It would have taken a psychic with special powers to predict that Pete Dye would become one of America’s most famous golf course designers. A Second World War paratrooper, a successful insurance salesman, a fine amateur golfer, a skilled greenskeeper and happily married, Pete had reached his early thirties and seemed settled and content. “In those days, I never had the urge to design a golf course,” he said. “But I have always been interested in golf course maintenance.”
He grew up with golf literally in his backyard. His father, a devotee of the game, built a 9-hole course on his wife’s farm in Urbana, Ohio, and that was where Pete learned to play and look after a golf course.
“One day in 1960 when I was selling insurance,” he recalled, “a farmer asked if my wife, Alice, and I would build him a 9-hole course in his housing development.”
That was the beginning.
Whatever you call him – designer, builder, architect – his list of credits is extraordinary. But, how does Pete want to be remembered? In his autobiography’s epilogue, he evokes Donald Ross’s dictum, “My work will tell my story.” He hopes that his courses also will tell his story, that golfers, no matter how much they “kick and curse,” will always find a trip around a Pete Dye golf course a “memorable” experience. Given the abundant evidence (and The Dye Preserve is part of that legacy), there is no reason to suppose they will be disappointed.