Pete Dye Designed Courses
This week, the PGA Tour makes what could be its final stop (for reasons having to do with sponsorship, not the golf course) at the Mystic Rock course at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa in western Pennsylvania. Located 75 miles south of Pittsburgh, this full-service resort pampers its guests with one nicety after the next, with one ego-bruising exception-the Pete Dye-designed Mystic Rock layout. Originally opened in 1995, the course first hosted the Tour in 2003, where it proved no match for the pros, so Nemacolin owner Joe Hardy brought Dye back to lengthen holes, shrink and recontour greens and bring more hazards into play. The result? Only eight players broke 280 in the 2005 event. Jason Gore managed to two-putt the final green from way downtown to claim his first PGA Tour win.
- [LIST "TPC Sawgrass (Stadium Course), Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Nowhere else will you experience the full force of Pete Dye's design skills than at the forerunner of all TPCs. Even with the advances in equipment, the island-green, par-3 17th and boomerang-shaped, par-4 18th remain as scary as the day they opened in 1981. Waste bunkers, huge spectator mounds, semi-blind shots, grass bunkers-they're all on display here at the home of the PGA Tour's Players Championship."]
[LIST "Bulle Rock, Havre de Grace, Md."]
Next to crab cakes, this 1998 Pete Dye design is Maryland's top attraction for visiting golfers. Home to the McDonald's LPGA Championship, an LPGA Tour Major, Bulle (pronounced "Bully") Rock is situated 40 minutes north of Baltimore and gallops over tree-lined, rolling terrain, with holes built on a massive scale. Huge hazards protect wide fairways and ample putting surfaces. Yet, despite golf this big, the emphasis is on course management, not power, which explains the enormous success that Annika Sorenstam enjoys. Bulle Rock closes with one of the Mid-Atlantic's most memorable holes, a 485-yard par-4 with water down the entire left side.
- [LIST "Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Resort, Kiawah Island, S.C."]
Dye had to scramble just to finish this one in time for the 1991 Ryder Cup Match, affectionately known as "The War by the Shore," but the real winner was the battlefield itself. So tough was this wind-blown, Charleston-area, seaside layout when it first opened that Ray Floyd speculated no one would break 80 if it were hosting a strokeplay event. After a couple of design tweaks, the Ocean has been softened somewhat to make it more playable for regular folks, but just try parring the dune-laden par-5 16th, the over-the-lake, par-3 17th and the adjacent-to-the-ocean, par-4 18th on a windy day and then try and tell me it's a "soft" golf course.
|Joe Passov is the Architecture and Course Ratings Editor of GOLF MAGAZINE. E-mail him your questions and thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org|