Throughout history, architects have been praised for their achievements in bringing about stunning buildings, be it cathedrals, government buildings, or skyscrapers, you learn the names of famous builders. Golfers, however, know a different set of names, those that created the pristine courses that are played by pros and amateurs alike.
One of the most famous course designers is Pete Dye, who started designing courses with his wife in the early 1960s and has created some of the most beautiful, and challenging courses, that golfers have had a chance to play. In honor of Dye, who passed away yesterday, here are 10 of his best designs.
Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Resort
The Carolinas are home to some of golf’s best places to play, but this one is truly remarkable. Built in 1991, this island course is both a top 5 public course and a U.S. top 25 course. The challenge here is the myriad of holes adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean, but that is also what makes it one of the most beautiful courses. The many inlets and water hazards make this a true beach destination.
River Course at Blackwolf Run
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The first of two Kohler, WI courses on this list is the River course at Blackwolf Run. This resort course was built in 1990, and the resort touts the natural landscape that was created by glacial runoff. As a result golfers have to contend with either gorges, or water, on nearly every hole, so those looking for long flat fairways are in for a rough round.
Rum Pointe Golf Course
There is certainly a theme to a Dye course, one that is proven time and time again to make for stunning views, and that is the way he incorporates natural waterways in his designs. This course is almost completely lined by the Sinepuxent Bay which allows players to take in the views, but also to potentially shorten holes by cutting across the water, assuming you’re brazen enough to pull it off, otherwise your ball will go for an unintended swim.
THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass
A collaboration between Dye and then PGA Tour commisioner Deane Beman brought about the Stadium Course. The layout here was created to service both players and fans, since this was meant as the home for The Players Championship, and would need to be both challenging for all manner of pros, but also one that fans attending the events could navigate and enjoy all they came to see.
Harbour Town Golf Links at Sea Pines Resort
The Sea Pines Resort is home to 3 18 hole courses, 2 of which are Pete Dye designs, but the Harbour Town Golf Links is the certainly the standout. Created in 1969, with help from his wife, and Jack Nicklaus, Dye crafted another remarkable course with surrounding waterways that charges golfers to think about their approach to the course rather than try to overpower it. The par threes provide a decent challenge, but the par-4 18th hole, with its signature lighthouse, is the one that will probably stay with you long after you’ve left the clubhouse.
The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort
With a resume as impressive as Dye’s, of course there would be at least a few courses named after him. The signature 8000-yard course offers a true test with elevation changes, three lakes, Dye’s tricky elevated “volcano” bunkers, plus incredible picturesque views and immaculate conditioning. While it may have played host to the Senior PGA and Senior LPGA Championships, believe us when we say you don’t want to wait until you’re an advanced age to play this one.
Kampen at Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex
Located on the campus of Purdue University, this course takes Pete’s love of the scenery and environment to the next level. In addition to building yet another beautiful and challenging course, this particular offering uses a water reclamation system for irrigation, that uses only recycled water to keep the course in pristine condition.
Southern Hills Plantation
Those looking for little to no elevation changes in their golf course, unfortunately, need to look elsewhere. Dye took the local landscape of a place with hills in the name and kept that spirit alive in these 18 holes. With rolling hills throughout, and elevations as high as 250 ft, this course provides a significant challenge. Those who are up for the task however, are rewarded with one of the best Dye courses, and another gorgeous sight to behold.
Straits Golf Course at Whistling Straits
When the Ryder Cup returns to the U.S in 2020, it is going to be played at Whistling Straits, and why wouldn’t it be. This course was the locations of several previous PGA Championships and provides a significant challenge to all who play.
Designed by Dye in 1998, the deep bunkers and thin fairways lining the coast of Lake Michigan, make this public course is a must play.
Wolf Course at Paiute Golf Resort
The signature course at Paiute is The Wolf, and with it, Dye crafted the longest course in Nevada. The Wolf features lush green grass that contrasts stunningly to the natural desert landscape of the “Silver State.” With more rolling fairways, this course features so many of the iconic Pete Dye elements, even bringing in a difficult water hole with the difficult island green on 15.