Man of Vision
Born into an Urbana, Ohio, golf family
in 1925, in his youth Dye worked at and
often played a course that his father built
on family land – en route to capturing the
Ohio State High School Golf
Championship and medaling in the Ohio
State Amateur Golf Championship. Dye
entered the Army in 1944, and trained to
FEW PEOPLE HAVE THE ABILITY TO LOOK AT A BLANK CANVAS and envision a beautiful piece of art. Perhaps Rembrandt, Michelangelo or Dali are a few names that come to mind. In the world of golf-course architecture, Pete Dye’s name is
certainly among those at the top of the list.
“It never ceases to amaze me what an
incredible imagination and foresight Pete
has,” says Kerry Haigh, The PGA of
America’s managing director of
championships and business development.
“The land was completely flat before Pete
designed what is now a truly incredible golf
course that offers spectacular views and
scenery, while at the same time providing
golfers of all abilities as difficult a test of
golf as you would want or imagine.”
Some of Dye’s best-known projects
include the No. 17 “island green” at TPC
Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and
the Brickyard Crossing at the Indianapolis
Motor Speedway, which uses the racetrack’s
dismantled outer retaining wall. Over time,
Whistling Straits – which houses two Dye-
designed layouts in the Straits course and
the Irish course – will indubitably achieve a
similar level of notoriety.
Whistling Straits architect has created many masterpieces, including other PGA Championship venues Crooked Stick Golf Club and Oak Tree Golf Club
When Whistling Straits owner Herb Kohler first took Dye to survey the land that would become a rustic links-style course, it was anything but.
“It was stretched out along Lake Michigan for at least two miles. There’s never been a table that was flatter than this piece of land,” recalls Dye. “Mostly it was on an old Army base, and along the lake was an airport runway. When you walked up to the edge of the lake, if you backed up 10 feet you couldn’t see the waves crashing into the bottom. That clay bank came up fairly straight, 70 feet easily.
“Mr. Kohler walked out to the edge and
said ‘The next time I see this property, I
want it to look like Ballybunion.’”
Dye says that he loved developing this
flat piece of lakeside farmland that at one
time was slated to house a nuclear reactor.
He says he’s never seen any land like it. One
can imagine that the feeling Dye felt as he
walked through that Wisconsin field was
one similar to what any artist would feel
when first laying eyes upon their canvas and
projecting their great vision.
Dye began work on the Straits course in the mid-
By Scott Kramer
THE OFFICIAL PROGRAM OF THE 2010 PGA CHAMPIONSHIP 77