Golf Course Architecture - Issue 60, April 2020

56 FEATURE Design PETE DYE Written by Adam Lawrence P ete Dye, who died recently at the age of 94, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, was arguably the most influential golf architect of the second half of the twentieth century. Born in Ohio in 1925, Dye came to golf design in his 30s after an early foray into the insurance industry. Along with his wife Alice (who predeceased him last year), his lifetime partner in both business and family matters, he built a number of courses in the Midwest before a seminal trip to Scotland in 1963 changed his outlook on golf design, with subsequent courses incorporating features such as pot bunkers, railway sleeper-supported bunkers and gorse-like vegetation – but also focusing closely on the strategic element he found on the links. Dye transformed the industry, not once but twice; first in the 1960s with designs like Harbour Town, which broke the mould of the large-scale championship courses favoured by Robert Trent Jones Sr and his followers, and later in the 1980s, when his TPC at Sawgrass in Florida ushered in a new era of specially built ‘stadium’ courses for professional events. He also proved the most successful ‘design mentor’ in the game’s history, with architects such as Bill Coore, Tom Doak, Brian Curley, Bobby Weed, Chris Lutzke and Tim Liddy learning their trade at his feet. Bill Coore told GCA: “He and Alice had made such an amazing team in life and golf. I would say that Pete Dye was one of the most influential golf architects in the history of the profession. Pete was the only golf architect that changed the course of golf architecture twice, first with Harbour Town, an old-world design with characteristics totally opposite to the contemporary golf architecture then in vogue. Then, he and Alice redirected golf architecture again with the creation of TPC Sawgrass, a course that would dictate the direction and style of golf architecture around the world for the next two decades. Personally, I can say Pete Dye was one of the most influential people in my life. Golf, golf architecture and I will miss him.” It wasn’t just Dye-trained architects who owe him a lot. Jim Nagle of Forse Design said: “I would not be sitting here today if it were not for Pete Dye. When I went to school at West Virginia, Leading golf course architects share their memories of Pete Dye, and explain how he influenced their work influencer