Expectations high as Tom Fazio’s Driftwood golf course nears completion
There’s a fire still burning in the belly of master golf course architect Tom Fazio, now deep in his 70s, as he continues to produce masterful layouts well into what could be his retirement years.
But ask the man responsible for Barton Creek Resort’s Canyon and Foothills layouts as well as Escondido in Horseshoe Bay why he keeps churning, and he’ll pause for a second and smile before offering an amusing response.
“It keeps me out of the bars,” Fazio joked during a recent media event. “You’ve gotta do your job. You’ve gotta work.”
Clearly, Fazio wasn’t fuzzy while leading the construction of Driftwood Golf and Ranch Club, a new residential golf community less than an hour from downtown that runs along Onion Creek just steps from the original Salt Lick.
The course, which could play as long as 7,662 yards, isn’t finished yet, but the project has adhered to a strict timeline, one that should have community members enjoying the layout this fall.
If the clientele is any indication, this Discovery Land property is preparing for golf royalty as former Texas star Jordan Spieth is said to have purchased a parcel as has eight-time PGA Tour winner Fred Funk. Fazio enlisted the services of John Cook (with 11 Tour wins under his belt) to help on the project and said his real motivation on projects like Driftwood is making sure they not just meet but exceed expectations.
“When you come to a place like Driftwood, you have the Hill Country of Austin, which is known as a great golf destination,” Fazio said. “So we have a new property, a new residential community and then you put Discovery’s brand on it. What is it? What's the expectation before John Cook ever came here? The first time, automatically in his brain, he's expecting the best of the best.”
The 800-acre property features two sides, the Ranch, which focuses on golf, and the Creek, which includes a vineyard and many of the other amenities.
Sound like your cup of tea? Lot prices start around $3 million with homes beginning at $5 million. Salt Lick BBQ not included.
Verne Lundquist, Texas golf HOFers to get their day
Members of the Texas Golf Hall of Fame’s 2020 class will finally get their induction dinner in August, the group recently announced.
The event, originally slated for last October at Houston Country Club, was canceled in the pandemic. It has now been moved to River Crest Country Club in Fort Worth. Among those to be honored are Austin High’s Verne Lundquist, the legendary CBS announcer who started his career at what’s now Fox 7, and famously called Tiger Woods’ dramatic chip-in during the 2005 Masters. Lundquist will receive the hall’s lifetime achievement award.
Others in the 2020 class, which is the hall’s 11th, include seven-time LPGA winner Angela Stanford, 1998 U.S. Amateur champ Hank Kuehne, teaching pros Mike Wright and Dow Finsterwald, Jr., as well as Oak Hills Country Club outside San Antonio.
Really, Scottie? Tacos from a national chain?
With four years of Austin-area tacos under his belt, color us surprised to hear University of Texas product Scottie Scheffler has an affinity for chain burritos.
Scheffler, who has climbed to No. 21 in the Official World Golf Ranking and stands 35th in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, was paired with Bubba Watson during the recent Zurich Classic of New Orleans — and the latter used an interesting motivational technique during the second round at TPC-Louisiana.
After Scheffler, who helped the University of Texas win three Big 12 championships in four years, “heeled” his second shot on the par-5 18th hole during the alternate-shot team format, Watson told him they’d go out for dinner if they could still make birdie.
“He loves Chipotle, and I do, too, so I said, ‘Hey, we're going to Chipotle. If we get this up-and-down, we're going to Chipotle,’” Watson told Scheffler as they walked up the fairway. “But here's the kicker, though. His wife couldn't wait for this tournament because they go out to eat. She's got all the restaurants lined up where they're going, so he hasn't had Chipotle (all) week. And I said, well, we're going to have to break it to her that we got that up-and-down, and I said, on top of it, y'all are buying.”
Watson stuck a chip to eight feet and Scheffler coolly buried the birdie putt. No word on whether Scheffler’s wife Meredith, who graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in communications and business, was asked to join.
Since there was no Juan in a Million nearby, we’ll give Scottie a pass on his selection.
Chips and putts
• Give Lake Travis product Kristen Gillman credit for finding a way to keep her legs fresh while traveling to Singapore for the HSBC Women’s World Championship. During a stop in Los Angeles, Gillman and Lydia Ko went for a seven-mile hike. The move worked for Ko, who finished seventh in the event, but not for Gillman, who shot 74-75-74 through the first three rounds and sat near the bottom of the scoresheet. She rebounded with a 70 in the final round and finished tied for 57th.
• Notice the burnt orange in the new line of clothing from Carl Spackler, err, William Murray Golf? That’s because the Austin-based retailer paired with Tito’s Handmade Vodka to launch the Tito’s X William Murray Golf apparel line. The one common theme is burnt orange, a clear nod to the two brands’ headquarters.
• The University of Texas women’s team is hoping to get to a fifth straight NCAA Championships and that road begins on Monday in the NCAA Louisville Regional. Texas is the No. 4 seed in the regional and is currently ranked 15th in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. Kaitlyn Papp is the top individual in the rankings, coming in at No. 27.
Tim Schmitt is the managing editor for Golfweek, golf coordinator for the USA Today Network, and lives in Round Rock within a driver and subsequent wedge from Dell Diamond.