The 43-year-old son of the famed golf course architect is the emerging new face of Fazio Design and making his way with an attention to detail
Tom Fazio turned 77 today, Feb. 10, 2022, and although he’s not ready to retire just yet, one of golf’s greatest architects may be getting close.
He’s at peace and proud with his enormous portfolio, especially since his eldest son Logan has transformed the family business over the last decade into an international player from Brazil to Barbuda after dad spent a half century carving golfing treasures almost exclusively in the United States.
Despite his enormous talents, Logan Fazio still takes a backseat to his famous father, the architect of close to one quarter of America’s top 200 golf layouts. Logan is OK with that role, especially since he humbly began digging in the mud on projects as an infant with his father just like his dad did as a curious teenager with uncle George Fazio back in the day.
Logan, one or six Fazio children, is laid back, humble, confident and downright hilarious at times describing his role in the firm, proclaiming: “Remember, I’m good at playing second fiddle.”
Logan Fazio recalls the first time he visited the developer of a high-end project in Brazil, and the welcome he received — or didn’t receive.
“My dad said, ‘I’m never going there, no chance,”’ Logan Fazio said of his father’s aversion of traveling outside of the United State for work. “When I get there the developer tells me ‘I hire Picasso and he sends me the guy who cleans the toilets.’ He tells me this right to my face, no kidding. So, I guess I was prepared for it because I turned around said, ‘Well, who do you want to paint this painting?’ I said ‘I love what we’re doing, so let’s buy another bulldozer and get this done.’”
Tom Fazio and wife Sue affectionately call Logan Fazio “the hero child.”
“Because if you want something done that is really, really difficult or you think can’t be done, you call Logan and he has to do it,” Tom Fazio said of his 43-year-old son. “That’s his ego, that’s his thing.”
It was more survival mode than ego that came into play in 2008 when Tom Fazio named Logan Fazio president of Fazio Design. The two can now laugh about the circumstances surrounding Logan’s promotion, but the United States financial crash left even the best in the business scrambling for work at the time.
“When I made Logan president of the company the economy crashed,” Tom Fazio said. “He says to me, ‘Dad, thanks, you made me president and we have no business and we have no jobs.’ I said, ‘Well that’s the way I started. Where did you want to start, at the top?’ Most people would think Logan started on third base because he worked for me with the name. Sure, that’s true but there was no work, there was no business.”
And while many of the game’s top architects began seeking work overseas, mainly in the Pacific Rim, as most of the new golf course construction work in the U.S. dried up, Tom Fazio had turned down dozens of overseas projects in exchange for what he values most — family time.
It was an opportunity for Logan Fazio, in his mind, to earn his stripes as the new company president.
“I am always trying to do something that’s ahead of the curve,” Logan Fazio said. “It always interested me in understanding what’s going on, and just being able to decline work is something that should be treasured, but it shouldn’t be left alone to put you in the dark to where you don’t get to find out what’s going on.”
“The first thing Logan did was start looking at all the projects I had turned down around the world,” added Tom Fazio. “That’s how we got involved with the Olympic Course in Tokyo [Kasumigaseki Country Club's East Course], and our course in Brazil [Santapazienza Golf Club] is maybe as good a golf course as any in the world because Logan went there. Clients wanted a Fazio course and I wouldn’t do it and Logan would say ‘We’re doing it.’ If he wasn’t my son I probably would have fired him. That’s the way it evolved and it was Logan who made it happen.
“Listen, the only negative about our business is all your work is out of town, you have to travel. And travel is for young people. That’s why I did so much of it across the United States when I was younger. Now, I don’t want to do it. It’s difficult on your body. Look at how many great architects have evolved over time doing that, that’s how they get a reputation and get their name out there. For me, I’m not against it, but now Logan has had 20 years of execution and experience, he’s a veteran now.”
Logan Fazio’s vast experience — from starting out doing the grunt work in the field, to in-office renderings (which he calls coloring) to his vision of choosing which projects will carry the esteemed Fazio Design stamp — are matched by few in the business.
“He has an eye. He would make the best caddy that I could ever imagine because he can read contours,” Tom Fazio said of Logan. “He was the kind of kid that when he played sports if you wanted a score — no matter what sport, soccer or basketball — you give the ball to Logan. If you wanted to keep the other team from scoring you would put Logan on their best player. He is determined. His mind is geared that way.”
Who wins the arguments between the elder Fazio and the young protégé over where to place a bunker or tee angles on a par-3?
“Whoever is most passionate, wins. That’s how it works,” Logan Fazio said.
Logan Fazio points to projects such as CostaTerra Golf and Ocean Club in Portugal and the recent renovation of Jupiter Hills Club in the Fazio backyard in Florida as his growth in the competitive business of golf course architecture.
“The scale of the space is what I do best,” Logan Fazio said when asked for his strong suit. “In Portugal, we only get 63 acres of irrigated turf and there is 50 feet of elevation change on any given golf hole. There is plenty of land, but you only play golf on grass. So understanding hazard placements and angles in order to reward good golfers and then making sure there is a saving place for golfers that need that, which are most of us. Looking at a piece of land and saying, a different shape would be better here is key.”
Credit Tom Fazio for teaching his son the ropes, but he’s now proudly watching as Logan Fazio takes the family business to a new level.
“He is so talented. He could give my uncle and myself three a side when it comes to design because he’s into the detail,” Tom Fazio said. “And he’s young and he wants to do it. Young does get the job done. I still think I’ve got it even at my age but eventually the numbers get you and that’s just the way it is.”