March 15, 2003
PALM BEACH GARDENS, FLORIDA
GARY FERMAN: We are honored to have with us today Tom Fazio, who is the designer of the Sunrise Course here at Mirasol where as you all know, the Honda Classic will begin being played in 2004.
We'll start the press conference today with Tom talking about what it means to him to now finally have a course that will host a PGA TOUR event, and then we'll open it up for questions.
TOM FAZIO: Thank you. It's good to be here today to talk about a new course. It seems like I'm always showing up talking about some new course. It's a little strange, though this week, because we already have a golf event happening on this existing Sunset Course.
I find that I've had a lot of questions this week about what is the new golf course going to be like. And obviously, in the last couple of days, because of so many low scores being shot and birdies being shot, I get asked the standard question: "Well, are you going to get even next year?"
And I've never looked at it that way in terms of, as a designer, I think there's a little bit of ego involved, maybe from an owner's perspective, an architect's perspective, and maybe even a member's perspective, about having somebody come and play your course. You want them to be either tested or sometimes even struggle, the way we may even struggle. As you can see watching these players out here, I'm not sure you could ever make a golf course too difficult for these players.
I think it will be very interesting. I don't know if you've had a chance, but I would think -- I would say that one of the most distinctive things about the new golf course, the Sunrise Course, which is not shown on paper and we haven't talked about it that much, the major difference of the two golf courses will be the actual greens surfaces. The Sunrise Course has a bit more contour and elevations on the greens. I wouldn't necessarily call them decks, but there are rolls and contours and pin placement positions that for good players; there's going to be a lot of accuracy required to get to specific pins.
I noticed that yesterday going around following some of the players and watching some of the approach shots that hit the greens, where even if they missed the green on the Sunset Course, in a few places, for that level of play or for tournament level of player, it was a very easy shot to get up-and-down. Obviously, the design of the golf course is for member play. It's for the majority that the golf course was set up that way.
I think that overall, we'll see a very different type of golf course, and probably even see what I would call some controversy from the players standpoint. As much as they may say they like the challenge of a hard golf course or stronger test, they sure do like making a lot of birdies; they like that. I think some of them when they come to the new course will say, gosh, I wish we were playing that other course the other side of the property. That's just life.
It's interesting, and I haven't seen it written anywhere yet, but I've heard the talk from players and obviously the reporters writing what they say of how short the golf course is. And the numbers that I'm looking at, it's 7,150, looking at the score card and I have not added up exactly what they are playing at. Mike told me this morning that today's tee on 16 has moved up to shorter yardage from the back tee because that's the way they want to set it up.
So I don't know what the overall yardage is, but from what I've read, the players are playing somewhere around 7,150. Well, it wasn't too long ago that that was an extremely long golf course, especially at sea level. But as we know, based on the way the players are playing, 7,150 isn't very long in total yardage.
You can see from the hole-by-hole descriptions that we put together on the golf course and the details of the score card, we're at about 7,450, and the surface sounds very, very long, only compared to obviously 7,000-yard golf courses. But go out on that practice tee and watch the players hit the golf ball, as we all know, I really don't think the 7,450 will play as a long golf course. And with it being a par 72 and looking at the par 5s, certainly this week, I would guess that -- I know the wind has changed a couple of times when we had some storms in the afternoon and usually in South Florida in March, wind is a major factor. I think wind has not been much of a factor in the first two days of tournament here. I think a couple of hours when the storm came up on Thursday, it impacted some of the players and I think. I read where Langer said that he was fortunate to get in when he got in, and had he gotten in an hour earlier he may even have had a better chance because the wind came up.
So I think that's the luck of the draw of how the golf course will beget. I'm certainly looking forward to how the players will play and how the new golf course -- it certainly will be an interesting comparison. There will be a lot of talk, a lot of discussion, just the fact that one golf course was played one year on the same property and we have a new golf course to be played. So I'm kind of looking forward to that.
GARY FERMAN: We'll open it up to questions.
