Page 8-12 From Winter 2009 Florida Golf Magazine ©Copyright 2009, All Rights Reserved. Subscribe at

Golf Course Architect Pete Dye is shown here giving an acceptance speech at World Golf Hall Fame Induction Ceremony on 11/10/08.
Golf Course Architect Pete Dye is shown here giving an acceptance speech at World Golf Hall Fame Induction Ceremony on 11/10/08.

Pete Dye holds his trophy as he is being inducted at the 2008 World Golf Hall Fame Induction Ceremony in St Augustine Florida.
Pete Dye holds his trophy as he is being inducted at the 2008 World Golf Hall Fame Induction Ceremony in St Augustine Florida.

When Pete Dye Speaks, People Listen.

          Pete Dye is normally a man of few words. But he gave an excellent acceptance speech at the 2008 World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on 11/10/08. The world-renown ASGCA Golf Course Architect spoke to the audience filled with golf celebrities and industry dignitaries like he would to a group of old friends, which many of them were.
          He graciously thanked several of the people that he had worked with during his long illustrious career, but mostly he kept it upbeat and entertaining, as he told jokes while cronologically detailing many of the highlights of his life.
          Dye was introduced onto the stage at the induction ceremony by his long time friend and fellow World Golf Hall of Fame member, Greg Norman, whose words are transcribed here, verbatim.

Greg Norman as viewed on one of two giant screens while introducing inductee, Pete Dye at the 2008 World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on 11/10/08.Greg Norman as viewed on one of two giant screens while introducing inductee, Pete Dye at the 2008 World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on 11/10/08.

GREG NORMAN: Ladies and gentlemen, before we get into talking about Pete, I need to talk about a young lady who's sitting down here in the audience, and that young lady's name is Alice Dye. Last week I was in a meeting on Thursday at about 10:00 o'clock in the morning, and my secretary kept coming in to me and saying, there's a lady on the phone who would like to speak to you. I said, take a message and I'll call her back. About 40 minutes later my secretary comes back into the meeting and said, excuse me, this lady is still on the phone and she'd like to speak to you now. I said, who is that? She said, it's Alice Dye. I said, tell her I'll call her back in a few minutes.
          About 40 minutes later I go back and I call up Alice. Alice said, "Greg, we'd like you to come and introduce Pete for his induction into the Hall of Fame," and she said, "You're our No. 2 choice." I said, "Boy, Alice, you really know how to make me feel good." So she explained about Deane Beman, and Deane I know unfortunately couldn't be here tonight, and we wish you all the best for your recovery from your surgery.
But Alice was there in her wonderful style and her directness and very poignant approach towards "get your ass here".
And this is what I love about Alice and Pete Dye. They've been a team beyond all teams, and if the World Golf Hall of Fame could induct two people at the same time, Alice should be up here with Pete at the same time. But that's no slight on Pete.

