Whatever drives Pete Dye, we’ll take numerous helpings.
He could’ve rode off to the sunset years ago – left behind the grind of getting up every morning for work or dealing with the tribulations of traveling to a job site – and still left a legacy unrivaled in golf course design.
Instead, the famous course designer – who recently turned 91(!) – is still hard at work creating new layouts to test golfers. Rather than resting on his laurels in 2017, he’s at the drafting table and visiting the Laurel Highlands in southwestern Pennsylvania, putting the finishing touches on Shepherd’s Rock at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort.
Set to open this July, Shepherd’s Rock is a Dye-Tim Liddy collaboration will amaze anyone who tees it up here. The layout – Dye’s only new creation set to open this year – joins an incredible list of courses designed by the legendary Hoosier. More about his latest design can be found below, as well as his other courses – both well-known and hidden gems – that you should play in 2017.
AT&T Canyons Course – Dye designed the AT&T Canyons Course at TPC San Antonio, but saved his trademark railroad ties for another golf course. Instead, all of Dye’s superb design qualities that rarely make headlines are wonderfully showcased – breathtaking vistas, superb hole designs and incredible shot values.
Oh, and there are plenty of memorable holes. Like the par-3 fourth, which features water all down the left, and the amazing par-5 fifth, a three-shotter with incredible views off the tee and exceptional elevation changes to the green.
The back nine also boasts some dramatic holes, like the par-3 16th, a 224-yard beauty with a 50-foot drop from tee to green, and the stellar finishing hole, a par-4 with plenty of bunkering and the resort hotel providing a dramatic backdrop.
The AT&T Canyons played host the San Antonio Championship on the Champions Tour from 2011-2015. And while it doesn’t get the fanfare like its sister course and site of the PGA Tour’s Valero Texas Open, the AT&T Oaks, the Canyons often gets tabbed the best and most picturesque layout at TPC San Antonio.
Full Cry at Keswick Golf Club – Situated on 600 rolling acres just down the road from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello estate in the Hunt Country outside Charlottesville is Keswick Hall & Golf Club. The resort’s acclaimed Pete Dye-designed golf course – Full Cry at Keswick Golf Club – opened in 2014 to wide acclaim.
“Full Cry” is a hunting term describing the call of hounds that have found the scent and are in hot pursuit of their mark. The superb and fun-to-play 18 negotiates the gently sloping terrain below the inn’s perch on the property’s high ground. The fanfare has come quickly. The course is ranked No. 46 in Golfweek’s “Best 100 Resort Courses” and was named in Golf Digest’s 2015 “Best New Courses” list.
When stepping on the first tee, the layout’s beauty and clarity of the challenge are displayed wonderfully. Dye has done a masterful job of using “old world” architectural traits found at the classic courses of Scotland and Ireland. Except for one hole, the greens have open fronts and are approachable by low “links-style” run-up shots or through the air allowing for great shot variety.
The last three holes on the back nine are as fine a finish as you’ll find. The par-3 16th is modeled after the famous “Redan” hole at Scotland’s North Berwick. With train tracks running parallel the entire length of the right side, the superlative par-5 17th is called the “Railroad Hole” and plays much longer than the yardage due to fighting the prevailing wind.
The tee box of the demanding par-4 No. 18 provides the crescendo of the layout with a panoramic view of the sprawling Hunt Country, serene mountains off on the horizon and inn above. Full Cry truly a delightful place to tee it up and showcases Dye’s imagination and genius.
Harbour Town Golf Links – The most revered and iconic golf course on Hilton Head Island is Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the RBC Heritage. Situated on the south part of the island, Harbour Town is a Dye design that hugs the beautiful Calibogue Sound and boasts the famous candy-cane striped marina lighthouse behind the 18th hole. The course is the signature amenity of The Sea Pines Resort, a 5,200-acre recreational haven that kick-started the island’s development in 1957.
Harbour Town recently underwent a series of agronomic enhancements including a comprehensive re-grassing of the golf course and the installation of a new irrigation system. That followed a substantial renovation of its clubhouse, which was part of the Sea Pines Resort capital investment project. The effort introduced one of the largest beach clubs on the Atlantic Coast as well as a new Plantation clubhouse servicing the resort’s other stellar layouts, Heron Point and the Ocean Course.
While most of the country is shivering and shoveling snow, Hilton Head Island enjoys sunshine and mild temperatures that set up perfectly for 18 to 36-hole days. “Golf Island” is the warmest of South Carolina’s great golf destinations. Average high temperatures hover around 60 in January, while the mercury can jump into the 70s in February and March, on par with northern Florida. What’s more, golfers are treated to pristine conditions as courses island-wide often sport lush rye grass over-seeding.