Q. How did it come about that the 18th hole at the Sunset Course is incorporated to your course for the tournament?
TOM FAZIO: Well, I think if you look at the spaces of the sky boxes, you look at the width of the golf hole, in piecing the entire development of golf and real estate and designing with all of the environmental rulings, restrictions, conditions, constraints, if you look at where the first tee of the Sunrise Course and the first see of the Sunset Course and you move to the west with the 18th green of Sunrise and then 18th of Sunset and the clubhouse and the putting greens and the practice tee and you see all of these environmental pieces of natural land, there were just limited spaces of where things could fit; and the piece of land that it had the maximum amount of space was more to the west side, was the land closest to the practice range.
So if you walk out there and look at the width of the Sunrise Golf Course piece of land where the 18th green is and where the fairway is, it's much more narrow in terms of width than the Sunset Course.
So the availability of gallery and spectators and movement and sky boxes and all of the things that make a tournament special and work very well, it's just logical that's set up that way.
Q. You've obviously been involved with the TOUR through Augusta National and knowing how much farther guys are hitting it. Did you design this course even longer than you would have a couple of years ago, knowing that guys are continually hitting it longer and longer and longer?
TOM FAZIO: Yes, while we were in the process of design, it was right in that time period -- and I can't remember exactly what phase of it, but when we were in the design phase and when the decision was made that there was going to be a Honda tournament here. Mike and Greg came to me and said: "It looks like we are going to have this golf tournament and we need to look at how are we going to set up the golf course for the tournament. What would we be doing differently?"
Now, in the process of the permitting for the whole development and where the golf holes could go and where housing and all of the environmental constraints of the site, they obviously could not just go back in and change everything. That would not have been logical. So we went in to see where we could adjust the golf course, because the total design program from day one was always for a first-class, high-end, high-quality golf course. So the fact that we knew the Tour players were going to be here, then we just looked at spaces.
It's a little bit like, as you mentioned, Augusta National. You look at what was done and not just in terms of moving a few bunkers, but 400 and what used to be long, hard golf holes at 425- or 440-yard holes for today's players are very short approach shots. Many of them can be lay-ups and short iron shots. So you really need to be looking at numbers in the 480s to 490s to play as reasonably strong par 4s.
At the surface of that, people get so nervous and think 490-yard par 4s, both tournament players and the rest of us, we don't want to play 490-yard par 4s. But we're also not driving the ball 300 yards in the air.
The most that we had to do, in the majority of cases of what we did is we added new tee areas and we looked at the detailing of bunkers and the widths of the fairways and where the landing areas would be for today's length players.
Obviously, you look at the leaderboard here and you look at what some players, like Justin Leonard, maybe being the shortest hitter of the group that's in the Top-20 somewhere in that location, but Justin is still averaging 275.
I watched Billy Andrade yesterday on 18 and he hit it, I measured it off at 314, and Billy is considered a medium-length hitter, certainly not long. Obviously, he hit it downwind.
When you start looking at distances in the 280-yard range to 310 that's what we look at now for TOUR level drivers and where they hit the golf ball. It's simple mathematics. You take the average number 280 to 310, and go to the 300 average, obviously plus or minus depending on the player, subtract that from the total number of the golf course. I'm not playing to oversimplify my job and my business, but it's really that simple: 300 minus 470 or 480, it's 170 or 180; and today's players are hit that 6-, 7-, 8-irons 180 yards.
Sometimes it depends on the wind, of course, but sometimes even at 490 yards they are hitting 8-irons and 9-irons. So we looked at that in detail and specific settings where we could and I think the golf course for today's players, I think that they are so good, those ads, "These Guys Are Good," it's true; they are good. Unless you make it very, very narrow, that is the biggest factor that could control the strength of a golf course for today's players.
Q. What are the characteristics of this course that are unique or might be unique to other Tom Fazio courses?
TOM FAZIO: I would say that every golf course we do, we try to create a distinctive style of golf course.
Now, fortunately, this great county that we live in here, or that I live in part of the time, the wintertime, with having 160-some golf courses, I've been very fortunate over almost 30 years now to have done a lot of golf courses. In fact, probably within walking distance, I've done maybe seven or eight golf courses within this general location.
