18 favorite holes designed by golf course architect Pete Dye you can play (that aren't island greens)

The 11th hole on the Dye Course at French Lick features an incredible vantage point from the tee. If the wind is cooperating, you can also move a box or two up and play it as a drivable par 4. (Courtesy of French Lick Springs Hotel)
The par-5 16th hole on the PLAYERS Stadium at TPC Sawgrass demands tremendous ball-striking and pinpoint strategy to reach the small, peninsula green in two shots. (Courtesy of TPC Sawgrass)
It's not quite an island, but the par-3 5th hole at Teeth of Dog at Casa de Campo juts out into the Caribbean Sea. (Courtesy of the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism)
The 13th hole of the Irish Course at Whistling Straits, "Blind Man's Bluff" is a partially blind shot over dunes from an elevated tee, and one of the most Irish-feeling holes on the 36-hole property. (Courtesy of The American Club)
On the River Course at Blackwolf Run, the view of the 9th green and the flicker of a flag 300-360 yards away is textbook Pete Dye temptation. When you get to this fork in the fairway, the treasure map that leads to golden scores suggests you go left. (Matt Ginella/Golf Advisor)
Another dogleg hole by Dye that reveals a stellar view, the par-5 8th hole at Full Cry at Keswick Club is long, but is framed by a magnificent backdrop of the hotel and mountains. (Courtesy of Keswick Club)
The sixth hole on the Sun Mountain Course at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort has plenty of bunkers equipped with Pete Dye's famous railroad ties. (Courtesy of Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort)
The 598-yard fifth hole at Nemacolin Woodlands' Mystic Rock course finishes near a pond with a statue of John Daly on an island in the water. Dye built two greens on the hole to create multiple angles of attack, a feature he incorporated on the par-3 12th (Courtesy of Nemacolin Woodlands)
Pete Dye loves to play with your mind on the tee, and the par-4 7th hole, just 346 yards, begs golfers to cut off as much as they can, but water creeps in on the right the whole way, while bunkers await left. (Courtesy of PGA West)
The short, third hole of the Ocean Course has been immortalized forever after Rory McIlroy's ball landed in the tree and never came out during the 2012 PGA Championship. (Courtesy of Kiawah Island)
On the finishing hole at Kingsmill's River Course, the tee shot is to a diagonal fairway running away from players, who must take on bunkers and a water hazard to put the ball in a good spot for an easier approach. (Courtesy of Kingsmill Resort)
So many 18th holes by Pete Dye are arduous par 4s, which makes the risk-reward par-5 finisher at TPC Louisiana so refreshing. (Courtesy of TPC Network)
Pete Dye has a design near the Monterey Peninsula at Carmel Valley Ranch. The signature par-4 11th hole hugs a hillside and curves left and up to an elevated, well-protected green. (Reviewer 'Michael2920799'/Golf Advisor)
At the Dye Course at Barefoot Resort in North Myrtle Beach, the 10th hole is a short, but nervy tee shot. A small bailout right of the green eggs on golfers to hit driver. (Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor)
Pete Dye's wife Alice played a crucial role in designing some of Dye's most famous holes. Harbour Town's 13th, a sharp dogleg par 4, requires accuracy off the tee, and even more precision to hold a short iron on this artistically defended green. (Matt Ginella/Golf Advisor)
Dye made the most of resurrected lakefront with an impressive collection of par 3s at the Straits. None is more impressive and intimidating than the 17th, "Pinched Nerve." Playing up to 249 yards, this is Dye's version of a drivable par 4, especially when (Matt Ginella/Golf Advisor)
The 8th hole of the AT&T Canyons Course at TPC San Antonio is a linksy, uphill par 3 with an infinity backdrop that is often susceptible to winds. (Mike Bailey/Golf Advisor)
Who says Dye doesn't have a soft side? On the 18th hole at Meadow Valleys, there are alternate greens on either side of the Sheboygan River. (Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor )

No man is an island, and the saying goes for golf course architect Pete Dye, too. The island green on the PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass may be to Dye what Stairway to Heaven is to Led Zeppelin: don't let the epic hit keep you from enjoying some of the deeper cuts.

No golf course architect has a more distinctive look to their courses than Dye's, which feature wicked pot bunkers, railroad ties and generally smallish greens that are well protected by mounds and collection areas. He is largely credited for bridging the gap between the more traditional golf course design that ended with Robert Trent Jones Sr., and spawned a new era of modern construction and design principals. His family tree of architects to work for him and then go on to their own careers is unprecedented.

Ginella on the Pete Dye family tree of golf course architects


Some architects may try and set up a hole to look appealing from the tee for the average golfer. Dye generally tends to go the other direction.

"He wants you to be uncomfortable, he wants you to feel a little awkward," said Geoff Shackelford in this Morning Drive segment on Dye's design principals. Dye, who won the Indiana Amateur Championship and also qualified for the U.S. Open before his design career, seeks to identify the best golfers by rewarding those who take the most risks.

"The closer you play to trouble," said John Cook. "The easier your approach shot is going to be into these really small sections of greens you have to put the ball into He visually tries to intimidate you."

With that in mind, the Golf Advisor Staff and I have gone through our favorite publicly accessible Pete Dye golf course designs we've played to select our favorite 18 holes. The catch? None can be an island green, a hole template that has certainly been replicated by Dye and other architects through the years. We've also only selected one hole per course. We also limited the amount of 18th holes to feature, since often times they are a long and watery dogleg par 4. You'll find a few selections from his home state of Indiana, as well as the Destination Kohler golf resort mecca, home to four championship courses split between Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits. The Straits Course, a 2010 and 2015 PGA Championship host, will also host the 2020 Ryder Cup Matches (the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Resort hosted the famed 1991 "War by the Shore" Ryder Cup and 2012 PGA Championship).

We've done our best to find a variety of hole designs, from short to long, in all sorts of topographies, that employ some combination of beauty, strategy and high, Dye-style drama. There are high-end golf resort courses plus some more affordable daily-fee golf clubs.

Video: Shackelford on Dye's design strategy and influence

May 08, 2017

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Brandon Tucker

Managing Editor

Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Advisor. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at BrandonTuckerGC.

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