Tom Fazio compares designing a golf course to creating a piece of art. In his assessment: “Golf courses should reflect the natural beauty of their environments.”
Fazio should know. He has created more than 120 golf masterpieces, including The Summit Club in the luxury residential community just south of The Ridges in Summerlin, near Tropicana Avenue and Town Center Drive. The private club sits in the 555-acre suburb developed by Discovery Land and The Howard Hughes Corp.
Fazio is familiar with designing golf courses across the country, including Las Vegas, boasting mystique and exclusivity. He was the designer of the famed Shadow Creek Golf Course built by Steve Wynn in 1989, expressly for his invited guests and high rollers staying at Mirage Resorts hotels, such as The Mirage and Treasure Island, and later, Bellagio.
In 2005, Fazio also headed up the redesign of the Wynn Golf Club on the Strip after Wynn purchased the Desert Inn and recruited Fazio to renovate its fabled country club. The Primm Valley Golf Club is his design, too.
The Summit Club, set to open by summer, is to be entirely private. It is not open for nonresidents or for the booking of outside events. The course is the latest project from Fazio Design, which has expanded into the Bahamas and Mexico with a total of 19 resort communities.
In October, Fazio told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that a golf course is like a “living, breathing organism.” The Summit is effectively cut into the desert landscape, a bona fide championship course with length (a 614-yard, par-5 sixth hole) and four ticklish par 3s. The first seven holes feel as if you are playing in a canyon. A tunnel leads to No. 8 where the course feels as if it is tucked in a valley, despite an elevation of up to 3,100 feet.
What else to know about The Summit Club and Fazio:
• Construction on the homes is expected this summer. According to an April story in the Review-Journal, more than 80 lots have been sold at The Summit, at an average price of $3 million. Lots with views of the Strip can go for $5 million to $10 million, and the priciest lots with views of both the Strip and Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area go for upward of $10 million.
• Most of those who have invested in lots — about 85 percent — are already Las Vegas residents.
• When completed, The Summit project will incorporate 253 homes, with 146 homesites offering views of the Strip, The Summit golf course, Red Rock Canyon or the Spring Mountains. Custom homesites range from 1/2 to 3 1/2 acres.
• The Summit offers a limited collection of 32 Clubhouse Suites. These are outfitted with a private entry lobby; valet attendants; and terraces with barbecues, outdoor tubs and fireplaces. Eight unit types are available ranging from 1,215 to 3,660 square feet with between one and four bedrooms. Ten have been reserved at a price of $2.5 million to $10 million.
• Construction on the clubhouse, which costs $90 million and sits at 3,100 feet — the highest elevation on the property, starts later this year and will take a little less than two years to complete.
• A lawn is to be spread across the roof of the clubhouse, which will provide a view of the Strip. The facility includes a 50-seat private dining room.
• The clubhouse will offer a Kids Club with basketball courts, a bowling alley and movie theater. The Teen Center will feature karaoke, a dance floor and video-game arcade. An Outfitters Center provides access to wakeboarding on Lake Mead, hiking at Red Rock Canyon and skiing at Lee Canyon on Mount Charleston.
• The Member Lifestyle boutique is filled with designer fashions, workout gear, jewelry, shoes and children’s clothing.
• Fazio has earned more credits on Golf Digest’s list of “America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses” and Golfweek’s collection of “America’s Best.” Golf Digest actually ended its annual “Best Modern Day Golf Course Architect” recognition after Fazio won the award three years in a row.
• The design concept from Fazio is to develop courses for golfers of all levels. As the Fazio Design website states, the company is focused on “developing courses that offer golfers of varying skill a challenging yet enjoyable experience, and providing each client with optimum use of the property.” He has said he wants a course that can be enjoyed by everyone — from top PGA star Rory McIlroy, to any “Rory Smiths” who play The Summit.
• The course is open year-round, but closed between 30 and 40 days annually for maintenance and overseeding.
• Many of Fazio’s staff of design associates has worked with him from 30 to 40 years or longer.
• Fazio began working in the firm owned by his uncle George Fazio in the 1960s, a company based in Philadelphia. He and his wife, Sue, have six grown children and 15 grandchildren. For years, Fazio resisted overtures to expand his empire overseas, saying, “The answer was always ‘no’ because I had six kids at home.” It wasn’t until his children grew up and moved out that Fazio did the same.