So my goal is always to create distinctive, special golf courses. The Sunrise Golf Course, the environment would generally be the same: Fairly flat terrain that we've moved enough earth to create some rolling topography and with the different types of landscaping and vegetation, and how we call it, set up the dirt, is how we refer to setting up a golf hole and how -- what we do is we have -- matter of fact, this flat plane of this floor, I'm at the tee, and the door is the green and what are you going to do with this land. We go in, dig a hole in the ground, which becomes a lake so we can get dirt. And we play with the dirt in terms of where would we position it and we give the player options and drama and excitement and also challenge and create this distinctive golf hole.
So on the Sunrise Course what we did is create what we feel is 118 different types of golf holes in terms of visual looks and also angles to greens, positions for tee shots, placement of bunkers and also for the shots into the greens that will have a very distinctive different look.
I've done three golf courses across the street over here at PGA National. Each one of those are very different. There's 54 different holes, and here is another 18 holes, so there's no really two holes that we ever do the same. They may be the same length because they are par 3s or par 5s, but in terms of where that dirt is placed, where those contours and elevations are, where the ball hits, where the ball rolls to, how the green is set up and where it's angled, position of the bunkers, contours of the greens, roll-offs.
And as I mentioned earlier on the Sunrise Course, there's going to be not necessarily the rejection golf off the green. Some people, someone is going to hit a shot and the pin will be a front left pin placement with a slight fall-off and they hit it right-to-left; and if the wind comes out of the right and hits on the edge of the green it's going to hit and bounce and roll off the green and go left. Generally on a new golf course, that's usually not highly received because it's new.
But if it's an old Donald Ross golf course or Pinehurst No. 2 or Seminole where they have those kind of greens, it's okay because it's old. But when it's new it becomes somewhat controversial.
I think the players are going to see that. I think next year -- and of course they will have, I'm not sure what our opening day is going to be. But we'll probably be playing golf out there sometime this fall -- November 1 we will be open. So players, especially the ones that live in this area, tournament players, will be able to come and see the golf course and get a sneak preview. But they will see that there's going to be more of that kind of exact yardage and today's players play by exact yardage. When they are hitting the golf shot, they want to know if it's 93 yards or 97 yards. There's a big difference between that for that level of player. For the majority of us, you get on the green, we're three or four yards farther from where we thought we wanted, but for today's players that's the difference between making the cut or not and between winning and finishing in the Top 20.
That's going to be the major difference for the Sunrise Golf Course. If you walk out there, the 18th green that sits next to obviously the 18th green on the Sunset Course, you'll see it has a lot of movement and contour. That's somewhat typical, so you don't have to walk all the way out and see if is it, but you'll see the options and pin placements and the different setup for each golf hole gives us the ability to create some strength until the approach shots.
Q. If you could pick a winning score as a designer, what do you think would be an appropriate winning score for a Tour event?
TOM FAZIO: Appropriate? I would say under par, somewhere. I think ideally, if I had my own golf event and it was played on my personal golf course, I think somewhere in the single-digit red numbers is what you think would be logical.
Because if you look at how to get to that score -- now the USGA, their goal and their focus has always been par has been what they like to create a set up for par. They have been very successful at that for a long time doing that. They obviously get a lot of heat from the players because of that. And how do they do it? They obviously do it in width. Now, they also have lengthened many golf courses, almost every Open course.
From the players standpoint, now obviously I'm not against the players, many of them are close friends, but when the tournament starts, it's kind of like I'm outside the ropes. I'm like not -- I'm kind of like the press. I'm not them. You guys are over here and they are sitting here. You probably get that same feeling. You're there, they are here. I got the same feeling. They are here and I'm over there.
We are not trying to embarrass the players. What we are trying to do is create the best challenge that we can without going over board and sometimes there's a fine line. Sometimes we miss it. Sometimes we do go to extreme.
