By Joy Neighbors
The Pete Dye Golf Course has been called a golfer’s paradise. It’s rated as the number one course in Indiana and ranks in the Top 100 of courses around the country. This iconic course was designed by the legendary golf architect Pete Dye in 2007.
|Original Napkin Plan|
Dye originally turned down the offer to create the course, saying the Mt. Airie location would be too difficult to redesign; he felt that the land was too hilly and the slopes too severe. But after thinking it over, Dye decided he couldn’t pass up the challenge. He showed up at the resort and sketched his ideas on a napkin. He later said that he decided to “build the course whether they want me to or not." (Dye was no stranger to the resort, he won the 1957 Midwest Amateur Championship, playing on the beautiful Hilltop Course designed by the legendary Donald Ross.)
|The Pete Dye Course|
Dye has played golf since childhood and helped his father build a nine-hole course on their Ohio farm. He won several amateur tourneys and continued to rise in the ranks until he was a championship golfer. But his interest in course maintenance and design continued to grow. During the 1950s, he designed two courses located near Indianapolis but it was a trip to Scotland in 1963 that truly influenced his style: undulating fairways, wooden bulkheads and pot bunkers became a part of his iconic designs. Dye has been called the father of the modern golf course and hailed as the most influential golf course architect of the last five decades. At the age of 90, Pete Dye is still designing courses worldwide.
Andy Fortner, Head PGA Professional at the Pete Dye Course reported that it's very challenging. “The distance and very narrow fairways; the slope and terrain; it’s just very visually intimidating, but most golfers like a challenge on the course. And it’s just tough to have a bad day up here with the views.”
The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort officially opened in 2009 and held its first major PGA event during the summer of 2010. Since then the course has hosted numerous PGA, Senior PGA and LGPA Championships including the Legends Championship Tour last weekend. The 18-hole course is a par 72 with volcanic bunkers, three man-made lakes and a variety of elevations – all surrounded by that breath-taking 40-mile panoramic view.
|Dye Course on a Foggy Hoosier Morning|
When asked what he loved about working here Fortner replied, “I like it because it’s not so crazy-busy as other courses. That give us more personal time with the guests and we get to know them better. We want guests to feel at home, like this is their private club for the day. I love watching people who have never been here before – they’re just blown away by the views and vistas.”
Pete Dye Course
8670 W State Road 56
Open daily 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
No. 2 Casino Course in the U.S., Links Magazine, 2014
No. 27, Top 100 Best Resort Courses, GolfWeek Magazine, 2014
No. 93, America’s 100 Greatest Courses, Golf Digest Magazine, February 2013
No. 17, America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses, Golf Digest Magazine, February 2013
Indiana Golf Course of the Year, NGCOA, 2012
Top 3 Finalist, NGCOA, 2012
Indiana Course of the Year, Indiana Golf Course Owners Association, 2012
No. 1 Course in Indiana, GolfWeek’s Best You Can Play, 2011 - 2015
Top 100 Best Public Courses, Golf Digest, 2010
No. 5 Best Casino Course, GolfWeek Magazine, 2010
Best Public Course in Indiana, GOLF Magazine, 2010, 2012, 2014
Indiana’s Best Course You Can Play, GolfWeek Magazine, 2010
America’s Best New Public Course, Golf Digest, 2009
Best New Course of the Year, Golf Magazine, 2009
Rated One of The Best New Courses, Links Magazine, 2009