50 Courses, 50 States, 50 Days: Pete Dye Course is Stop #2

You couldn’t miss Dion Reid on Friday morning at The Pete Dye Course at French Lick. The guy in the black-and-white checkered Indy 500 golf pants. If you didn’t know better, he looked a Hoosier through and through.

Well … Hoosier for a day, at least.

By the time you read this, Dion will probably be on a golf course somewhere in Michigan. Or maybe New Hampshire or Arkansas or Montana. Or anywhere, really, because Dion is hitting pretty much every corner of the U.S. on a journey that’s just getting started.

50 rounds of golf, in 50 states, in 50 consecutive days. All for a worthy cause, as Dion’s goal is to raise $50,000 to benefit St. Jude Children’s Hospital. This is above and beyond bucket-list stuff. It’s 900 holes of golf, over the course of 7 weeks, spanning thousands of miles, no days off.  

“The first five days won’t be that hard. Day 45 might be a little rough,” Dion says with a laugh, “but we’ll figure it out.”

Dion turned — you guessed it — 50 years old earlier in April, and he first started planning this golf odyssey two years ago. Day 1 of 50 was Thursday in Tennessee. Day 2 brought him to French Lick for the Indiana leg of the journey. So why French Lick, of the hundreds of golf courses in the state?

“You guys had a charging station,” Dion says, and having someplace to charge his Tesla was actually a primary consideration when plotting out his journey.

“And, I’ve always wanted to play this course,” says Dion, who’d been to French Lick once before to play The Donald Ross Course. “As part of my trip, I decided I’d have a little bit of fun as well — play a couple courses that are a little extra, you know? And it’s a beautiful place up here.”

Dion was treated to a quintessential Pete Dye morning — sunny skies and a bold orange sunrise peeking through a blanket of fog. He realizes the weather might not always cooperate. But he’s bound to play through rain and foul weather if he can (think the famous scene from “Caddyshack,” he likes to joke), and even if a course closes for the day due to weather he plans to ask permission to at least hit a drive from the opening tee — just to say he hit a ball on the course.

He crammed the Tesla full of 50 plastic bins, each with a special pair of golf pants and shirt for each state, along with travel toiletries so he never has to worry about luggage or laundry. A software developer who’s wired to think in logic, even Dion admits that Hawaii and Alaska proved to be “a logistical nightmare.” (Those are legs #31 and #32, and you can click here to see how he’s planning to pull it off in the middle of the trip.) And he still has about 20 tee times that he has to call and book while he’s on the road.

The ride, the 50 bins for each day ... and somehow managing to stuff them all in a Tesla.

And it’s all up to him, because this is a solo journey. (Unless you count his stuffed traveling companion, who has his own Instagram page to document the journey.) The road ends June 17 at Dion’s home course, Traditions Golf Club in Hebron, Kentucky, just outside his home in Cincinnati.

He’s no stranger to adventure, and has tackled a cross-country road trip before. But considering Dion arrived at French Lick on Thursday night and figured he might not sleep that night because he was so excited, the drive to complete 50 in 50 is in full throttle.

“This is a little bit more intense,” he says, “but it’s a challenge, and I’m having a good time with it.”

Want to donate to Dion’s cause or track his whereabouts during his cross-country trip? Just visit his website to learn more.