It's interesting because the most -- the strangest part about golf for me, this is about my 36th year, and I've read so much from what's been written about from other architects, from other players, from other people in the press that write books on golf. What I have found so strange, bizarre, is there is nothing normal and consistent, something that you can really put your finger on and say this is golf. Even the rules, the Rules of Golf, you look at the rulings that have been issued in golf and looked at how it's played and obviously the rules, there's big books on those rules.
On the golf design side, we basically don't have any rules. We have some rules relative to certain things you shouldn't do, but if you go and look and you critique and if you're an historian in golf design, and how many people here have gone to Scotland or Ireland and have gone to places like Dornoch and you hear so many people come back and say Dornoch is the best place in the world and it's great because it's Donald Ross's home where he grew up, it's the best. If we were to put a golf course on the land out here exactly like Dornoch, American golfers wouldn't play it, just wouldn't play it. Just wouldn't work here. But we go there and we love it.
And we can go to a place like Prestwick which is one of the great, old, neat strange golf courses and hit to poles and markers and blind places, like St. Andrews with all of the blind shots. And yet, if we had one golf hole like that out here on a tournament level course, it would be all over the newspapers every day of how much the players wouldn't like it.
Again, my point being, that as a golf designer and after 30-plus years of listening to everybody's opinion, there's very few things -- I heard someone say the other day, "this golf course is too short." Someone said that somewhere in the press. Well, it's 7,150. That's not a short golf course. Certainly for some of the players -- of course, I don't think that 7,450 is too long. It's a question of, again, individual holes.
Pete Dye had a seminar we gave at Orlando a few weeks ago and talked about -- obviously, Pete has been very much on the golf ball and thinks the golf ball should be brought back. I personally, I'm not for that. I don't know anything that goes backwards. If you look at golf in the last 100 years and you look at the scores from the U.S. Opens and you look at when the ball changed, all we've done is go forward. Why shouldn't the scores be lower.
Look at the scores the girls are shooting on the LPGA. Granted, they are playing a short golf course this week, but someone shot 61 and someone shot 60 just this past week. You look at the scores that the Senior Tour players are shooting, and the golf courses that they are playing are substantially longer than they played 20 years ago when the is seen your tour started.
So everyone will say the equipment and golf ball. You I think it's been exciting for golf. I think the public loves it. I think the public coming out here today and watching those players on that practice tee and hitting those golf balls 280, 300 yards in the air, I think it's great for golf.
The problem becomes and I don't have the answer to it, how do we handle the old golf courses. How do we balance this technology of today's players and how does it fit into the old style golf courses? That's a big question. I don't have the answer to that.
Q. How do you think the Tour players are going to categorize, which they tend to do, golf courses; Heron Bay was a big hitter's course, they categorize the Sunset Course as too short, but yet a shot-makers course, because they can't hit driver and they all end up hitting their second shots from the same place. How will the Sunrise Course in your mind be received by these guys?
TOM FAZIO: I think the first comment will be: It's a second-shot golf course. I think it will be considered the premium of play out there is going to be in the second shots that the greens.
I would refer it somewhat similar to Pinehurst No. 2. I don't know how many of you have been to Pinehurst, but if you stand on those golf tees, you look at those golf holes and gosh, that looks like an easy golf hole, you stand there there's a bunker here, a bunker there, some trees way out of play and you tee it up, and gosh, it looks easy. You get to the first hole, just made a bogey. You get to the next hole, thought you hit a good shot to the green, hit on the green and rolled off to the edge and you have to chip back, again based on the placement.
I was really surprised at Pinehurst in the Open -- and I any the next U.S. Open is three years from now at Pinehurst. It was very unusual. They had rain the year that Payne won his last tournament. And Tiger was right there and Mickelson finished second; it was a great tournament. But it had rain and it was soft and cool in Pinehurst in June. To me, the golf course really didn't -- wasn't able to really show off what it's all about because it's a great second-shot golf course. It's pin placements and it's angles to get to those spots; that's really the classic part of that golf course.
I think the Sunrise Golf Course, that will be the issue, too. Because today's players, you're playing any hole downwind, it doesn't matter how long it is, it could be -- well, look at 600-yard par 5 that is we know, they are reachable in two shots, especially if it's downwind, by today's players.
