Paul “Pete” Dye Jr. is considered to be one of the most influential designers of the modern era. After building a number of courses in America’s Midwest in the early 60s Dye packed his bags and headed for Scotland, The Home of Golf, to spend a month studying and playing the best and most historically important courses in the world, the great links courses including the likes of Turnberry, Royal Troon and the legendary St Andrews Old Course.
What he learned and subsequently put into practice in the USA and other parts of the world changed the shape of golf design in the latter part of the 20th century. Following his Scottish pilgrimage, bunkers of all shapes and sizes, including the dreaded pot bunker, railway sleepers and unkempt rough started to appear more commonly throughout the USA. Dye also introduced layouts that focused on a more strategic approach to the game and in their current form, Dye’s courses are among the most challenging in the world for tour pros while being largely enjoyable for us weekend warriors when played from forward tees.
Many of the Dye family have become golf course architects as well and with plenty of knowledge passed on through the generations, the great man’s influence on the world of golf is sure to live on for years to come.
The trail of courses now associated with the Dye name is an extensive one to say the least, with courses being laid down by the Dye family all around the world. From the tropical paradise of the Dominican Republic and the amazing Casa de Campo Resort to the world famous TPC Sawgrass, Dye has provided us golfers with some truly magical courses on which to play.
The Legacy Club
None, until now though have been built in the UK but us golfers based on this side of the Atlantic won’t have to wait too much longer until we have a thoroughbred Dye design on our doorsteps.
A project originally called The Dye London, the last course designed by Pete and Alice Dye which is set to open in 2024, will now be renamed The Legacy Club to honour the passing of the legendary course designer, his son Perry and six-year-old Hugh Menai-Davis, who tragically passed away from cancer.
“This is a beautiful piece of ground, with magnificent views across London, one of the world’s great capital cities. The ambience and the setting are brilliant, but most of all it’s the people involved which will make this project so special. We are passionate about what we have planned here.”
Menai-Davis family spokesperson
The 7,000 yard championship course is taking shape and, like The Shire, the new facility will have a small membership and, thankfully for everyone else, seven day public access. And that’s not the only good news as the course will also feature a par 3 hole reminiscent of…yep you guessed it…the world famous island green 17th at Sawgrass.
The philosophy of Dye Designs is to accommodate a wide variety of golfers, all of whom are going to have varying levels of ability. Dye Designs endeavour to provide a challenge to advanced players without creating a course so difficult that it drives away beginners or less talented players.
To combat this problem, Dye Designs commonly includes no less than five teeing positions on every hole so that all golfers can find their comfort zone. Wide fairways are also a hallmark, where the emphasis is on the scratch player to find the most strategically beneficial areas of the fairway while allowing less accurate layer to still find their balls easily, play at a good pace and, most importantly, enjoy their rounds.
European Golf Design (EGD), the golf course design company of the European Tour Group, have taken over the project after the passing of Perry Dye and although they never got to meet him or his father to discuss the project they will remain highly respectful of the original foundations.
“We will be realising the vision which Pete and Alice Dye originally had for the golf course, including the routing, but we will provide the detail. The Legacy Club will be enjoyable and playable for all golfers, but will also offer a challenge worthy of a Tour venue.”
European Golf Design’s Managing Director, Jeremy Slessor
Notable Dye Design Golf Courses
The TPC Stadium Course at Swagrass
The Stadium Course at Sawgrass is perhaps the most famous on this list and for one very good reason, the par 3 17th. While Dye can claim credit for the finished article it was in fact his wife, Alice, who came up with the island green concept. This hole is now perhaps the most famous in golf. The green, which is reasonably large and features a huge step, is completely surrounded by water except for a narrow walkway used by players to get to their balls on the green. A small bunker guards the front of the putting surface but in general anything other than a crisply struck iron shot will see your ball end up in a watery grave. As they say, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned…thanks Alice!
The iconic feature of Pete Dye’s most famous golf course, the island green at Sawgrass, will be reincarnated in London.
Casa De Campo
While the vast majority of Dye’s courses are to be found in the USA, one of his finest, and one of the most spectacular in the world, resides in the relatively unknown golf holiday destination of the Dominican Republic.
