a field architect. I design and build and operate bull dozers, tractors and rake."

Tom Fazio II is photographed here operating a dozer on the golf course at Tequesta Country Club in Tequesta Florida.

          This “next-generation” designing Fazio’s background is impeccable. He worked with his father, Jim on overseeing the day to day construction of his father's design at Trump National in Westchester, N.Y. and, more recently, worked with his Uncle at Trump Bedminster in New Jersey. He was Trump's in-house golf course designer/builder.
          During this time frame, 1995, he opened his own designing firm emphasizing quality not quantity. He designed and built the Great River Golf Club in Milford, Connecticut. A hands-on designer, he thinks nothing of climbing into a bull dozer or picking up a shovel to get the results he's after. This old school approach has made a fan of Donald Trump who approves of the fact that Fazio brings in all his own people and oversees the job site on a daily basis. That includes all aspects from the underground irrigation system to each sand trap on every hole.

A photo of Tom Fazio II and Donald Trump at Trump International in West Palm Beach, Florida.

“Tommy Fazio is without a doubt one of the best golf course architects I have ever had the privilege of using. The new course he designed at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster is fantastic and loved by the members. He knows the thought process involved in golf and his courses challenge as well as please the most discriminating players. He is fantastic.” Donald J. Trump

          When Florida Golf Magazine contacted Donald Trump and inquired about Tom Fazio II, Mr. Trump was quoted as saying, “Tommy Fazio is without a doubt one of the best golf course architects I have ever had the privilege of using. The new course he designed at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster is fantastic and loved by the members. He knows the thought process involved in golf and his courses challenge as well as please the most discriminating players. He is fantastic.”
          For the last ten years, in addition to working closely with real estate developer Donald Trump, he collaborated with touring pro Nick Price to create Quail Valley Golf Club in Vero Beach, Florida.

Tom Fazio II, photographed here in his office doing golf course design work on the computer using Autocad®.

          When he started his own business in 1995, he didn't want to compete with his father, Jim or his Uncle Tom. "I do design/builds where I exclusively hand-build my own golf course," Fazio said. "I bring my own people in and I hire few sub-contractors. Then I supervise daily the construction, all aspects of it - not just the design, but everything down to the smallest detail - so that I get it exactly the way I want it."

On November 2nd, 2012, world reknowned golf course architects Jim Fazio and his son Tom Fazio II were both guests of honor at the re-opening ceremony of “The Fazio,” which is a complete renovation by Tom Fazio II of PGA National Resort and Spa’s original 18-hole course opened in 1980, designed by young Tom’s grandfather and uncle, (George and Tom Fazio).

“The Fazio” is a renovation by Tom Fazio II of PGA National’s original 18-hole course opened in 1980, designed by George and Tom Fazio.

          Tom Fazio II just recently completed renovations on The Haig at PGA National Resort & Spa – home of the PGA TOUR Honda Classic. "The architects for the course are listed as George and Tom Fazio and my dad, Jim, was the on site architect," said Fazio II. "Now I've done the renovations so it's still truly a 100% Fazio course."
          On Nov. 1st, 2012 the course was rechristened, The Fazio. A name that now denotes three generations of golf designs for some of the world's finest courses. “The Fazio” is a renovation of “The Haig” – PGA National’s original 18-hole course opened in 1980. The Haig was designed by George and Tom Fazio in tribute to five-time PGA champion Walter Hagen.
          As the third member of the lauded Fazio family to work on The Haig, Tom Fazio II has spearheaded the efforts to modernize the noted shot maker’s layout. “We think the appealing aspects of The Fazio are the newly reconfigured greens, tee-boxes and bunkering; achieving that ideal balance where single-digit golfers will be fully challenged while higher handicaps will have a layout ideal for a day of enjoyable resort golf,” says Tom Fazio II.
          “Tom has a wonderful vision for the course with a combination of old- and new-school design concepts,” says Lukus Harvey, director of agronomy at PGA National. “He’s the epitome of a ‘hands-on’ course architect and we’re thrilled to partner with him on this seminal project.”
          “The Fazio Course adds to the PGA National legacy, which at 30-years and counting is one of the most robust of any golf resort in the world,” says Joel Paige, vice president and managing director at PGA National.