So the length is not the issue. And certainly width important, but for me width is very important for members and the average players. We need width. We need a lot of width to have a good, long-term quality golf course. And Mirasol is about long-term; it's not just the short-term for this golf event. So what we were able to do is balance how we were going to set up this golf course for long-term, for the members and the long-term play. But then, how do we fit the Tour level players in. It's a very fine line.
If you watched yesterday, if you watched second shots on the 18th hole, I counted, at least out of 20 players, 15 players that were just on the short and to the right of the pin, just on the little roll-off and kind of the chipping area. I did not see one person actually chip the ball and bounce or run it. Every player that I saw hit a sand wedge. And granted, greens were a little soft, as well, but they hit it and they were able to spin it, one bounce, boom, stop the ball. So that is a very easy shot.
That particular green right there is perfect for member play and for what it was designed for, what the overall purpose of that golf course. On the new golf course, the Sunrise Course, that same kind of green will be there. It will have a roll-off but the roll-off will be steeper and there's a steeper contour going down lower. So there's a higher elevation and the pin will be able to be put a little bit closer to the edge.
If you maybe listened to a couple of televised events early this winter, and I don't know whether it was Johnny Miller, but the announcers were talking about how surprised, how close to the edges the pins were set up on the golf course. We are starting to see this because the players are playing so well that in order to set up the golf course to give today's TOUR players a real challenge, you need to put those pins in strong places. And the strong places are against bunkers, against the edges, against areas so you really give them a challenge. Because if you have a flat surface and there's not much movement around the pin or away from the pin, and again, as accurate as today's players are and as much information as they have on distance and yardage and how hard they work at their game and they know they are hitting 147, they know just what they are hitting; and if they hit 149, it's either a different club or a different swing or it's a different mental approach, and that is a big deal.
So that's going to be the difference with the new golf course.
Q. You said you did not have the answer to what you could do with older golf courses, but haven't you been asked that question already at Augusta National?
TOM FAZIO: Again, Augusta National's case what we are providing is length and adjustment of the bunkers, as well as trying to keep the course.
Nick Price, one of my good friends who I just did a golf course with in Hobe Sound, Nick and I sat down at night and had some major discussions about this. Nick, at his age and the great player that he is, doesn't believe that golf courses should be lengthened. He doesn't even agree with the Augusta National approach of lengthening the golf course. He thinks the golf courses should be made more narrow, put in more bunkers and make it a shot-maker's course. He's right. I don't disagree with that.
But everybody has a different opinion. It doesn't mean because the club is doing what they are doing, that they are not right either. They are also right because in their case what they are trying to do. And as most of you who may have been there noticed when you went out there it was even hard to tell that anything changed, because there's only six fairway bunkers that come in play on that golf course. That was the original intent of the design. That's the way it was set up . Actually, the bunkers at 18 were added for Jack Nicklaus because of his length in the 60s, but there are only a few bunkers put in place on that golf course because Bob Jones didn't want fairway bunkers; that was not his belief. His belief was he wanted a wide area to drive the ball and didn't believe in many fairway bunkers.
So in trying to hold that as design criteria and something that was kind of special for that golf course, we could have gone in there and added bunkers all over. What you are going to see this there this year, you'll see we moved the bunkers on the 5th hole. We did not do that two years ago because we didn't have time. We did so much work and there was so much going on and the idea was when it opened for member play, you looked at this golf course that did not look any different. We moved the bunkers on 5 and they are moved 50 yards down the fairway. What was the 5th hole intended to be? A strong dogleg right par 4 -- dogleg left par 4. And if you hit it left and hit it in the bunkers, you could not get it to the green and you had a very difficult shot.
Well, because of technology the bunker is no longer in play for tour level players. For the majority of us, we go up there in the wintertime and you play golf, those bunkers were in play, but they are gone and they are not there anymore. They are 50 yards down the fairway and it's 318-yard carry over the bunkers. That's what you need for tournament play. You stand on the tee and you are not even sure that anything changed because our intent was to keep the look of the golf hole the same as it always was.