          We all know Pete Dye. For some of us have played his golf courses and some of us haven't played his golf courses, he's been a player who's really tested us. He's been a designer who's really tested us even more. For those of you who have played with Pete Dye, I don't know how he can be such a brilliant architect because he is the worst golfer God ever put on this planet! All he does is hit low, flat, snap-hooks, and for him to build these golf courses with such small greens, such penal bunkers is beyond my imagination, but it's a true testament to the individual that he really is.
          I got my love for golf course design from Pete, and I got my love for golf course design by the attitude and the approach he took me down. He told me, “Greg, you know what, everybody looks at the green grass, they look at how fast the greens are, how good the tees are, put a flag on the green, put the tee markers on the tee and then go play. They never really look at what happens underneath that grass.”
          Pete taught me an invaluable lesson about sub-surface structure of golf course construction, and Pete is a genius. Pete is a genius with the environment, he's a genius the way he protects the environment, and he's a genius the way he creates the irrigation and creates drainage. And beyond all that, Pete has the wisdom to be able to picture golf shots in his mind that are going to test the best players in the world.
          And in 1993, I was down there collaborating with Pete at the Medalist Golf Club, and just before I left the Medalist Golf Club, I said, I think I'm going to go up there to Jacksonville to the TPC Sawgrass. I said, I'm going to shoot an extremely low number up there; I can't remember whether I said 24-under. He looked at me and said, "Hah, sure you will." I couldn't wait to get back to Pete. I said, "Okay, Pete, is that all you've got?"
          But at the end of the day, our relationship has gone on and on and on, and it's an honor for me to be standing up here to introduce Pete. He's a spritely, as he puts it, half of 166. He's been around the game of golf longer than many of us down here have played, and as I said, and I read in a book one time where Pete said, "Golfers love to be punished," and how true is that? How many of us out here really love to play the game of golf but get very bored when you're playing a very boring golf course?
          Pete has the ability to make you remember every shot you've played for the 18 holes you've played that day, and that's a very, very rare talent indeed. He designs golf courses that challenge the best players in the world. He designs golf courses that everybody loves to play. And I don't know what's going to happen over here in Pete Dye's locker up there in the World Golf Hall of Fame because I don't know whether they're going to put fescue, bahia, bentgrass, cooch, railway ties or maybe even the pothole bunkers at the 14th hole at Harbour Town, which is one of my favorite golf courses and the first Pete Dye golf course I ever played.
          Before I bring Pete out here, I want to read off the awards and accolades that Pete Dye has got. This will be Pete's 12th award. Pete has got the Donald Ross Award from the American Society of golf course architects; the Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America; the Golf World Magazine Architect of the Year Award; the Sagamore Wabash, from the State of Indiana; the Red Coat Award from the Anthonys of Fort Wayne; Ohio Hall of Fame; Indiana Hall of Fame; Family of the Year Award from the NGF; Indiana Pathfinder Award; Doctor of Landscape Architecture from the Purdue University; and honorary member of the Indiana PGA.
          Pete, welcome to the World Golf Hall of Fame. You are truly an inspiration to me. You've been an inspiration as a professional and also as a friend, and Pete, welcome. (Applause.)

          After Greg Norman introduced his good friend, world-renown ASGCA Golf Course Architect, Pete Dye, the audience at the 2008 World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony gave Dye a standing ovation as he walked on-stage and up to the to the podium. Norman then took a seat in the audience next to Pete’s wife, world-renown ASGCA Golf Course Architect, Alice Dye. When the applause finally died down Pete Dye, the newly inducted Hall of Fame member, began his very humorous and down-to-earth acceptance speech as thusly transcribed here verbatim.

Greg Norman and Alice Dye as viewed on one of two giant screens while Pete Dye spoke at the 2008 World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on 11/10/08.Greg Norman and Alice Dye as viewed on one of two giant screens while Pete Dye spoke at the 2008 World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on 11/10/08.

PETE DYE: Greg said enough about me, and it's cold enough, maybe we should all just go home (audience laughter).
          But really, I surely wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my mom and dad, so I've got to thank them. They're the ones that got me here, some way or another. I don't know what they did, but something happened.
          You know, two of our posthumous inductees tonight, Denny Shute and Herbert Wind, I'm one of the few that’s been around long enough to have known them both. Denny Shute used to make exhibitions during World War II, and when I was a kid we used to go watch him play. He was really great.
          And then when I was working in the Dominican Republic, Herbert Warren Wind showed up down there to do an article in Golf Digest, and boy, was I elated. This man was pretty well known and was going to write about me. I thought it was wonderful.
          So he was down there and he asked me all these different questions and went around and around and around, and finally he left, and in about the second sentence of his article he said, "Pete Dye is totally illiterate in two languages, Spanish and English." (Pete's Speech continued below)

Friends and Associates at Pete Dye’s Hall Of Fame Reception 11/9/08
Friends and Associates at Pete Dye’s Hall Of Fame Reception 11/9/08

          Last night was really a great night. There were 67 young men that have been pushing dirt with me for the last few years that came in to St. Augustine and had a little reception for me. Some of them came all the way from Greece, another one all the way from Seattle. So they're great people, and they're the guys that have really pushed me to this point. (Pete's Speech continued below)

