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Five Pete Dye Gems You Can Play on the East Coast

Golfvaca August 12, 2014

When a new Pete Dye-designed course opens, the golf world pays heed. For 40 years, his fervid imagination has conjured up wholly original course designs demanding a definite plan of attack from the get-go rather than a willy-nilly approach. Dye admirably wants you to take the game as seriously as he does. The maestro is about to open another “must play” masterpiece as his latest creation – the new Pete Dye Course at Keswick Hall – opens this fall.

Here are five Pete Dye gems you can play on the East Coast:

New Pete Dye Golf Course at Keswick Hall
The new Pete Dye Course at Keswick Hall is an intriguing, seamless synthesis of modern golf course architecture and the bucolic Hunt Country of Virginia. The brand new 18 traverses the scenic, rolling terrain that tumbles below the magnificent resort hotel. Playing between 5,000 and 7,000 yards and ideal for players of all abilities, Dye says “the new course at Keswick Hall is as good as any I’ve ever done.” Dye masterfully combined “old world” architectural charm and modern technology. With the exception of one hole, the greens have open fronts and are approachable either through the air or on the ground, making “old school” run-up shots a viable means to reach the putting surface. The riskier aerial route brings Dye’s ubiquitous penal bunkers and hazards into play. The master is still at the top of his game. www.keswick.com

Keswick Photo

Pete Dye Golf Course at Keswick Hall

Harbour Town Golf Links
With the eminent red- and white-striped Harbour Town Lighthouse standing sentinel on its famous finishing hole along the Calibogue Sound, Harbour Town Golf Links as one of Dye’s seminal designs. Called “nothing short of a work of art” by famed golf writer Dan Jenkins, Harbour Town has continually ranked in the highest echelons of championship courses and is a perennial “bucket list” play.  Not long by today’s standards at just under 7,000 yards against a par of 71, Harbour Town is the epitome of strategic golf – almost like chess in the great outdoors with clubs in tow. To find success on this beguiling golf course, a player must not only find the fairway, but also frequently land on the proper side in order to safely reach the green. It’s as joyous and testing as golf can be. www.seapines.com

Ocean Course at Kiawah Island
The site of the dramatic 1991 Ryder Cup and 2012 PGA Championship won in grand style by Rory McIlroy, the Ocean Course presents a stout challenge in a glorious setting. While 10 holes run along the Atlantic, Dye raised the fairway of the other eight one-foot on the advice of his wife Alice. This slight elevation of the Lowcountry now affords every hole a seascape. Great call Mrs. Dye.  While the views mesmerize, the course is flat-out difficult. With a slope of 156 and a course rating of 79.6, it’s generally thought of as perhaps the sternest test of the ancient Scottish game in the U.S. With tricky sea winds, evil bunkers and a full complement of Dye’s trickery – skewed angles, angry ridges, wild dunes and mean falloffs – it’s a MENSA test of golf at 7,800 yards from the tips. www.kiawahresort.com

Heron Point by Pete Dye
Opened in 2007 at The Sea Pines Resort, Heron Point is resplendent with knotted hardwoods, lagoons and salt marshes teeming with wildlife. Like Harbour Town, Mother Nature provided an ideal palette for Dye’s design prowess and unlimited imagination and the result is marvelous.  At 7,000 yards from the back tees Heron Point is a mathematician’s fusion of short and long holes. It can play considerably shorter if needed via six sets of tees on each hole, but length has little to do with the layout’s overall strategic repertoire.  Golfers are challenged by a cadre of risk-reward holes, fairways that frolic to and fro, and Dye’s ubiquitous mounding and swales framing target areas. It’s an ideal counterpart for Harbour Town. www.seapines.com

Pound Ridge Golf Club
Golfers will delight in discovering Pound Ridge Golf Club, the only Pete Dye-designed course in New York. Opened in 2008 to critical acclaim, Pound Ridge is situated in upscale Westchester County, roughly an hour from Manhattan. The dramatic layout is hewn from 172 acres of magnificent cliffs, streams and wooded hills. In a region populated by famous private clubs, Pound Ridge stands out as a beacon for daily fee play. Contoured fairways wend through hardwood forests and fescue mounds, leading to open meadows crowned by picturesque green complexes. The 7,165-yard, par-72 layout features some of the highest points in the region, with a number of tee boxes offering expansive vistas of the surrounding countryside. It’s a true Empire State golf jewel. www.poundridgegolf.com

Pound Ridge Golf Club

Pound Ridge Golf Club

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