So that's the theory that was used there. Nick's theory would not be wrong by going in and putting in bunkers on the right, the left and maybe even forcing a lay-up shot. That would be his theory, but that would be a different kind of golf course. It would be a total change. Again, everybody has a different opinion.
I think it was interesting at Riviera this year watching how the golf course played. One of the things that made that very different and made that strong was the grass, the kikuyu grass that was in the edges, even a short par 5 like 17 and players hit it to the right of the green when the pin was tucked right, it was hard to get it close to the pin, because if you carried it on the green the ball rolled too far. If it carried short and landed in that tough grass, the ball stopped. If we had that grass on our new Sunrise Golf Course here, generally speaking, besides the members would not like it, chances are TOUR players would not like it. But because it's old and they are used to it, it's kind of somewhat accepted.
Q. If length is not necessarily the issue on this course, what is it's primary defense?
TOM FAZIO: Again, length is some. 7,450 is not overly long but it's not short. It's roughly 300 yards longer than the Sunset Course. It will be second shots, being able to get the ball close to the hole on approach shots because of the shapes, forms, angles to the greens.
Q. The Honda Classic courses they have been so scrutinized by TOUR players. Heron Bay got criticism for being boring. Eagle Trace was criticized as a target course. Did you feel any more pressure designing a course knowing TOUR players are going to be scrutinizing it?
TOM FAZIO: I probably would not be honest if I said I did not think about it, I did. But I've been so used to doing it over the years and being involved with many U.S. Open courses and PGAs and other tour events. So, I'm kind of used to it.
But it does add a little bit of extra thinking. I guess you could call it pressure. I'm not even sure it's pressure. It's kind of like a responsibility. It's kind of like, gosh, I really want them to like it. I really want them to -- because this is my life, this is golf, this is what I live for. It's fun to be doing this. It's exciting. And the best players in the world are coming. They are going to come and tee it up on this brand new golf course.
It's going to be very interesting to test them, but you have to be -- there's a fine line because if you go out and you just look at -- look at the whole master plan for Mirasol, what it's about, it's a residential communities for people moving here to this great climate and this great area, and they are going to be enjoying this these two golf courses for a long time. That means to me we are going to have -- one of my good friends who lives here who is a member who is a 3. And obviously a 3, compared to Billy Andrade who is probably a plus 6 on a golf course like this, it's a big difference. I have to listen to the 3 all the time about every shot he hits. He hits a shot and I've got to listen to him: "Tom, why is that front left pin placement on the third hole, I'm playing it 200 yards and I can't get it close enough." So you get used to that. That's life. That's part of the deal.
Q. Hypothetical question. How many times do you think guys will hit driver on your course next year? Four or five is about the max here for most guys?
TOM FAZIO: I would say that driver would be used -- out of the 14 holes, my guess would be they will hit driver on nine of those. I think there's five -- I think some of them will hit driver on every hole, all 14, but there are some players, and maybe even the longer players who don't need it.
See the thing is, if you look at the score card, there's an outline of our projected tournament length when you look at the first hole, 385; 10 at 370 and you look at though kind of holes that everyone likes to play, you like to have those. And if you don't have it on the score card, well, you don't feel like you've covered all of the options.
But a 385, today's TOUR player, he's hitting a 3-wood 285. Well, if he hit the 3-wood, still only have 100 yards left. There's no reason to hit a driver at all. Unless you tempt them with a big enough space that they can drive it and drive it down in front of the green, and then you become a boring golf hole. You get something that's not attractive.
Q. With the way the course has played this week with no wind and the conditions are easy, how do you think your course would have played this year? You see guys are 14-under after two rounds.
TOM FAZIO: I would say from what I saw the last two days, I think on the new course, I would say they would be 9-under. That's a guess. We should be talking this at 5:00 cocktail talk because that's all it is. I would guess it would be somewhere -- not substantially different, although six shots in a difference.
Maybe the cut -- again, the cut maybe instead of 6-under. It would be maybe even par. I think an even par score would be a good target in terms of the cut.