3. Jean Schmidt - ASGCA SPOUCE
9. Jean Dye - P.B. DYE’S SPOUCE
12. Carlos Perez - JOSE MIRON’S SON
13. “Chepe” Jose Miron - GOLF COURSE DEVELOPER
14. Bill Coore - ASGCA MEMBER
15. Lee Scmidt - ASGCA MEMBER
19. Laurie Thompson - PETE & ALICE’S EXC. ASSISTANT
20. Brian Curley - ASGCA MEMBER
24. Shannon Meeks - PETE & ALICE’S EXC. ASSISTANT
27. Shirley Grandstaff - Gary GrandRANDSTAFF’S SPOUCE
34. Bobby Weed - ASGCA MEMBER

36. Diane Darsch - PETE & ALICE’S EXC. ASSISTANT
38. Derick Anderson - PETE’S LONG TIME FRIEND
40. Timothy Liddy - ASGCA MEMBER
41. Leslie Weed - BOBBY WEED’S SPOUCE
42. David Postlewaite - GOLF COURSE BUILDER & DESIGNER
44. Nelson Caron - FORD PLANTATION
48. Steve Friedlander - DIRECTOR OF GOLF – PELICAN HILL
49. Ann Langkau - MIKE LANGAU’S SPOUCE
50. Christ Sherman - ASGCA SPOUCE
51. Scot Sherman - ASGCA MEMBER
52. Mike Langkau - GOLF COURSE BUILDER

