Paul (“Pete”) Dye is a legend in the field of golf course design and construction throughout the expanding world of golf. Considered in many circles to be the most influential golf course architect of the last five decades, Pete comes by his career naturally. His father designed and built a nine-hole golf course on his mother’s farm in Urbana, Ohio, and Pete grew up playing and working on this course. He won the Ohio State High School Championship and was medalist in the Ohio State Amateur.
World War II interrupted his education and Pete served in the 82nd Airborne Infantry of the US Army. Pursuing a golf career after the war, he won the Indianapolis District Championship, participated in The Western Amateur and five USGA Amateurs, and played in the 1957 United States Open where he finished ahead of both Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. Although he was a champion golfer, Pete’s interest was really in the design and maintenance of a golf course.
He decided to leave the life insurance business that was his day job to devote his time to designing and building golf courses. A 1963 trip to Scotland profoundly impacted Pete’s subsequent designs. Touring the great Scottish courses, he was influenced by the features he saw: small greens, pot bunkers, undulating fairways and wooden bulkheads. He began incorporating these concepts into his own designs that began a new era of golf course architecture in the U.S.
This, in turn, influenced future golf architects and Pete has been hailed as the father of modern golf course architecture. As conservationist at heart, Pete’s drainage and irrigation designs and wetlands areas naturally help recycle and purify water that drains onto the course. His courses additionally serve as a living laboratory, combining turf grass research and environmental studies. Pete was honored by the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2008 with the lifetime achievement award. At the time of his induction, he was only the 5th architect to be inducted to the Hall.