Are you looking for a real challenge on the golf course? “The Michelangelo of Modern Golf” and “The Man Golfers Love to Hate” are just a few phrases used to describe Pete Dye, the architect behind the game’s most challenging courses. Every course is carefully constructed with extreme precision and mathematical genius. Dye’s design hallmarks include vast waste areas, peninsula greens and tees, hand-sculpted putting surfaces and a unique assortment of pot bunkers. The result is a visually intimidating, yet playable course for amateurs and professionals alike. LuxeGetaways is always eager to feature more of these championship golf courses, and Pete Dye has no shortage of great designs out there. No matter what skill level, these Dye courses are worth checking out, as each one is equally as stunning as they are challenging.
Casa de Campo
Since opening in 1974, Casa de Campo’s Teeth of the Dog is widely recognized as the No. 1 course in the Caribbean. The oceanfront holes are astoundingly beautiful, causing Dye to famously quip: “I created 11 holes and God created seven.”
Twenty-seven-hole Dye Fore joined Teeth of the Dog in 2002. It has three nine-hole courses – Chavon, Marina and Lakes – all of which are very distinct. Chavon features seven holes running atop cliffs dropping 300 feet; Marina meanders down to a harbor ringed by restaurants and shops; and Lakes is artfully crafted across tumultuous terrain. Golf course architecture aficionados call Dye Fore “the most underrated course in the Caribbean.”
Located in the interior of the property is the resort’s third Dye layout, The Links. The moderately hilly track with tall Bahia grass framing bunkers and undulating greens presents spectacular Caribbean views. Slightly over 7,000 yards from the back tees, and playing to a slope of 126, it is considered one of the most-forgiving courses Dye has designed.
The Dye Course at PGA Golf Club
The Dye Course at PGA Golf Club features some of the most elaborate bunkers east of the Mississippi. Designed by the mastermind himself, Pete Dye, and ranked in Florida’s top 20, it is as beautiful as it is challenging. Deep pot bunkers, vast coquina waste areas and devilish greens treat guests to a wildly entertaining round of golf.
The links-style layout was renovated in late 2016, and now features Celebration Bermuda, a modern strain lauded for its durability and striking hue. Additionally, all 18 greens were re-grassed with Tifeagle, an Ultra dwarf Bermuda variety praised for improving green speeds, consistent smoothness and superior color retention. This means regardless of the time of year golfers tee it up on the Dye, the course will look (and play) amazing.
Also adding to the buzz, the greens were expanded to their original sizes when the course opened in 2000, which reveal pin placements that players had not seen in years. Many will not forget the seventh hole, a dazzling par-5 featuring a massive bunker down the left side, and more beach lining the right near the hole. Boredom simply is not an option on The Dye Course.
Port St. Lucie, Florida
Full Cry at Keswick Hall & Golf Club
Full Cry at Keswick Hall & Golf Club opened in October of 2014 to wide acclaim from major golf media. The layout is ranked No. 4 in Golfweek’s “Best Courses You Can Play” in golf-rich Virginia and No. 45 in the publication’s “Best 100 Resort Courses.” Full Cry was also honored in Golf Digest’s prestigious “Best New Courses for 2015” list.
“Full Cry” is a hunting term describing the call of hounds that have found the scent and are in hot pursuit of their mark. The superb and fun-to-play 18 holes negotiates the gently sloping terrain below the luxury resort hotel’s perch on the high ground of Keswick Hall’s 600 scenic acres. Dye’s artistry is evident on every hole.
The last three holes on the back nine are as fine a finishing stretch, as you will ever find. The par-3 16th is modeled after the famous 15th “Redan” hole at Scotland’s North Berwick. With train tracks running parallel the entire length of the right side, the superlative par-5 17th is called the “Railroad Hole” and plays much longer than the yardage due to the need to fight the prevailing wind.
The tee box of the demanding par-4 No. 18 provides the crescendo of the layout with a panoramic view of the sprawling Hunt Country, serene mountains in the horizon, and the majestic inn above. Full Cry is truly a delightful place to tee it up, as it beautifully showcases Dye’s imagination and genius.
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort
In July, Nemacolin upped its ante significantly in the golf world with the opening of its splendid new Shepherd’s Rock course. Designed by Pete Dye and Tim Liddy, the 7,151-yard layout presents extraordinary golf in a spectacular setting atop the scenic Allegheny Mountains.
The stout 3,834-yard front nine is strapping, and wide open with jaw-dropping vistas and ample landing areas off the tee. The dramatic par-5 ninth, under the gaze of Nemacolin’s Five-Diamond Falling Rock boutique hotel, boasts a sloped green occupying the property’s high ground and a single, magnificent oak tree standing sentinel on the right.
Shepherd’s Rock’s tree-lined, 3,317-yard back nine is a shot-maker’s paradise with its rippling fairways flanked by ever-present Dye-created mounds, natural wetlands and cleverly designed putting surfaces. Ball positioning is crucial, especially on the challenging par-4 18th. Destined to be regarded as one of golf’s best finishing holes, No. 18 demands a long and well-placed tee shot with a picturesque water hazard guarding the green. It is a thrilling finish.
The new course is the ideal complement to the resort’s Pete Dye-designed Mystic Rock. The former venue of the PGA Tour’s 84 Lumber Classic, the superb par-72 layout stretches to over 7,500 yards and features five sets of tees, making the course more than playable for golfers of all abilities. Caddies are included in the green fee for both courses, making the golf experience something to long savor.
Pound Ridge Golf Club
Pound Ridge stretches over 172 acres of thickly wooded hills in Westchester County, less than an hour north of New York City. Owned by global entrepreneur Ken Wang, it is the only Pete Dye design in the state.
Dye crafted this modern marvel with the help of his son Perry, and long-time shaper, Michael Langkau. Dye’s wife, Alice, was deeply involved with the design and tee placements at Pound Ridge, providing two sets of rated tees for women.
The par-72, 7,100-yard layout is well known for its plentiful rock formations scattered throughout the undulating fairways. Among the most challenging holes at Pound Ridge is the famed par 5, hole 13, where a massive boulder in the middle of the fairway forces a tough decision off the tee.
Despite the unpredictable and daunting features of Dye’s courses, the living legend strives to bring out the best in all golfers. The demanding nature of Pound Ridge encourages players to take risks, and ultimately makes for a more rewarding (and memorable) experience.
Pound Ridge, New York
The Sea Pines Resort
Few destinations can match The Sea Pines Resort when it comes to offering a bounty of world-class golf courses with amenities to match. The flagship of the resort, Harbour Town Golf Links, is as renowned a layout as there is in the game. Designed by Pete Dye, the Lowcountry gem is the annual host of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing.
Complementing Harbour Town perfectly is the resort’s Dye-designed Heron Point. The layout has received significant recognition since Dye was retained in 2015 to tweak his original design with a series of subtle modifications. His efforts were applauded, and culminated in Heron Point being named “2015 Course of the Year” by the Lowcountry Golf Course Owners Association.
Not to be missed while at Sea Pines are visits to the spectacular 44,000-square-foot Harbour Town Clubhouse, named the 2016 “Best New Public Clubhouse” by Golf Inc. Magazine. The resort’s 23,000-square-foot Plantation Golf Club was awarded the 2015 “New Clubhouse of the Year” by the same publication.
Hilton Head, South Carolina