          And also I want to thank my bride. She's been with me 58, almost 59 years now, so we’re hanging pretty good, and our two boys, P.B. and Perry Dye, are both members of the American Society of Architects. They've been digging up other people's property just like me.
          But we've had a great time. And Greg, I still don't know how you ever shot 24-under up here, and I never will get over it (laughter). But I really have come back to the TPC five times now to rebuild it, and maybe if I hang around a little longer Mr. Finchem will let me do it one more time and I might get it right the next time. It's been really fun.
          And my dad, I have to get back to him. In 1923, he had never played golf, and one time his car broke down while going through Farmington, Pennsylvania, and he had to stop there and there was a little nine-hole golf course there at the Summit Hotel, and he had to wait on his car to be fixed, so he hit these golf balls and he got hooked on golf.
          He didn't have much experience, but the following year he went back to our little town of Urbana, Ohio, and I’ll always remember hearing my dad say “I'm from Urbana, Ohio,” and he built a little nine-hole golf course on some land that my mother's family owned, and my son P.B. came back 70 years later in1993 and built the second nine-hole at the Urbana Country Club. Urbana is a very conservative little town. We don't move too fast there.
          But my dad, he had a group of members in this little private club and it was doing quite well. When I arrived in the world, I first remember just going out there with him. He gave me a job, and I got a hose and I watered the greens with just a garden hose. So I stayed there and I worked on that golf course every summer until the start of the war.
          And at that time the superintendent or greenskeeper got drafted, and so at 16 I'm now the greenskeeper of Urbana Country Club, and I surely know everything about it. Somehow or another, I was able to kill all the greens. (laughter) My father wasn't too pleased about that, so he shipped me off to the Army in 1944.
          I ended up in the parachute infantry. I want to tell everybody how I won the war, but really all I did was jump out over Georgia and North Carolina, and somehow or another, when we got to North Carolina, I ended up at Fort Bragg, and Mr. Truman did a little something to stop the war, and I had six months left to stay in.
          So they didn't want to jump anymore, so I'm now the greenskeeper at the Fort Bragg golf course. I didn't really have any trouble there because they had sand greens, and I couldn't kill them (laughter). So I had a great time, went over to see Pinehurst every day and played the golf course at Pinehurst No. 2 for six solid months, and I got to know Mr. Donald Ross.
          He had built the Fort Bragg golf course, and he said, “don't do much damage to those greens over there,” and I said, “no, we'll hang in there.” But I got to know him quite well, and he would come over and watch us play golf, and most of the time the captain and colonel hauled me over there. They didn't know who Mr. Ross was, but the other fellow walking with him was JC Penney, and they all new him (laughter).
          Really this is a great thing tonight, I'm really pleased. So after the war, the greatest thing that ever happened to me in 1950 I married Alice O'Neill, and we're off again, there we go, and I start peddling insurance and I leave Urbana because I couldn't stand Urbana; I had to go to her town. She got me into the Country Club of Indianapolis, and I managed to kill all the grass there, too.
          Somehow or another, a farmer south of Indianapolis wanted to build a golf course, and called us and talked to us, but he didn't have any money, so he said why don't you kids come down and build it for us?
          We went down and built the El Dorado nine holes, and we thought we had the second coming of Oakmont, we really did. Alice made little cards and sent them out to all our friends, and she sent one to Mr. Tufts, who owned Pinehurst and was the past president of the United States Golf Association.
          Mr. Tufts wrote a real nice letter back to her saying, it's wonderful of you kids to build this nine-hole golf course, but don't you think crossing the creek 13 times in nine holes is a little too much? So the real reason we're standing here tonight is from the University of Michigan, Dr. Harland Hatcher, and not very many people from University of Michigan, know that Harland Hatcher actually graduated from Ohio State, but he was a Scotsman, and he would drive down from Ann Arbor to Indianapolis, and being a Scotsman he saw this little Eldorado Golf Course sign. Dr. Hatcher was at best, about a 20-handicap player. I can assure you that Ben Hogan and Bob Jones and Tiger, and Greg, had a couple good rounds, too, but the greatest round of golf probably ever played was by Dr. Harland Hatcher when he got around those 13 creeks.
          Somehow or another he had been trying to talk Trent Jones and Dick Wilson into building a second course for the University of Michigan, and he called me and I went up there, and somehow or another I ended up building the Michigan golf course. That was the first one.
          At that time all I knew was Trent Jones, so I made big long tees and big old greens and big high flashy bunkers, and so I'd run into Mr. Jones later on, and he would say, well, Pete, you've done some pretty good work, but really, I think that course you built for the University of Michigan is your best (laughter).
          At the same time I was in Michigan, there was the old course there right next to the stadium. I didn't know who this guy was, but his name was Dr. Alister McKenzie. I later found out that he had built a few good golf courses, Augusta and a couple others. So I went over and looked at his greens, and they were the most unusual looking greens I had ever seen. I said, “Why am I copying Mr. Jones? This guy over here, he's got a different style.”
          So I got a chance to build back in Indianapolis. Nobody else would hire me, so Alice optioned some ground and raised some money, and we started Crooked Stick. So I brought the two greens from the University of Michigan out there to Crooked Stick, that's the 14th and 15th, that belonged to Mr. McKenzie.
          So I built Crooked Stick, and it's been a great club, and we've lived there, and that's kind of where we got started. The members there, they've been wonderful. They've had every USGA tournament that you can imagine. They had the Solheim Cup and they're going to have the USGA Senior next year and they're going to have FedExCup down the line, Mr. Finchem, I hope.
          But the Crooked Stick members, I understand out here tonight. I can't believe you came all the way to Jacksonville. You don't talk to me when I'm home (laughter).
          But really, what happened at Crooked Stick years ago when I got going, a young boy that used to caddie for me, his name was Mickey Powell. He later became president of the PGA, and we were talking and somehow or another Mickey got the PGA to go to Crooked Stick. You were there, Greg.
          You know, I had that course set up for you, Greg and then this guy John Daly came along and he could carry everything just a little bit, and John won the tournament at Crooked Stick in 1991. And, that was the same year, we got the chance to host the Ryder Cup at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island in South Carolina.
          I remember when I got to Kiawah and went down in I think it was 1988, and they came to me and said, well, we're going to have the Ryder Cup at Kiawah, and I'm looking at a piece of ground that didn't even have -- there was just nothing there. Hurricane Hugo was coming, too. I didn't know that, either (laughter).
          We finally got the Ryder Cup there, and Hale Irwin sneaked through the last day and it was a great tournament. So I had PGA Championship at Crooked Stick and the Ryder Cup at the Ocean Course at Kiawah at the same time. Well, that was a real thrill.
          I remember way back when Harbour Town came along and when Jack Nicklaus called me, and Jack said, you know, they want to build Harbour Town, on Hilton Head in South Carolina. I said, well, we went down and talked to them, and the routing of Harbour Town was already done by Golf Course Architect, Mr. George W. Cobb. So, apparently they had already routed the golf course.
          So Charles Frazier finally said we could build it, and Jack had an airplane so that made it easy getting back and forth, and Alice and I moved there. So we were doing all right, and Charles Price, the golf writer, came out and said, you know they're going to have a PGA Championship here.
          We started building the golf course in November, and Charles came out, and I said, well, fine, they must be having one on the Ocean Course, and we kept going along, and all of a sudden they came back and said, no, they're going to have it on your course. I said, well, we haven't even got it cleared, and they're going to have it in November.
          Anyhow, we tried to accelerate the thing. Jack would come back and want to change something. He said, on the 15th hole, we'll build that kind of a green. I said, Jack, that's only 2,500 square feet. He said, that's big enough. I can get over that green and I'm going to put it there so nobody else can get there. I said, fine.
          Going behind all this, I was getting a little back, and my bride was there, Alice was there, and I said, Ally, we're getting behind and this tournament is coming down the line. I said, there's a good bulldozer operator named T.P., can you take him over to the 13th hole and do something. So she disappears and goes over there, and I came back three or four days later and here the tees are built and the bunkers are built. And she was smarter than I was, she didn't use those railroad ties, she put cypress boards outside of the bunker.
          So I was there the day the tournament started, and I was putting the sand in the bunker that day, and I kept looking down the fairway, and finally here comes the first golf professional. So we got out of the bunker and tamped it down and I went to the back of the green to kind of watch these two fellows play, and I had coveralls on, and it looked about like this, a little better than tonight.
          Two guys were standing back there and talking, and one said to the other, isn't this a lovely golf hole that Jack Nicklaus built? Well, I said -- looking at him, "Jack Nicklaus didn't have anything to do with that hole. A lovely young lady built that hole." They kind of stared at me, and I walked away, and I heard one guy say to the other, "There goes an early morning drunk for you (laughter)."