The approach shot to the green of the 510 yard par five, 12th hole at Tequesta Country Club.

On behalf of the entire membership at Tequesta Country Club

          His accomplishments at Tequesta Country Club have already been noted and approved by the membership as well as visiting golfers. "By creating new back tees on almost every hole, the course has been expanded by about 350 yards," said Mark Badertscher, operation manager at TCC. "Tom has also added bunkers, created several brand new greens and re-contoured all of the greens."
          When Florida Golf Magazine asked Club President, John (Woody) Wodraska what changes Tom Fazio II had made to the golf course at Tequesta Country Club, he told us, “We are really proud of the golf course we have here. It was designed by Dick Wilson and Joe Lee back in 1957. And, we think it really captures the feel of “old Florida.” And, we're especially appreciative of the job that Tommy Fazio has done of taking this “old Florida” golf course and really holding on to what makes this special place.
          Back in the fifties and sixties the really good golfer could hit his drive 240, to 260 yards. But today’s golfer with today's equipment is hitting that drive 280 to 300 yards, and Tommy has been able to give the same shot value that had existed back in the fifties and sixties to today's golfer at Tequesta Country Club.”
          “And in addition,” said Woody, “a lot of golf courses in Florida have kind of gone to a more quaffed, fancier look. One of the things we're real proud of here is that we have been able to hold on to what we think “old Florida was all about and we think we've captured that and couldn't have done it without Tommy's help.
          So, on behalf of the entire membership at Tequesta Country Club, from the bottom of my heart I just want to say thanks Tom, you've done a great job for us.”

Ed Sabo, Tom Fazio II and Jim Fazio played golf with FGM Editor, Joe Stine at Tequesta Country Club.

A round of golf at the prestigious Tequesta Country Club

          When Florida Golf Magazine visited Tequesta Country Club, this editor got to play golf with three of finest gentlemen you’d ever want to meet; Tom Fazio II, his father, world renowned architect Jim Fazio and PGA Professional, Ed Sabo. While filming video on the back tees of the 12th hole PGA Tour Pro Will MacKenzie who was apparently playing behind us came and ask if he and his playing partner could play through. So, I learned first-hand that day that the rumors of PGA Tour Pros playing at Tequesta Country Club on a regular basis was indeed true.
          Now Ed Sabo, who I mistook for “just another country club dignitary,” was also in fact a winner of two consecutive PGA Senior Club Professional Championships and proved to be one of the finest golfers that I personally have ever had the honor of playing with and I watched him hit several phenomenal shots that day that totally left me in awe.

Tommy Fazio renovated the second hole at Tequesta Country Club. Shown here back in August 2012, Tommy Fazio and his father, world renowned Golf Course Architect Jim Fazio inspect the annual verta-cutting maintenance at Tequesta Country Club while discussing Tommy's golf course design strategies for this golf hole.

Tom Fazio II jokingly referred to himself and Ed Sabo as the shadow committee meaning, whenever they played together at Tequesta Country Club they would always look for ways to improve the course and then report their collective suggestions back to the club’s greens committee. They had a pretty good system worked out and it was indeed a lot of fun watching them in action.

The 160 yard par three, 17th hole at Tequesta Country Club.

The New Practice Facility at Tequesta CC

          Tom Fazio II has also built a wonderful new short game practice facility at Tequesta Country Club out on the course alongside the 17th Hole and 18th tee. While we were admiring the work his son had done on the practice facility from the 18th tee, Jim Fazio said to him, “I’m sure the club finds this to be great for attracting younger members, because the young players like to practice more. The old people like me just want to go out and play. You need something like this at every golf course, but of course not every golf course has the room for a practice facility this large, you were lucky to find it here.” Tom then added, “I think with the three practice greens and the numerous different styles of bunkering we have here the members can use it to practice almost any type of wedge shot up to 80 yards long, and many of the tour players often do that here till late in the evening.”

The new practice facility built by Tom Fazio II at Tequesta Country Club as viewed from the 17th tee.

With three greens and numerous bunkers the new practice facility can be used to practice almost any kind of wedge shot.

