The Sun's Travis Haney spoke with Tom Fazio, renowned course designer who laid out Caves Valley in the early 1990s.
Q: How were you introduced to this property in Baltimore County?
A: It was about 12, maybe 13 years ago the first time I visited this property, before it was named Caves Valley. I was surprised it was so close to downtown Baltimore, pretty much in the Beltway area, so that surprised me because most of the new golf facilities tend to be out in rural areas. That impressed me to start with.
Q: How does it feel to be back now, especially with the playing of the U.S. Senior Open at Caves Valley?
A: I was out there taking a tour and walking the back nine and watching the players, and it was kind of nice to be a part of people's dreams, and actually helping people fulfill their dreams. That's what this was - a dream - to start with 13 years ago. All of a sudden, here it is.
Q: Everyone at the course is talking about how difficult the final four holes are. What do you think of the finishing holes and what went into planning them?
A: Certainly the last four holes do have some strength to them. Interestingly enough, if you look at the last four holes on the front nine, you'll find the same thing. Many of the old courses had the strength built into the finish and Caves Valley just fit in that way. It is really based on the layout and the terrain, topography, site conditions, and it just so happened to fit here that the short holes were short and the long holes were long. And the long holes tended to be at the end of the round, that's kind of how it evolved.
Q: How do you feel about altering a golf course you originally designed because the course and/or tournament officials, like the USGA, want to make changes down the road?
A: I am a believer that there isn't anything that cannot be improved. Things just get better and better. I get criticized a lot by especially the purists of the game who may not want to change. They like to keep it the way it was. But I'm a forward-thinking person, and it's hard for me to look back.