- Top 100
- Nick Faldo
Nick Faldo didn’t start playing golf until he reached the age of 14 and it’s said he only got into the game after watching Charles Coody win the 1971 Masters tournament on his family’s new colour television set. Only three years later, he was playing in the English Amateur Championship at Woodhall Spa, which was an early indication of his dedication to the game.
In 1975, he won this event at Royal Lytham & St Annes and he also triumphed the same year in the now defunct British Youths Open Amateur Championship, before heading off to the University of Houston on a golf scholarship. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite work out there as anticipated and Nick returned home after less than three months of study in the Lone Star State.
He turned professional the following year and over the next two decades Nick recorded 41 wins around the world; 27 on the European Tour, 6 on the PGA Tour and 8 elsewhere. Six of those victories were Majors (three Opens and three Masters) and he finished runner-up in each of the other two Major tournaments (at the 1988 US Open and the 1992 PGA Championship).
For a man who many regarded as overly single-minded and rather detached, Nick did very well in team competitions as a player, winning both the Dunhill Cup and World Cup for England. He also played in eleven Ryder Cup events (winning five), amassing 25 points from 46 matches, making him one of the most successful participants in that biennial series of matches.
Nick launched Faldo Design in 1991 and one of his first courses was Chart Hills in Kent, a co-design with Steve Smyers.
Of course, Nick was still winning big tournaments during the 1990s – he won the Nedbank Million Dollar Challenge in 1994 and the Masters Tournament in 1996 – and he played in four Ryder Cups, so his early design work wasn’t exactly prolific, considering his playing schedule.
He partnered architect Stan Eby from European Golf Design to lay out the Faldo course at Sporting Club Berlin (now renamed the Faldo Berlin course at Bad Saarow) and it debuted in 1997, the same year the Nick Faldo course opened at the 72-hole Eagle Ridge Golf & Country Club in The Philippines.
Two years later, and the Faldo name was being used to launch one of seven courses at Mission Hills Zhenzen in China and this group of 18-hole layouts, along with the five championship courses at Mission Hills Dongguan make it one of the largest golf facilities in the world. Again, Nick worked in tandem with another architect, Brian Curley, on this project.
His first North American design break came in 2000 with the opening of Shadow Ridge in Palm Desert, California, and he’s since fashioned another four layouts in the United States: Wildfire in Arizona (2002), Cottonwood Hills in Kansas (2006), Bella Collina in Florida (2008) and Wilderness Club in Montana (2009).
Nick also designed The Rock Golf Course on the shores of Lake Rosseau in Ontario and this is his only Canadian design to date. Away from North America, Faldo Design has been engaged in several international markets during the new millennium.
In Australia, Nick collaborated with architect Tony Cashmore to produce the Creek course at 13th Beach Golf Links in Victoria, with the Barwon Heads layout opening for play in 2003. Then, in each of the following two years, he signed off on courses in China: Bejing Hongua International in 2004 then Lakeview in Kunming during 2005.
In 2006, Nick redesigned the old Wadi course at Emirates Golf Club, which was then renamed the Faldo course. A few years after this, he teamed up again with Brian Curley to produce the 27-hole facility at Katameya Dunes, outside Cairo in Egypt.
In southeast Asia, Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia and Laguna Lang Co in Thua Thien Hue Province, Vietnam are two highly regarded Faldo-designed tracks that sit comfortably within our Top 100 chart for Asia and the latter was Nick’s 26th worldwide project completed when it was unveiled in 2013.
Within Europe, Faldo courses are to be found in Turkey at the 27-hole Cornelia resort in Belek, in Denmark at Ledreborg Palace near Copenhagen, in Portugal at the Amendoeira resort near Faro, and on the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean at Elea Golf Club outside Paphos.
In the Republic of Ireland, Nick has played a large part in promoting the fortunes of Ballyliffin Golf Club in Donegal. Having flown in by helicopter to play the Old course in the early 1990s, he returned a few years further down the line to renovate the course with the installation of revetted bunkers. A hundred and thirty-five kilometres to the south, across the border in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, he set out the Faldo course at the Lough Erne resort in 2009.
Mention should also be made of two important colleagues that Nick has worked with for a number of years: Andrew Haggar, his Lead Architect on projects such as Roco Ki in the Dominican Republic, Ledreborg Palace in Denmark and Monte Rocha in Portugal and Gareth Williams, Director of Design, who has worked at the Elea Estate in Cyprus, Laguna Lang Co in Vietnam and Lough Erne in Northern Ireland.
Outstanding Faldo commissions include an 18-hole course for the Monte Rocha estate in Portugal, which has been on the books for some time now, a 27-hole development within Long An province in Vietnam, and the 18-hole Rumanza course for DHA Multan in the Punjab region of Pakistan, which will be constructed by Desert Group UAE and managed by Troon Golf.
Faldo married three times and has five children. In 1989, he was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year and he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1997. Nick was awarded the MBE in the 1988 New Year Honours before being made a Knight Batchelor in the 2009 Birthday Honours list. He’s forged a successful television career in the United States, becoming the lead golf analyst for CBS and the Golf Channel.
Established in 1996, The Faldo Series is the only global amateur tournament for junior boys and girls. It has grown from its European base, expanding into Asia in 2006, with thousands of participants competing every year at qualifying events which lead to the Grand Finals. In 2017, The Faldo Series went a step further, partnering the International Junior Golf Tour in the United States.
World Golf Hall of Fame: Like Ben Hogan before him, Sir Nick Faldo seeks perfection with such single-mindedness that winning – much like the follow-through of his flawless swing – is a by-product of a larger goal.
More than any player of his era, the Englishman has relentlessly pursued golf’s holy grail – total control of the golf ball. The swing he has built in that endless chase is one that has not only held up, but excelled in the game’s most important moments.
Between 1987 and 1995, Faldo won six major championships: three Opens and three Masters. Although he has a total of 39 tournament victories around the world, including six events on the PGA Tour, Faldo’s focus has always been on his performance in the Masters, U.S. Open, The Open and PGA Championship.
In one stretch between 1988 and 1993, Faldo was never out of the top 20 in a Grand Slam event.
Faldo had relied on dedication, consistency, tempo and one of the strongest competitive minds the game has ever seen. Although he is tall at just over 6’3” and athletically built with wide shoulders, Faldo has never been a particularly powerful player. Consistency, distance control and course management are his strengths. His record makes him arguably the finest player of his height or taller in the history of the game.