SAN DIEGO -- Tom Fazio sure is a crowd pleaser.
There's no reason every golfer who plays The Grand Golf Club won't walk off the course smiling.
You don't have to be Bobby Jones, who has a statue near the first tee, to enjoy the Fazio course winding through the beautiful Los Peñasquitos Canyon on the outskirts of San Diego. There's no tricks or gimmicks to Fazio's simple, yet dynamic routing.
Fazio's fairways are wide, but if you go astray the ball will likely be lost in heavy brush. The challenge comes in hitting elevated greens and avoiding the bunkers that surround them. The 18th hole is by far the most scenic and difficult for most players. A manmade waterfall feeds a stream that crosses in front of the green and collects in a pond on the left side.
A few holes are perched high above the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, where golfers must stay to gain access to the course. All of the Fairmont's plush offerings extend to the golf experience. Target greens on the expansive range are guarded by bunkers to simulate the shot-making on the course. The golf clubhouse houses a posh men's locker room, where you can stock up on snacks after nine holes, and a nice restaurant, where you can wine and dine your foursome afterward.
The Grand's sterling reputation attracts all sorts of celebrities and athletes. Phil Mickelson held the course record for a long time before being surpassed. If you want to see and be seen, you could hang out at worse places than The Grand.