Again, having said that, having you force me to say that, I'm really going to be looking forward to watching that next year.
Q. Are there any holes you are expecting to be particularly troublesome?
TOM FAZIO: I think the holes, the par 3s will be about as difficult because we have length on our par 3s. One of the ways -- the only way you get -- and this is a good exercise for you guys to do some day when you're on an airplane and you have time.
Take a pencil and a piece of paper write down 18 numbers and try to get them to come up to 7,300 or 7,400 yards and with that, try to put in a couple of par 4s under 400 yards and then try to put in a couple of par 3s, four different kind of par 3s. If we sat here and we were going to create our own new golf course and we were going to have input from everybody and design a new course and everybody had an idea. Well, let's have a par 3 that's a short par 3 like 17 at TPC that's a 9-iron shot; and what's a 9-iron shot, 140 to 160 yards for today's players.
So if you had one of those kind of holes and you had a medium-length hole at lease than 200, two par 3s over 200 yards. When you start adding up those numbers, you'll be shocked at how the numbers that you like for a golf course, you would be shocked at how short that total golf course is.
In order to get to 7,300 or 7,400, you need a 60-yard hole. You need a lot of 480s, 470s if you are going to have that kind of variety. Again that just begets the variety of length.
I don't think that any par 5 -- I think the only way you could make par 5s very extremely challenging for today's level of player is you have to have par 5s that have the hazard features, where obviously guys are going to force their stroke; creeks or lakes or some kind of feature that you are going to force a player to go at and are going to be able to lose the golf ball.
Now, that's a hard balance to do when you are trying to design a golf course for member play, as well. And it's not necessarily -- we are not just looking at only TOUR players.
So the balance there of how do we do that, there will be some angles of greens, some pin placements, but I don't see -- I don't think you can make a par 5 hard enough for today's level of players because where they hit it and the positions. If you force them in these positions and you force them into narrow spaces with a tee shot and their approach to the greens, obviously, they are going to be able to put that ball in a position to the approach shot, even if they are not reaching in two shots, where they have that anywhere from 100 yards to 120-yard shot where they are able to spin the ball and stop the ball to be -- and again we are talking about bermudagrass greens as well, too, and softness and then you get rain conditions.
I think it's unrealistic. I think in the area -- look at Doral. That was a perfect example last week when you look at the old Blue Monster, the difficult golf course and you look at the scores shot there. That's golf today. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I don't think there's anything out of line with those kind of scores. Even today, this week's scores here, that is very logical. And then you look at it and say how do some of those players who missed the cut, the names of some of these people, they are great players, awesome players, how did they shoot 74, 75. It's amazing how that happens. Maybe it's mental. Maybe it's only mental.
Q. How many courses have you built worldwide and how many are in the works?
TOM FAZIO: I honestly don't know the total number. It would be somewhere close to 200, 175 to 200. I purposely don't count them or want to know because it makes me feel old. I've been around doing this a long time.
We usually have anywhere from six to eight golf courses under construction. We always have 15 to 30 golf courses in some stage of design where they hopefully will get started the next year and usually because of permits or approvals or other kind of things.
At Pebble Beach, for example, I've been working at Pebble Beach, I'm on my fourth owner, third location for a golf course, 14th year and we have not build a thing and that's one of those 20 or 30 golf courses that's in the design stage. But that's kind of the nature of how the industry works. So it takes a while for many of these things to happen.
Q. Whether they walk off the course after the first day or after the first four days next year, the players, what do you hope they might say about your golf course?
TOM FAZIO: I would hope that they would say: "I've really enjoyed this round, it was a fun course to play, challenging. I like playing it. It's the kind of tournament course I'm going to come back and play."
I would hope that they would not feel that it was tricked up and/or be overly strong in placements. I think that's the fine line because we do have -- we have some strong greens out there. That's the design element that's been created into that golf course. We have pin placement areas and we have -- you're going to have to work at getting close to the pins, and there's the fine line there. We'll have some players that if they don't play well, if they are spinning the ball too much, they are going to think that maybe some of them are too severe. But that's the nature of the game.
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