News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Rub of the Green

October 24, 2009

RUB OF THE GREEN: French Lick course a treasure



When representatives of the Cook Group, representing the West Baden Springs Hotel, met with Dye to finalize a contract, Dye announced that a “handshake” was all that was needed, and that was it. A handshake was the contract.

When asked what would happen if Dye, approaching his 80s, became ill and could not finish constructing the course, Pete replied that his wife, Mary Alice O’Neal Dye, would have no problem completing the project and bringing it to a conclusion on budget and on time.

During her competitive days, Mary Alice O’Neal Dye was an outstanding golfer and the winner of numerous championships. She has been Pete Dye’s partner as well as his wife, and he listens intently to her advice.

Three years after construction began, The Pete Dye Course at French Lick was a reality. It opened for play on April 24, 2009. Two million yards of earth had been moved.

After entering the course, a drive up the hill to the bag drop, pro shop and clubhouse will place you at the second highest point in the state of Indiana. With a sprawling 360 acres with which to work, Dye had laid out a course that would utilize not only the natural beauty of French Lick’s high country, but also feature the characteristics of a nature preserve. Some of the animals seen frequently include wild turkeys, deer, fox, snapping turtles, killdeer and turkey buzzards.

One hundred sixty-eight greenside and fairway bunkers interrupt the winding, bent grass fairways. Golfers who want the ultimate test of their golfing prowess may select the gold tees which measure 8102 yards from the tips with an opening par four of 519 yards and another at nine measuring 532 yards. A pair of par fives on the front nine list at 643 and 613 yards respectively, whereas the par threes at numbers four and eight stretch out to 251 and 213 yards making the course the longest in the U S. west of the Mississippi River. In order to make the course more playable for golfers of all abilities five sets of tee boxes are available with suggestions as to which sets are better utilized by giving players of all ability levels an opportunity to enjoy the course. Regardless of which tees are played, rough always awaits inaccurate shots and rough could be spelled with a capital “R” when you consider it is composed of heather, fescue and winter wheat. When escaping these pitfalls, an extra strong set of wrists is recommended.

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