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 »  Home  »  Regional Editorials  »  Northeast  »  An Interview with Brad Faxon
An Interview with Brad Faxon
By Tom Landers | Published  10/18/2007 | Northeast | Unrated
Brad Faxon...Beyond the PGA TOUR
We figured we might be able to catch up with Brad Faxon this fall, given the fact that Rhode Island’s favorite son and eight-time PGA Tour winner was on crutches following foot surgery. Of course, nothing much is going to keep Faxon down, what with his other duties as a husband, father and budding golf course architect to keep him busy while he heals. But we did manage to corral “Fax” for a few minutes before he headed off to Maine to ride heard on he and architect Brad Booth’s latest collaboration, Maine National Golf Club.

GM: So, how did the surgery go?
BF: Good. I had to have a bunion removed and tarsal tunnel surgery on my foot to release pressure on a nerve. I’ve been suffering from numbness in my right foot since I tore my ACL four years ago and we’re trying to figure out why that is. I won’t know anything until after the cast is off.

GM: When do you think you’ll get back to playing?
BF: I’ll try and play in the Merrill Lynch Shootout at the end of the year. But the chances of that happening are small. I’m looking at the beginning of next year.

GM: You and Brad Booth have been making a name for yourselves in the golf course design business. And you were the PGA Tour player consultant/architect on the remodeling of the TPC of Boston. What do you feel you bring to the table as a Tour player.
BF: When I grew up I was lucky enough to have been able to play so many great course in New England, like Wannamoissett, Metacomet, The Country Club, Newport Country Club and Eastward Ho, which I consider one of the top 10 courses I have ever played. And I was a caddy and member at Rhode Island Country Club. I grew to understand there was a difference to a Ross and a Tillinghast course and enjoyed the way courses played and felt.

GM: When did you start considering becoming a course designer.
BF: Really, back in school when I was 15 years old. I would be daydreaming in class and drawing greens and picturing where I could put the pins. When I started playing on Tour I loved trying to figure out what the architect was trying to do on each hole. You know, think like a player and how I would approach it. Plus I love the game. Being outdoors in nature and having an opportunity to play a competitive game while at the same time being able to socialize with the people you are with makes golf special.

GM: Do you have a preference in course styles?
BF: I love courses with history and uniqueness. You take Eastward Ho and you rarely have a flat lie. Even the best ball striker can’t hit all the greens, and I don’t think I have ever had a three- or four-footer on that course that I played inside the cup. Growing up in New England you learn about the value of the short game. I truly believe one of the reasons I became a good player was having to play in all kinds of weather and on tough greens.

GM: Interesting. Rhode Island certainly has produced a number of PGA Tour players, yourself included.
BF: I really think it is because we had to get used to playing in tough conditions, like rain and cold. You look at the greats of the game, like Nicklaus, Palmer and Watson. They came from cold weather states and had to deal with all kinds of weather.

GM: You said on national television during the Deutsche Bank Championship played at the TPC of Boston that you wanted to help bring more of a New England course feel to the layout. What is a New England course in your mind?
BF: For me it’s something old and traditional. A course that was laid out before machinery had such an influence in leveling out the land. I think of chocolate drop mounding, cross bunkers, fescue grass, rock walls and elevated, pushed up greens.

GM: Are you happy the way the TPC of Boston redesign turned out?
BF: Yes. What was missing from the course was that it felt like it could have been anywhere in the country. It looked like a course in Charlotte, N.C. or Cincinnati, Ohio. We wanted to bring back that old time feel. The best critics in the world are PGA Tour players and I didn’t hear one negative comment.

GM: You worked with Gil Hanse on the redesign of TPC of Boston. How was that?
BF: I felt a little funny at first because of my partnership with Brad Booth. But it worked out being a great experience for me. Gil has some wonderful credentials and has a pedigree that makes him one of the new wave architects of the future.

GM: Where have you collaborated with Booth?
BF: Our first course was The Bay Club at Mattapoisett and now we are in the construction phase of Maine National. We are clearing land and we have mapped out the fairways and have some minor shaping work going on. We figure it will be ready in the spring of 2009.

BF: This is am ambitious project with high-end housing involved. It must be exciting.

BF: Yes. Brad is as excited as I have ever seen him. He called me the other day and said he had goose bumps after walking through then property.

GM: Anything else in the works?
BF: Yep. We have an offer to do the redesign of the golf course at the Ragged Mountain resort in New Hampshire and some other pending projects.

GM: Back to playing golf. Any thoughts on the Fed Ex Cup?
BF: I liked it. I think for the first year everybody has to be pleased with how it turned out. The right guy won it. Tiger had a year that was beyond amazing. Some criticize the fact that the $10 million for winning the Fed Ex Cup is paid out in an annuity. But I’m sure Tiger’s accountants are always looking for some deferred income.

GM: What did you like most about the format?
BF: Every week you had the best fields and the top players, except for a few. The Deutsche Bank had 118 of the 120 top players and Barclay’s had 143 out of 144. Only Tiger was missing the first week. Like anything, it will be tweaked next year. But overall it’s a good thing for golf.