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John Reitman

By John Reitman

Golf course architect Pete Dye dies at 94


Pete Dye, who had a hand in designing or restoring more than 250 golf courses around the world, died Jan. 9. He was 94.

010920dye2.jpgA native of Urbana, Ohio located between Columbus and Dayton, Dye was a longtime Indiana resident. His design career began in 1959 with wife Alice (right), who died last February at 91. 

"Pete made an indelible mark on the world of golf that will never be forgotten," read a statement released by Dye's family. "We will all miss him dearly."

The list of courses he designed reads like a who's who of modern golf, and includes The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Florida, Harbour Town and The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island both in South Carolina, Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run both in Wisconsin, the Honors Course in Tennessee, PGA West in California, Brad Klein's home course of Wintonbury Hills in Connecticut and Crooked Stick in Dye's home state of Indiana.

Born in 1925, Dye enlisted in the Army in 1944 at age 18. As the story goes, he was in paratrooper training when the war ended. An accomplished amateur golfer, Dye qualified for the 1957 U.S. Open at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. He was in the early stages of a successful career in insurance sales in Indianapolis when he decided on a career change designing golf courses.

The courses laid out by the quotable Dye are noted for the difficulty.

"Life is not fair, so why should I make a course that is fair?" he once said.

Life is not fair, so why should I make a course that is fair?

His first course of renown was Crooked Stick in 1964, which was the site of the 1991 PGA Championship. 

A 2008 inductee into the World Golf Hall of Fame, Dye was the recipient of the 1995 Donald Ross Award (ASGCA) Old Tom Morris Award (GCSAA) in 2003 and the PGA Distinguished Service Award a year later. 

Dick Gray, the 2016 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year, has known Dye since they met on the fairways of Crooked Stick in 1969. They have been close friends ever since. 

"Today is my American Pie," Gray said, "the day the music died."

Photos by PGA Tour and Indianapolis Star

Edited by John Reitman

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