What’s Next For Tequesta Country Club?

          Florida Golf Magazine asked Tom Fazio II what was next on his agenda for the course at Tequesta Country Club. “Next May, the entire course will be restored.” Then, with a smile he said, "This is what really brought me to Tequesta Country Club. Back in 2007, I took a tour with Bill Taylor, who was the Club President at the time. He started telling me about the club’s future plans for the course, and I realized that I had the ability to steer them into a more naturalistic setting which is where the golf industry is heading."
          So, creating a more naturalistic setting is what we've been experimenting with for the past five years here at Tequesta Country Club," said Fazio II. "To me the greatest area around here to observe indigenous plant-life is Jonathan Dickinson State Park. We go there often and take pictures of what we'd like to plant on the golf course. We identified the plants we liked and have been experimenting with different species to see which plants work best. We want to be more sustainable, reduce our footprint and focus more on a native look and less maintenance. “More like it was back in the fifties."
          Recently, renowned plant specialist, David Cogan known by golf designers as Mr. Swampy, paid a visit to see what Tom and his crew were doing at Tequesta Country Club. "He was astounded," said Fazio, "although he's an aquatic expert and known for his knowledge of the wetlands, he was amazed that we had figured out the scrublands’ plant-life as he's been trying for years."
          “In May 2013, the restoration will start at Tequesta Country Club by first getting rid of the organic layer, directly under the sod. Leaving it there presents future problems," said Fazio. "We've also already completed a new pump station in preparation for the irrigation system."
          “The biggest focus for the future here at Tequesta Country Club is to create a challenging course that requires less management and maintenance. Also,” said Fazio, “the membership and demographics must be a frame of reference for future plans. Too many radical changes could upset the established members.
          One of the biggest changes that everyone seems to approve of has been moving the back tees. This has increased the length of the course from 6500 to 6850. At par 71, it seems to play longer than the score card says due to the fact that most of the length is in the par 4’s. But, what really added length to the course was adding the new tees about 25 yards behind the existing back tees it put the landing zones back where Dick Wilson intended prior to new equipment and ball improvement."
          “One of the biggest challenges for golf course designers who try to make courses require less maintenance and yet look more natural are home owners and associations who seem to be for the environment but just not in their back yard where they expect Augusta National like maintenance,” said Fazio. "They have to learn that a natural course can enhance their privacy. If grass is not up to their property line, they won't have early morning lawn mowers disturbing their sleep. It's also more cost effective and is good for the environment."
          Very much like the rest of the Fazio clan, Tom Fazio II steadfastly supports protecting the environment on every golf course project he works on and it’s nice to see that way of thinking being executed so eloquently at a venerable old course such as Tequesta Country Club.

The approach shot into the green, of the 452 yard par four, 18th hole is viewed from the clubhouse at Tequesta Country Club.

          So, while the original par-71 routing first created by Dick Wilson and Joe Lee back in 1957 still remains intact, thanks to Tom Fazio II, the restoration at Tequesta Country Club in 2013 will feature the best of classic golf architecture as well as improvements in modern technology, course design and agronomics, including:

• New Celebration™ bermudagrass on all the tees and fairways and roughs
• All 18 greens rebuilt with new TiffEagle bermudagrass
• Course lengthened to 6,850 yards in response to advances in equipment
• Player friendly tees at 5,192 yrds per PGA & USGA “Tee it Forward” initiatives
• The absolute latest irrigation technology installed throughout

          Hopefully Tequesta Country Club will invite Florida Golf Magazine back in the late Fall of 2013 to see the results of all of the hard work performed by golf course designer & builder, Tom Fazio ll.

Tequesta Country Club,
201 Country Club Drive, Tequesta, Florida 33469, Phone: (561) 746-4501

Tom Fazio II Designs,
224 Shelter Lane Jupiter, Florida 33469
phone (561) 745-1019, fax (561) 745-8302, email

Page 24 From Fall 2012 Florida Golf Magazine ©Copyright 2012, All Rights Reserved. Subscribe at
To advertise in Florida Golf Magazine in print and on-line, phone 863-227-2751 and/or email