Design prowess is a Dye family trait, as exhibited by these five courses
(Editor’s Note: This feature was written by Shane Sharp of Southbound 4)
If there was a shortlist of the unsung heroes of golf course architecture’s modern era, P.B. Dye would likely find himself on it. Given his unabashedly outgoing demeanor and penchant for expressing strong opinions about anything from golf to college football, it’s a wonder he never got more “press.”
While he could certainly be the life of any party, the youngest son of legendary Pete Dye was always happiest on the seat of a bulldozer during his design heyday in the 80s and 90s. P.B. was a driving force, no pun intended, on dozens of famous Dye designs including the Honors Course and Long Cove.
Many of his peers were caught up in a constant search for the perfect building site for a shrine to their brands. Dye, however, relished the opportunity to work with big-time golf resort and community developers regardless of the location. These titans of industry, after all, were his clients, and Dye was quick to understand that real estate was the driving force behind golf during his period.
For traveling golfers or those looking to settle down in a golf community, here are some of the top P.B. Dye golf courses you can play (public) or join (private).
P.B. Dye Golf Club
Most golf course critics consider the P.B. Dye Golf Club in Ijamsville, Maryland, to be Dye’s seminal work. Golf Digest once ranked it as one of the 50 Toughest Courses in America, and its resistance to scoring and strategic shot values are off the charts. The layout pitches and rolls over 250 acres and boasts the complete array of P.B. Dye accouterments: mounds, moguls, multi-tiered greens and deep pot bunkers. P.B. Dye Golf Club is open to the public with rates starting at $65 in the afternoon.
The Club at Olde Cypress
Olde Cypress in the golf capital of Naples, Fla. is eminently enjoyable, progressively playable for the forward to middle tees, and long enough to challenge long hitters from the tips. Seeking omnipresent sunshine, pristine beaches and a lifestyle only Southwest Florida can offer, new members have flocked to this privately owned, private club over the past 18 months. Adding to the attraction: Olde Cypress recently reopened following a re-grassing of all tee boxes, fairways and greens, as well as updates to bunkers, the practice facility and clubhouse. Membership categories include social, full golf and associate golf and offer access to the club’s other amenities, like tennis, pickleball and fitness, as well as fine and casual dining.
Cherokee Valley Course and Club
At Cherokee Valley just north of Greenville, S.C., Dye essentially delights golfers with multiple courses within a single layout. The first four holes are relatively flat and laid out in proximity to the new golf shop and chef-driven restaurant, Core 450. Six through eight take players closer to Glassy Mountain, nine and 10 circle around the practice range, while 11-18 feature more than 300-feet of elevation change. Both memberships and daily fee play are offered, as are golf packages featuring the club’s quaint cottages. Cherokee Valley is just 30 minutes from downtown Greenville, one of the best small cities in the U.S.
When P.B. and developer Larry Young unveiled the Moorland Course at Legends Resort in Myrtle Beach in 1990, shock value was a necessary ingredient to make a splash in a market with more than 100 golf courses. Golf Digest immediately tapped it as one of the toughest tracks in the U.S., and Dye and Young delighted in causing golfers to rise to incredible heights and sink to considerable depths all in five hours. The 245-yard par-4 16th hole is guarded by the Grand Strand’s most famous bunker, dubbed “Hell’s Half Acre.”
The Links at Fisher Island
For a nine-hole facility to make a list of its designer’s best golf courses, it has to be something special. The Links at Fisher Island is more than that – it’s one of the country’s most precious golf assets. The course is the centerpiece of the Fisher Island Club, a 216-acre barrier island off the coast of Miami. Dye loves to say he packed 18 holes of design features into nine holes at the Links at Fisher Island. Not only did he do that, there’s a full-size practice range and an immaculate 10,000-square-foot clubhouse. Equity memberships are offered for property owners and a limited number of non-owners.