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort – Only a few U.S. resorts can boast two Pete Dye courses, and Nemacolin, situated on nearly 2,000 acres about an hour southeast of Pittsburgh, will join those ranks in July when it unveils Shepherd’s Rock.
Sitting high atop the Allegheny Mountains, Shepherd’s Rock is expected to rival the highest-rated courses in the country. The tree-lined front side will be a shotmaker’s delight, as precision and accuracy will be key to successfully navigating its rippling fairways flanked by the ever-present Dye-created mounds, natural wetlands and cleverly situated greens. The stout back nine is brawny and wide open, with jaw-dropping vistas of the Laurel Highlands. The dramatic par-5 18th, under the gaze of Nemacolin’s posh Falling Rock boutique hotel, features a green sitting atop the property’s high ground and a single, magnificent oak tree standing sentinel on the right.
Nemacolin’s existing Dye design, Mystic Rock, once hosted the PGA TOUR’s 84 Lumber Classic and ranks in the top-60 in Golf Digest’s “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses.” A brawny par-72 layout stretching to over 7,500 yards from the tips, the layout features five sets of tees making the course more than playable for golfers of any and all abilities. Even better, caddies are included in the green fee to make the golf experience something to long savor.
Pound Ridge Golf Club – Opened in 2008 to critical acclaim, Pound Ridge is located in tony Westchester County, roughly an hour from Manhattan and just minutes from the financial and business hubs of Greenwich, Stamford and Norwalk, Conn.
Crafted by Pete, his son Perry (of Dye Designs) and long-time construction manager/lead shaper Michael Langkau, Pound Ridge is a wall-to-wall bentgrass facility, hewn from 172 acres of magnificent cliffs, streams and wooded hills. Dramatic rock formations and boulders were left onsite by the Dye team, creating one of the most visually stunning settings for golf in the United States. More than 14,000-linear-feet of rock walls frame a strikingly natural property graced with thousands of trees, subtle wetlands and (in strategic locations) severely-sloped hills.
Contoured fairways wind through hardwood forests and fescue mounds, leading to open meadows crowned by picturesque green complexes. The par-72, 7,165-yard layout features some of the highest points in the region, with a number of tee boxes offering expansive vistas of the surrounding countryside.
Notable holes include: the par-5, 13th, home to “Pete’s Rock,” a giant boulder that rests in the middle of the fairway; and the par-3 15th hole, dubbed “Headstone,” which is flanked on the right by a large rock outcropping that protrudes into the elongated, 9,000-square-foot green.
TPC Sawgrass, Stadium Course – The site of THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP is now open after an extensive renovation project done to the course a year ago.
No worries, the signature island green on No. 17 remains, but several holes on Dye’s crown jewel significantly changed. The most prominent alteration: the 12th is now a drivable par-4 that doglegs left. Water creeps along the left side of a yawning bunker on the approach and left of the putting surface. The right side also presents trouble thanks to three bunkers and trees.
The sixth and seventh holes were also tweaked, and every green on the Stadium Course were regrassed with TifEagle. In addition, the practice area received numerous upgrades including a larger teeing area with uneven lies and target greens, and two practice greens for guests to work on straight putts and those found on the course. www.tpc.com/sawgrass; 888.877.9193
Whistling Straits, Straits Course – Once a flat, abandoned army air base, Dye transformed this two-mile piece of land hugging the shores of Lake Michigan into America’s ode to Irish golf.
On the Straits Course, patrons will find a smorgasbord of unique traits that make a round here so memorable. First there are Dye’s trademark railroad ties, which are mainly found on the course’s spectacular par 3s. Another eye-opening feature: the multitude of bunkers scattered throughout. In total, there are more than 1,000 bunkers in various shapes and sizes – pot, directional, some measuring over 100 yards – and there’s even a hole named “Sand Box” for the plethora of traps from tee to green.
What epitomizes Dye’s greatness for course routing and design are the par 3s found on the Straits Course. Each provides a captivating scene with Lake Michigan hugging the right side. The body of the water and ever-present wind also make these holes formidable challenges.
Tee times on the Straits Course are starting to mirror Willy Wonka’s golden ticket, as prominent professional tournaments are spotlighting Dye’s wonder in Wisconsin and alluring golfers to play where the pros play. The Straits Course played host to several USGA and PGA Championships, and will be site of the 2020 Ryder Cup.