Pete Dye dies at 94
Pete Dye pictured in a renovation visit to The Ford Plantation in Richmond Hill, Georgia. The legendary golf course architect died Jan. 9 at 94.
Holger Obenaus/The Ford Plantation

Pete Dye dies at 94

Legendary architect designed some of the most innovative courses of the modern golf era.

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Legendary golf course architect Pete Dye, a past president and fellow of the American Society of Golf Course Architects and 1995 Donald Ross Award recipient, died Jan. 9, 2020, at age 94. The patriarch of the most famous family in golf course design, ASGCA members will also remember Dye for his service to ASGCA and the game of golf.
 
The list of legendary Pete Dye-designed courses in lengthy, and includes: Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head, South Carolina; TPC Sawgrass-Stadium Course, Ponta Vedra, Florida; The Ocean Course, Kiawah Island, South Carolina; PGA West – Stadium Course, Palm Desert, California; Whistling Straits, Kohler, Wisconsin; and the Honors Course, Ooltewah, Tennessee. Dye has received numerous accolades in addition to the Donald Ross Award, including the 2003 Old Tom Morris Award from the GCSAA. 
 
Dye met his future wife, Alice, at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. The couple married in 1950 and moved to Indiana. According to a 2003 article by Ron Whitten in Golf Digest, Pete came home from work on a summer day in 1955 and said to Alice: “I’m tired of the insurance business. What I really want to do is build golf courses.” Alice, who died last year at 91, also had a legendary career as a golf course architect. 
 
Dye learned about golf course maintenance while chairman of the greens committee at the Country Club of Indianapolis and gradually turned his interest in architecture into a profession, designing nine holes at El Dorado (now named Dye’s Walk Country Club), in Greenwood, Indiana, in 1959. Soon after, the Dyes designed their first 18-hole layout, at Maple Creek Golf and Country Club, also in Indianapolis.
 
An elite amateur golfer, Dye played in the 1957 U.S. Open, where he finished ahead of future ASGCA contemporaries Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.
 
His commitment to golf course design was cemented after a tour of Scottish golf courses the Dyes undertook after Pete competed in the 1963 British Amateur. “Both Pete and I were champion golfers and played famous courses, which influenced our design features,” Alice said in a 2018 interview.
 
Over time, Dye became known for his unique designs that also included respect for the environment. His projects featured drainage, irrigation designs and wetland areas, which helped to recycle and purify water.
 
 
Dye’s golf course legacy stretches far beyond the courses he designed. Many of golf’s leading course architects honed their craft while working alongside him, including Jack Nicklaus, ASGCA Fellow; Bill Coore, ASGCA; ASGCA Past President Lee Schmidt; Bobby Weed, ASGCA; and Tim Liddy, ASGCA.
 
Dye’s sons, P.B. Dye, ASGCA, and Perry Dye, ASGCA, have also gone on to develop their own golf course design portfolios. Many other members of the extended Dye family are now also involved in golf course architecture, including Pete’s niece, Cynthia Dye McGarey, ASGCA.
 
Dye became an ASGCA member in 1966, served as president from 1988-89 and achieved fellow status in 2004. He is survived by sons, P.B. and Perry.