News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 7, 2009

Rub of the Green: Course architect Pete Dye has had lasting impression on game

By Bob Arnett

It would seem that the more you learn about Pete Dye, the golf course architect, the more there is to admire about the man. It was decades ago when Dye determined that the insurance business was not for him, and he decided to begin designing golf courses. Even Pete, himself, in all likelihood, couldn’t have known the impact he was going to make on the golf world.

When The Cook Group offered him the opportunity to construct The Pete Dye Course at French Lick, Pete accepted the challenge with nothing more than a handshake to finalize the deal.

After being asked what would happen if he became ill and wouldn’t be able to complete his work on the French Lick course, he advised that his wife and partner, Alice O’Neal Dye was perfectly capable of finishing work on the course on time and on budget. Alice has won many golf championships throughout Indiana and beyond.

Pete Dye has no plans to retire. He still sports a seven handicap, not bad for a man of 84 who still spends several hours at a time walking a hilly course, doing what he calls, “fixing my mistakes”. His attention to detail and his meticulous grooming of a tract of land that is available to become a golf course, sets him apart from many designers.

Dye has returned to The Pete Dye Course at French Lick more that 130 times since work began on the course. It opened on time April 24, 2009.

Dye is quick to give Alice all the credit for a famous hole for which he usually gets the accolades. The watery 17th at the TPC at Sawgrass in Jacksonville, (FL) has witnessed as much or more drama as any hole anywhere. Dye indicates that it was Alice who suggested that an island green should be utilized there. He followed her advice and the rest is legendary.

Dye is usually accompanied on visits to his courses with his dog, “Sixty”. It seems that each of his dogs in the past has been named “Sixty”.

A fable is already in place concerning the clubhouse called “The Mansion” at The Pete Dye Course at French Lick. It seems that some feel that Al Capone supposedly utilized the same building as a hideout when things got too hot for him in Chicago. Perched atop an extremely high hill, the building does offer a 360-degree view of the countryside. If the cops were sneaking up the hill to capture Capone, he would have had ample time to make a clean getaway. Not many golf courses can boast an Al Capone connection.

The following is a partial listing of other courses designed or redesigned by Pete Dye: Crooked Stick (Carmel); The Honors, (Chattanooga, Tenn.); Harbour Town Links (Hilton Head Island, S.C.); Blackwolf Run (Kohler, Wis.); Teeth of the Dog, Dominican Republic; Ocean Course (Kiawah Island, S.C.); TPC at Sawgrass (Jacksonville, Fla.); PGA West Stadium Course (Palm Springs, Calif.); Whistling Straits (Kohler, Wis.); Kampen Course at Purdue (West Lafayette);

Also, Plainfield Elks (9 holes now Oak Tree Golf Course); William Sahm Golf Course (Indianapolis); Eagle Creek Golf Course (27 holes, Indianapolis); Forest Park Golf Course in Brazil; Monticello Country Club; Harbour Trees Golf Course (Noblesville); Plum Creek Country Club (Carmel); The Fort Golf Course (Indianapolis); Mystic Hill Golf Course (Culver); Brickyard Crossing Golf Course (Indianapolis) The Bridgewater Club (Auburn, Ind.); and Woodland Country Club (Carmel).

One thing is certain. The Pete Dye Course at French Lick promises to be one of his best efforts.

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Congratulations are in order for Ken Bosc, the newest member of Terre Haute Golf Association’s Hall of Fame, an honor he richly deserves. With multiple club championships at the former Elks Fort Harrison Course and Rea Park, Kenny also has a Lawrenceville Amateur Championship on his resume. Bosc has long been one of the boldest and best putters in Terre Haute. Ken’s father, Paul is also a member of the THGA Hall of Fame.

Don Tyler has put in some serious effort when it comes to improving his golf game. It has paid some big dividends when you consider that Don has posted several sub par nine hole rounds recently, namely 33, 34, and 35, all posted at River Bend Golf Course at The Landing.

Congratulations are due Chad Collins for his second place finish among all money winners on The Nationwide Tour for 2009. Now all Chad needs is the opportunity to play in up-coming PGA Tour events. Since there are several categories of eligible players, he may be required to wait until his opportunity arises to match shots with others on the big tour.

Tim Clements continues to shoot some sub-par rounds in spite of using a grip that George Amies could never understand. That always reminded me of an old axiom. “You will find good players with a bad grip, but you won’t find bad players with a good grip.” Tim has several sub par rounds to his credit this season. And George, no one knows how Clements avoids hooking with that grip!

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Backward scrambles usually signal the end of the competitive golf season. Dirk Weyls at The Landing advises that the quartet of Steve Thompson, Joe Bukovack, Mike Wagle and Frank Perry combined for a 64, good enough for a one shot victory over the runner-up team of Harvey Cabak, Jim Niemeyer, Steve Cuvelier, and Mike Harden.

At Hulman Links a foursome composed of Chris Keen, Mark Neaderhiser, Dink Simonson and Ted Collins took first place on a tiebreaker with Elliot Booe, Josh Miley, Sam Pollock and Will Pollock. Both teams fired 62s, great scores when you consider the difficulties a backward Hulman Links can present.

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Ray Goddard at Idle Creek reports that Keith Laxton was this year’s club champion and Dave Bryan won the low net division. Bryan was also the winner in the senior division which was played on a “low gross” basis.

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• Tip of the week — Don’t fall into the habit of taking to heart everything you read concerning instruction. It’s possible to learn that you have contracted a terrible malady called “paralysis by analysis.” It’s wise to go to the range and experiment with changes before adopting some new moves as part of your golf swing.

Well, it appears that golf season circa 2009 is heading for the cart barn. Now’s the time to start overhauling your swing and making plans to make 2010 season your best ever. Here’s a new year’s wish in advance for one and all, old and young. May all your drives find the fairways, may all your approaches cover the flagsticks, and may all your putts find the bottom of the cups.

Obviously, all these wishes will not come to fruition, but what of it. It never hurts to dream especially when it comes to golf.

Keep your head down and your shoestrings tied. We’ll be back.

Bob Arnett can be reached by e-mail at