In golf course architecture, there aren’t too many names bigger than Tom Fazio. With a resume that includes Shadow Creek, Pinehurst #4 & #8, and Karsten Creek, just to name a few, my expectations for his course at Treetops Resort were sky high. In this review, I’ll let you know whether or not the course lived up to them.
The Premier Course is located at Treetops North, just a short drive from the main resort. There, it shares a large multi-tiered driving range and numerous putting greens with the Tradition, Signature, and Threetops Courses. The real highlight of the practice area is the Putting Course, pictured above. It’s a great way to test your skills before you play or settle those last couple skins.
Amenities & Customer Service
Throughout Treetops, the customer service is excellent. It is always easy to find a resort employee, and they’re helpful without being smothering.
I’ll get into the amenities of the entire resort in an upcoming feature, but the course itself has ample “extras” without taking the focus off the golf. The clubhouse is well stocked with soft goods, and it has a handful of clubs in case you need an emergency replacement or upgrade. It’s also worth mentioning that the staff does an outstanding job keeping the pace of play brisk. I had the first tee time, so I was able to play quickly, but I observed many golfers coming off the course after noon boasting of sub 4-hour rounds.
Just as they were at the Tradition and Masterpiece courses, the conditions at the Premier Course were excellent. The greens were very smooth and ran at a consistent, quick pace. The tee boxes were in good shape, but the fairways were even better. Importantly for a course with a good number of bunkers, all the traps had plenty of sand and played very consistently.
Beauty & Scenery
The Fazio Premier Course has some of the premier land on the Treetops North property. It has loads of great elevation changes and some excellent views. Overall, it’s a very dramatic course: wide fairways, big undulations, large greens…you get the picture. Mr. Fazio has doing just enough to accentuate the beauty of this wonderful piece of land.
Course Design & Difficulty
Though the Treetops Premier course looks big, it plays much smaller. Look at the picture above as an example: the green may be large in square footage, but being on the wrong tier is just as bad as missing the green entirely. The picture at the top of the page tells the story from the tee: though the fairways are wide, missing them is almost as good as going OB. These deceptively small targets really force you to narrow your focus and hit accurate golf shots.
Adding to the difficulty is the constant undulation of the fairways. Before you tee it up, remind yourself that part of golf is accepting the “rub of the green.” Over 18 holes, you’ll get a lot of good bounces from the courses generous curves, but you’ll catch some bad breaks as well. Dealing with tough lies is a major part of the challenge that the Premier Course presents.
The greatest strength of this Fazio design is the variety. While there’s plenty of variety in length (par 4’s range from 281 to 458 from the blue tees), that’s not the whole story. Holes of similar length may play entirely differently due to different elevation changes, angles, and hazards. This is a course that requires not only superior shot making but also high-level decision making and course management.
The top rate for the Premier Course at Treetops is around $115, which is not unusual for a resort course by a big name architect. While I wouldn’t rate this a steal, the quality of the layout makes it a fair value. As with any resort, the best deals can be had with stay and play packages. Treetops also offers heavily discounted replay and twilight rates
Fans of Tom Fazio’s designs will not be disappointed by the Treetops Premier Course. It’s a big, beautiful course that packed with enough physical and mental challenge to test any golfer.
Below, you can check out a video of the course shot with our GoPro camera.