Interview With Pete Dye - World-Renowned Golf Course Designer
A Light Hearted Golf Q & A Interview
By Brian Weis
Below is an interview with Pete Dye, world-renowned golf course designer. Considered in many circles to be the most influential golf course architect of the last five decades, Pete is now in his 80's and still designing golf courses. Notable courses include TPC at Sawgrass, Whistling Straits, Harbour Town Golf Links and Brickyard Crossing Golf Course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In 2003, he received the Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. In 2005, he became the sixth recipient of the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, Dye was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2008.
The following are a few traditional and non traditional golf centric questions that I love to ask influential people in the golf industry.
What is your current home course?
I live in Indianapolis, right on the golf course at Crooked Stick. That is the course where I took Alice's advice and raised the money to buy the land and build the golf course.
To date, what is your proudest golf accomplishment?
I went down to the Dominican Republic in 1968 and they asked me to build a course in the capital, Santo Domingo. They didn't have much water and the land was poor and I asked if they owned any other land. They said yes but no one would go there. They had a big sugar farm east of Santo Domingo about 60 miles and there was 500,000 acres. So I convinced them to show me and we had to get there by dirt road. When I got there I noticed there wasn't a tree on the land, it was nothing but rock but it was right along the edge of the ocean. So I begged them to build a golf course there and they reassured me no one would come. So I begged some more and then started building the course.
The natives called the sharp rock near the ocean, the Teeth of the Dog. To date I have built 5 courses there. I designed them and built them including all infrastructure. Now there is an airport there with flights from New York and Miami. Today, 50,000 people have jobs there.
What is your biggest golf pet peeve on or off the course?
The game has changed a lot since way back in the 1900's. I got a letter in my office from Donald Ross dated 1923, with him complaining that the ball was traveling too far. The ball has gained a lot of distant over the last 15 years. That has escalated the cost of maintenance and has created a big separation between the golf pro and the lady who hits it 140 yards. Jack Nicklaus used to hit the ball 260 and a lady hit it 140. Today, the ladies are still hitting it 140 and the pro is hitting it 330. The pros are now 70 yards longer and that is just with the driver. Their second shots are longer too. There is such a big separation that we didn't have 20 years ago.
What is your favorite golf destination?
The Dominican Republic.
What course is on your bucket list that you have not played yet?
I played most of the old courses in the United States and played everything in Scotland and Ireland. There is nothing I want to play because I played them all.
If you woke up tomorrow and could play one course you played before, where would you play?
Well, if I played one of my own I would go back to Teeth of the Dog in Dominican Republic. Golf courses are like women you like a blonde one day and a redhead the next and a brunette the day after. I really do not have a favorite golf course but I enjoy going to different courses.
If you could change one aspect, rule or thing about golf, what would it be and why?
I think someday in the future there should be a different set of rules for the pro and the amateur. The pros are hitting it so far. Some how you have to restrict the pros without restricting the amateur who shots 90.
Dream foursome (living)?
I better say my wife. (chuckle) I have been fortunate enough to play with Nicklaus, Palmer and Hogan. There is no one else coming to mind. I just love to play golf. I play every Saturday and it doesn't make any difference who I am playing with. I played with George W Bush just two days ago. I played with him a few times in the Dominican. I enjoy playing with different people.
((Note: I interjected here and mentioned my dream foursome is my dad, John Daly and you. There was a long huge laugh.))
Dream foursome (living or dead)?
I never gave that a thought.
18 Rapid Fire, Off The Cuff Questions
1) Hitting Long Drive OR Sinking Long Putt?
2) Having Round of Life OR Hole in One?
Round of my life
3) Golfing at the crack of dawn OR twilight?
4) Hit a power fade OR power draw?
I like a draw
5) Beverage cart OR halfway house?
6) Bathroom OR bushes?
7) Hot dog OR wrap?
8) Around the green, being in sand OR thick rough?
9) Walking OR riding?
Walking...I never ride those wheel chairs.
10) Do you carry traditional 3 iron OR hybrid?
I still have my Hogan 3 iron
11) Do you prefer long par 3 OR long par 5?
Long Par 3
12) Pants OR Shorts?
13) Palmer OR Nicklaus?
14) Beatles OR Elvis?
15) Play for fun OR play for money?
Play for Fun
16) Bump and run OR flop shot?
17) Lay up OR gamble?
18) 18 holes OR 36?
Revised: 09/13/2011 - Article Viewed 32,626 Times
Written By: Brian Weis
Brian Weis is the Publisher of GolfTrips.com, a network of golf travel and directory sites including GolfWisconsin.com, GolfMichigan.com, ArizonaGolfer.com, GolfAlabama.com, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.
All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched GolfWisconsin.com. In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and GolfTrips.com was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like GolfTrips.com, GolfGuide.com and GolfPackages.com. It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.
On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.
Contact Brian Weis:
GolfTrips.com - Publisher and Golf Traveler