Pete Dye: My Life in Pictures

1 of 9 Caryn Levy/Getty Images
Even at 86, Pete Dye isn't the retiring kind. The visionary designer of TPC Sawgrass (Stadium), host of this month's Players Championship, is as busy as ever. Among other projects, he's currently tweaking Kiawah Island's Ocean Course and Whistling Straits for the 2012 and 2015 PGA Championships, respectively. Fifty years after completing his first 18-hole course, the "Marquis de Sod" takes a photographic stroll down memory lane.
2 of 9 Rolling Greens
TICKET TO RIDE Here's my wife, Alice, on the first course we ever built, El Dorado, south of Indianapolis [circa 1959]. I was peddling life insurance, but I was interested in golf courses. I was asked to design nine holes.El Dorado crossed the creek 13 times! The president of the University of Michigan played it and asked me to build a new course there. I told him, "I'm in insurance." But I built the course [Radrick Farms], and I've been building them ever since.
3 of 9 Rolling Greens
DOG DAY AFTERNOON This was taken in 1981 at Long Cove, at Hilton Head. I'm still involved in the club. That's me, Alice and Sunday -- a great dog! We had German shepherds all our lives.
4 of 9 Ken May/Rolling Greens
BIG STICK Here's the 18th hole at Crooked Stick [in Carmel, Ind.]. It's our home course. We love Crooked Stick. We have a home by the 18th hole.
5 of 9 Chris Condon/PGA Tour/Getty Images
FEAR FACTOR My most controversial hole, the 17th at TPC Sawgrass, was Alice's idea. When we built the Stadium course at the TPC [in 1980], I kept digging and digging in a low, swampy area. We ended up with a great big hole. I said, "What do I do now?" Alice said, "Make an island green that plays 130 yards." The green is 5,000 square feet. You should be able to hit it. But something happens to these great players at 17. They think about it and hit poor shots. First time I played it was with Alice. I hit an 8-iron to the middle. I said, "This isn't too hard." She said, "It's different when the only people watching are your wife and a frog." The next one I put in the water.
6 of 9 Rolling Greens
FLOOR PLANS I don't draw too many plans, so this must either be the start of a project or the end of one. At some point, I'm usually on the floor.
7 of 9 Ken May/Rolling Greens
DIRE STRAITS The third hole at Whistling Straits, in Kohler, Wis. On the tee, the green seems to hang in the water. When I first went up there, I saw a sign: "Kohler, Wisconsin -- population, 1,332." I wondered, "Why would anyone want to build a course here?" Well, I've built four, and I'm getting it ready for the 2015 PGA Championship.
8 of 9 Ken May/Rolling Greens
JACK & ME Here's Jack and me playing [in the 1980s] at Pebble Beach. Jack has been a great friend for many years. He beat me in the [1958] Trans-Mississippi Amateur. In speeches he tells people he beat Pete Dye to get into the Masters. He forgets that the following year, I beat him at Inverness. He doesn't bring that up! [Laughs]
9 of 9 Ken May/Rolling Greens
SHORE THING Kiawah's 13th hole. I've been working [on the Ocean Course] for a year and a half, getting it ready for the PGA Championship in August. I put in back tees that I thought would never be used. [PGA course-setup czar] Kerry Hague said, "We're gonna use these tees." I'm looking forward to a great PGA Championship at the Ocean Course.