Dye was a legend in his own lifetime
The death last week of renowned golf course architect, Pete Dye has understandably led to an appreciation of his substantial body of work. He designed over 100 courses in a career which started in the early 1960’s. Some of his most famous designs have hosted major championships (Whistling Straits), Ryder Cups (Kiawah Island) and regular PGA (Harbour Town) Tour events.
It is however his most famous creation, The TPC course at Sawgrass in Northern Florida that we are all most familiar. This course plays host to the annual Players Championship which was won last year by Rory McIlroy. Having been fortunate enough to play it on a couple of occasions I can assure you that TPC Sawgrass completely exceeds your expectations. It is not all about the last three holes, including the famous island green at seventeen. The front nine is every bit as good as the back nine and features a run of four tremendous par fours from the fourth. The course features a perfect mix of holes that culminates in the most famous finishing three holes in golf. By the time you are walking down the par five sixteenth your thoughts have started to focus on the tee shot at seventeen. As you reach the tee at seventeen you realize that this is an experience that is almost unique in golf. The closest analogy I could give you is that it is like standing on the first tee at the old course in St Andrews. It has just got that particular feeling or buzz that very few holes in golf can give you no matter how you are playing or what the weather is like. The old course was largely created by mother nature with a helping hand from Old Tom Morris. Pete Dye and his wife Alice created TPC Sawgrass from a swamp and it opened for play in 1980. The Old course dates back to the 1500’s but even though it is a completely different golfing experience TPC Sawgrass deserves to be discussed and revered in the same way that the Home of Golf is. That is the legacy Pete Dye has left on the game.