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Pete Dye (1925–2020), designer of famous golf courses

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Dye’s most notorious hole was the “Island Green” at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

Pete Dye was a golf course designer responsible for famously challenging courses, including TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, site of the annual Players Championship. Dye designed well over 100 golf courses around the U.S. and worldwide, often working in collaboration with his late wife, Alice Dye. His other notable courses include the Crooked Stick Gold Club in Carmel, Indiana, host to the 1991 PGA Championship; Whistling Straits in Haven, Wisconsin, where the 2020 Ryder Cup will take place; and the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, South Carolina, host of the 2012 PGA Championship. An amateur golfer who competed in the 1957 U.S. Open, Dye was a World Golf Hall of Famer who was honored with its lifetime achievement award in 2008.  

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Died: January 9, 2020 (Who else died on January 9?)

Details of death: Died in the Dominican Republic at the age of 94.

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Dye’s courses: Dye designed creative and difficult courses inspired by the classic Scottish golf courses he visited in a trip there early in his design career. His characteristic features included pot bunkers, small greens, and railroad ties used to define putting surfaces. He created undulating fairways and tricked the eye into thinking a green was elevated when it was actually at ground level. Dye’s most notorious hole was the “Island Green” at TPC Sawgrass, where an isthmus extends out to place the green in the middle of a pond, surrounded almost entirely by water.

Notable quote: “Life is not fair, so why should I make a golf course that is fair?”

What people said about him: “I think Pete Dye was the most creative, imaginative and unconventional golf course designer I have ever been around. Pete would try things that nobody else would ever think of trying or certainly try to do, and he was successful at it. If there was a problem to solve, you solved it Pete’s way. In the end, Pete’s way usually turned out to be the right way.” —Jack Nicklaus, legendary golfer and golf course designer

“You can’t mistake a Pete Dye. You knew it was his as soon as you played it. He had a different set of rules when he built golf courses and every single one he built was tough.” —Vijay Singh, 2000 Masters winner

“Pete Dye left an imprint on the world of golf that will be experienced for generations, painting wonderful pictures with the land that continue to inspire, entertain & challenge us. The PGA is saddened by the passing of this dear friend of the PGA Professional.” —Suzy Whaley, president of the PGA of America

Full obituary: The New York Times

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