Tom Fazio designed the par 72 course named after him at Barton Creek Golf Club in 1999. His outstanding layout, with 6548 meters off the tips and a slope rating of 141/751, has tournament length and difficulty, but offers a fair test for players at any skill level, provided that they make a judicious choice of tees. Each hole is picturesque—some are framed by views of the skyline of nearby Austin—and is separated from the others. The rough lives up to its name here, so be prepared to lose a ball or two. The signature hole is the 457-yard, par 4 15th, a dogleg that plays downhill from a raised tee to a tight fairway and a green protected by a brook. The clubhouse may look like nothing special, but the service and practice facilities are first-rate. The club prides itself on having been named an Audubon International Signature Sanctuary.
No contemporary architect is more highly regarded than Tom Fazio, but it is worth considering whether any of the enormous number of courses being built today will in the future stand beside the iconic layouts of the early to mid 1900s. Fazio's Foothills at Barton Creek Golf Club twenty miles outside the state capital may not stand the test of time in this way, but it is an achievement nonetheless. The site is excellent for golf, with varied topography and vegetation and abundant natural water sources, all of which figure in the strategy at various points along the course. At 6479 meters and with plentiful uphill play, Fazio Foothills can be grueling, particular for those who try to walk it, and players will want to conserve their strength for the long par 5 18th that plays uphill. Fazio's real accomplishment here was to make a dramatic site playable.