The Casa de Campo Resort is among the finest resorts in the whole of the Caribbean, let alone the Dominican Republic. Boasting three championship golf courses and an endless list of luxury accommodations and facilities, this is one of the best places to head on a Caribbean Golf Holiday and there is little doubt as to what is the main attraction. Although Dye has designed all three courses at Casa de Campo, it is the Teeth of the Dog Course that gets many a golfer’s juices flowing.
Dye famously stated that ‘I created eleven holes and God created seven’; to explain this, it is necessary to have some insight into the remarkable terrain that the course spans. Seven holes, God’s seven, track the rugged Dominican coastline and represent an unforgettable golfing experience, where the margins for error are barely visible, but where the views are truly mind-blowing. The course’s catchy name has left it with a serious reputation to uphold, but recent renovations have ensured that it does this and more. The only question that remains is, are you ready to challenge the great Caribbean monster?
The spectacular Dye Fore course in the Dominican Republic is one of Pete Dye’s finest. If even a smidgen of his style and knowledge was passed down to Perry, golfers visiting Dye London when it opens should be in for a treat.
The Straits Course at Whistling Straits has already done the same as the Ocean Course at Kiawah by hosting the PGA Championship as well as the Ryder Cup. Set on the banks of Lake Michigan, the Straits Course boasts distinct Scottish accents, a result of Dye’s time spent at The Home of Golf no doubt.
If you weren’t aware of the history behind Whistling Straits you would naturally assume that the course had been shaped by the sands of time but you’d be wrong. Somehow Dye has transformed the former 560 acre airfield into one of the most natural looking and aesthetically pleasing golf courses in the world.
Rugged, unkempt rough awaits drives that miss the undulating fairways and with Lake Michigan a threat on various holes as well as inland water hazards and hundreds of bunkers, accuracy is of paramount importance on the Straits Course.
Having opened in 1998 the Straits Course has already hosted two major championships and welcomed the Ryder Cup to town in 2021 which is testament to the supreme quality of Dye’s creation. This is a must play course for any golfing aficionado. Next time you are thinking of a Golf Holiday in America you simply must consider Wisconsin.
The Straits Course at Whistling Straits is still relatively young but has already hosted major championships.
Harbour Town Golf Links
Dye evidently doesn’t need much help when it comes to designing world class golf courses but it would be foolish to turn down the advice of the game’s greatest ever player, Jack Nicklaus, who worked on the Harbour Town Golf Links with Dye.
The Harbour town Golf Links has PGA Tour pedigree having hosted the Heritage Classic each year since it kicked off in 1969 and has remained in the upper echelons of American golf ever since, perpetually making the grade in lists of the world’s greatest golf.
The 18th at Harbour Town is watched over by the iconic lighthouse.
Like the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, the course was laid out over relatively flat ground but here the perfectly manicured fairways are bordered by towering pines that call for accuracy from start to finish. Putting surfaces are small but fair…if you have your putting boots on here you can hole your fair share.
Although the course is a succession of excellent holes, designed by Dye to test strategy and shot making, the final hole is without doubt the signature hole on the course. The 18th is a brutish par 4 which measures 478 yards from the tips. A solid drive on the line of the iconic lighthouse will find the landing area which juts out into the Calibogue Sound and from there the fun really begins with water long and left of the green.
Two things are for sure, the final hole is a do or die golfing experience and Harbour Town should be first on the list of courses to enjoy during a South Carolina Golf Tour.
La Quinta Resort
The desert location where the courses of the La Quinta Resort reside is simply stunning and Dye’s three layouts, particularly the Stadium Course, certainly do it justice.
While South Carolina is one of the go to destinations for golfers looking to enjoy an American Golf Holiday, Palm Springs in California has also been welcoming golfers for decades and the La Quinta Resort is just about as good as it gets for those embarking on a California Golf Break.
Set at the foot of the stunning Santa Rosa Mountains, La Quinta has been welcoming guests since 1926 and is seen by many as the original Palm Springs luxury hideaway boasting no less than 5 stunning golf courses including the Pete Dye designed Stadium Course.
This par 72 beauty is a favourite among touring professionals and an absolute must play for those on a golf holiday in California. Breathtaking backdrops, mind boggling undulations, vast cavernous bunkers and island green par 3s are just some of the defining characteristics of this stunning desert jewel.
Although Dye designed 3 of the courses at La Quinta, the Stadium Course is the star of the show. See for yourself on your next golf break in the Sunshine State.