Modernization draws accolades, makes a great course even better
AUSTIN, Texas – Even the most beautiful diamond needs a good cleaning and maintenance now and then to bring out its shine and accentuate all its many facets.
That was the original thought when the golf operations staff for Omni Hotels and Resorts decided to redo the bunkers at the Fazio Canyons course at the peerless Omni Barton Creek resort in the heart of the Texas Hill Country.
But once the renovation began to be plotted out, it was determined that the Fazio Course, which was fashioned by Tom Fazio and opened in 1999, needed more work than originally thought. Fazio Canyons has enjoyed a long stint among the best tracks in the Lone Star State, and It “deserved” more than was just a facelift.
And so the principals went to work.
The $5 million renovation eventually intensified into a full-scale project, with added length for the big hitter, some shorter tees for those not so long off the tee, redefined corridors, and modernized irrigation.
“We are very excited about the work completed at Fazio Canyons,” Fazio said. “The evolution of the golf course will maximize playability and playing conditions while the additional length will allow for golf at all levels of play.”
Each step was completed with the oversight of the Fazio Design Group, the Omni golf staff and with input from John Fields, the golf coach for the University of Texas, the defending national collegiate champions.
The new layout is now more that 400 yards longer than before with its added back tees and is carded at some 7,400 yards from the tips.
Fazio Canyons is renowned for picturesque views of the surrounding native landscape with and routing lined by Red Oaks and Sycamore trees and punctuates by limestone cliff sides as the course meanders along the Short Spring Branch, the creek that snakes through the course.
“The scale of this renovation was not what we originally intended when we began,” said Tony Miller, Omni Barton Creek’s director of agronomy. “But once we got into it, we found that we needed to do what we ended up doing. Collectively, we made changes to everything. We are very excited about the changes that were made.”
“The renovation added to the overall playability of the course, with some bunkers removed, others added and other placed in areas where they are pertinent to the modern game. All of them got new liners and better drainage.
Attention was increased throughout to the aesthetics, with underbrush cleared and about 20 acres of the edges of the course seeded with wildflowers.
“The Fazio Canyons renovation is the most recent work completed to ensure Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa remains one of the top golf destinations in the country,” said Spencer Cody, Corporate Director and Club and Golf Operations.
“The modernization and reimagination of this Tom Fazio gem will allow for the same stellar playing conditions members and resort guests have come to expect across the Omni golf portfolio and will position the facility to host any caliber of event.”
Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa boasts a lineup of four, top-ranked golf courses, making it the premier golf destination in the state. The robust roster of golf offerings includes Fazio Foothills, Coore Crenshaw Cliffside and the Palmer Lakeside course.
Most recently, Fazio Canyons was ranked by Golfweek Magazine as the second best course you can play in the state (Fazio Foothills ranked No. 7, Coore Crenshaw Cliffside ranked No. 11). The course also consistently ranks among Golf Digest’s Best Golf Courses in Texas.
“The renovation at Fazio Canyons will allow for additional flexibility of the golf course to stand up to today’s best players,” said Scott Abernathy, Omni Corporate Director of Agronomy. “The new state-of-the-art irrigation system gives us more control and the ability to ensure optimal course conditions throughout the year.”
Fazio Canyons is the second, and newest, Fazio-designed course at Omni Barton Creek, Set about a mile from the main resort, it boasts its own pro shop and practice areas.
After beginning your round with some momentum, Fazio Canyons then takes a toll, especially on its final four holes. The par-5 finisher runs downhill and plays across the creek on the approach to the green.
Other spectacular holes at the par-72 Fazio Canyons are the dogleg-left par-5 fifth; the uphill par-4 ninth, which usually plays into the wind and ends at a huge putting surface; the right-bending par-4 10th, where your approach is played over a creek in front of the green; and the sporty par-4 13th, which, at less than 380 yards, has teeth aplenty with two huge fairway bunkers left and a cliff wall on the right that borders an immense green that measures 54 yards from front to back.
The Canyons course renovation is the latest installment of a full-resort renovation project including new hotel rooms, renovated convention and meeting space, re-designed spa and eight casual and upscale dining options throughout the world-class resort.
For years, the Barton Creek neighborhood has been where Texans and Austin’s well-heeled have come to call home and play, as the 4,000-acre envelope that surrounds Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa boasts some of the region’s most breathtaking views.
Omni Barton Creek is just a 30-minute ride from the Austin airport and about that far from the city’s famed Sixth Street and Warehouse districts. Go west instead of east and you’ll find yourself at one of the lakes that surround Austin, where boating, waterskiing and sailing can be found.
In addition to the Fazio Canyons course renovation, the Canyons driving range has incorporated the latest Toptracer Range technology to Barton Creek Country Club members and resort guests for the optimal learning experience. The Toptracer Range technology gives golfers invaluable data on ball flight, swing speed and launch angles to elevate their game through state-of-the-art technology.
The driving range is also home to the award-winning Barton Creek Golf Academy and Barton Creek Fitting Studio, making it one of the nation’s top destinations for game improvement capabilities.