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Pete Dye, Overrated

89 posts in this topic

Thoughts? Is Pete Dye over-rated as a golf course designer?

I like Sawgrass. But that's about it. I think his earlier courses in general tend to be better than his later ones.

We played the National Club Pro at French Lick's Pete Dye course this year, and it was stupid. Pete Dye seems to confuse "unfair" with "difficult." I've never seen so many good shots get punished, and by "good" I mean "good" - these weren't shots that were pulled or pushed slightly, etc. Some of the fairways were literally eight yards wide and SLOPED quite a bit.

I think he's completely over-rated, and incapable of building a golf course that can be enjoyed.

Again, I'm speaking more of the past 20 years or so, maybe 15, and I've not played even the majority of 'em, but I've seen or walked or played a healthy percentage.
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Pete Dye seems to confuse "unfair" with "difficult." I've never seen so many good shots get punished, and by "good" I mean "good" - these weren't shots that were pulled or pushed slightly, etc. Some of the fairways were literally eight yards wide and SLOPED quite a bit.

This has been my impression of the Dye courses I have played.
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I forgot - the Jones brothers may be more over-rated. Or Fazio. But it's a close race, and I think Dye may be in the lead.

Shame, too. I really like Sawgrass.
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Sawgrass was fun, and the valley course played well. Its a bitch to walk here in FL. If you dont pull a Tiger and spray your drive, the "valley" part of it kinda funnels your ball into the fairway. A few of this courses in Myrtle are fun, but then again, a typical single digit handicap shouldn't be making a 9 from the fairway on a par 4.
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Dye's earliest courses were rather modest in length (consider Harbour Town and pre-2000s Sawgrass), and stood out for the strategic challenge they presented in contrast to the Robert Trent Jones "long, narrow, and straight" model of championship golf (think Hazeltine and Firestone). As was the case with the elder Jones later on in his career, Dye's work has become so oriented on testing the top 1% of golfers that it absolutely alienates the other 99% of us.
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Harbour Town, yes, another good early Dye course. It really is just his courses in the past 15 or so years.
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Dye Courses I've played. List found on wikipedia... there may be more?

- Carlton Oaks Country Club (Dunes Course)[4] - Santee, CA.
Ugly, can't stand it. That being said, Its hard, but not tricked up hard. It just doesn't fit my eye and I just haven't got the hang of the place yet. Holds first stage PGA QSchool.

- La Quinta Resort and Club (Dunes Course) - La Quinta [5]
- La Quinta Resort and Club (Mountain Course) - La Quinta [6]
- The Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa (South Course)- Ranch Mirage
All three resort style courses, so not hard at all and quite fun to play!

- PGA West (Stadium Course) - La Quinta
In my top 3 golf courses I've played. PGA QSchool final stage. I would not consider this tricked up, just a good challenge.

- Lost Canyons Golf Club (Shadow Course) - Simi Valley
- Lost Canyons Golf Club (Sky Course) - Simi Valley
Garbage, just not fun. Everyone around here calls this place Lost Balls cause you're gonna lose a grip. These are the only two of the bunch that I'd consider more "unfair" then "difficult".

- Paiute Golf Club Resort (Snow Mountain, Sun Mountain and Wolf Courses) - Las Vegas [34]
Have played all three. Snow and Sun are quite nice and fun. Wolf is the upper class of the three in terms of design and difficulty. I really enjoyed them all. It helps that they are on an Indian reservation and get as much water as necessary to keep them in perfect condition.
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Mine opened in 1971, which originally was made for TRW employees. It is great and challenging and can be very long. Too bad some rich dude bought it last year and now might sell it to the city, which they plan on making it a park. Seriously how do you take a course that has hosted am tournaments and is always in digests top for Ohio into a park?

Not finalized yet, as the city would lose a ton of money in taxes if they do so.
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The one thing I really dislike about his courses is something you mentioned already: how you can hit a great shot and still get royally screwed from it. Aesthetically, his courses look really nice but they annoy me.
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Very overrated. I like Sawgrass and Harbor Town, just based on what I have seen/heard about them. My favorite architect is Donald Ross.
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Supposedly Maple Creek in Indianapolis is his first ever 18 hole course. I enjoyed it when I played there and did not find it to be extraordinarily difficult, even at my level. I played with a friend who typically shoots in the 80s and he did fairly well (though it was a new course for him too).

http://www.maplecreekgc.com/
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People either love or hate Dye courses. I guess I fall into the "hate" category. I really liked TPC Sawgrass, but the original layout is nothing like what you see today. It has been reworked a number of times because of player complaints (remember the quote: "It looks like they buried an elephant on the greens"?). I have also played Red Mountain Ranch in Arizona - The greens were all 3 or 4 level, so if you weren't on the right level, just mark down a three putt. Not a fun day.

Of all the designers, my favorite is Tom Fazio. His courses at Primm Valley at the Nevada/California border and at World Woods in Florida are a pleasure to play. I also like Arnold Palmer/Ed Seay designs, as it seems they are set up to be golfer friendly. A challenge for low hdcps, but not punative for higher hdcps.
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I don't mind the occasional forced carry, but I think island greens are a bad idea. That's all I have to say about Pete Dye.
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I also forgot to mention Wintonbury Hills, a great municipal course in Bloomfield, CT that Pete Dye did in 2005 for a fee of $1. Golfweek rated it the #1 Municipal Course in New England and #11 in the country.
http://www.wintonburyhills.com/index.php
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Pete Dye started out designed decent but challenging layouts. He peaked at Sawgrass and has now turned into a mad scientist. Designing a course that is functionally unplayable doesn't make you a great designer, it just makes you a douche bag.

I played a Jones Jr. yesterday that was absolutely uninspiring but still very enjoyable.

I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about Nicklaus' designs. Some I like, others are terribad!
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I played Fowler's Mill in the Cleveland area and liked the design. It's one of his earlier works I think.

http://www.fowlersmillgc.com/sites/c...889&page;=49976

Never played anything he designed recently. I can afford them, but I can't bring myself to pay that much for his courses.

For those prices, I'd expect a caddie to be included, free lunch (and a well cooked one at that), free range balls, free course guide and all day play. And with all that, I still think it's overpriced.
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I played a course in the Dominican Republic back in Fenbruary that was a Pete Dye design from 2008...although it was pretty, it was stupid. Standing in the fairway and you can\t see the top of the green, unless you have a caddie that knows the slopes/size/pin placement of the greens, it was stupid.

The coloured flags telling you pin position were useless because you couldn't even tell the shape of the green half the time.

Some of the fairways were narrow but not too bad, it were the greens that were a nightmare.

I shot 110 first round, 102 second round, and 92 third round.
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