The two world-renowned ASGCA Golf Course Architects, Alice and Pete Dye, were married in 1950.
The two world-renowned ASGCA Golf Course Architects, Alice and Pete Dye, were married in 1950.

          I don't know how this all happened. Deane Beman, then commissioner of the PGA TOUR called me, and told me they're trying to build a golf course in Jacksonville. So we came up and we looked at all this nice, sandy ground around Jacksonville and came around, and all of a sudden, he said, I think I've got a good deal over here for some land. I want you to meet this fellow by the name of Vern Kelly. Mr. Kelly came out, and eventually he became a pretty good friend.
          But the first time I met Vernon Kelly, president of PGA TOUR Golf Course Properties, Mr. Kelly kind of took me to this property, and he had a special way to go around to get into the middle of this property, and he found the only dry spot on 400 acres, and he said, look at this tree coverage. I says, "You can't even see." So Deane got a great deal and he bought the land for a dollar. I don't know why he ever paid him that (laughter).
          But anyhow, we started out and brought a young superintendent, and Dave came there. We started digging, and six months later I was about ready to call Deane and say, Deane, I don't think we're ever going to get out of here alive, I don't think. But finally we got her done, and the TPC -- Dave Postlethwait was a great building superintendent, he ran a bulldozer and track hoe, he could do everything. He was really a marvelous person.
          Then somehow or another, Dave becomes the greenskeeper, when he's never cut a blade of grass in his life. So the first year we got out alive, Jerry Pate won the tournament and of course puts Deane in the pond. And I of course never thought he was going to push me, but he did. (laughter)
Golf Course Architect Pete Dye with transit          We got by the first year okay. But the second year they got a new superintendent, cut the greens a little shorter and started a bit of a revolution down there. They were ready to kill me. The second year was really bad.
          But I really appreciate Deane letting me come back, and we went over the greens and Bobby Weed softened them, and Mr. Finchem let me come back again a couple years ago, and we went over the Tournament Players Club one more time, and we're doing, I think, a little better. People are not quite so mad, and it's draining a little better and so forth. I really appreciate coming back.
          But the only thing, when I get to thinking, we’ve been back here five times redoing it. We should have 90 holes but we've still just got 18.
          And then after the revolution at the tournament players club I sneaked off to the Dominican Republic, and I went down there to build a golf course, and I convinced them to build in the country. You see, they had a big sugar plantation out there, but they didn't have a paved road within 35 miles, and I kept saying, well, look, building a golf course, people will eventually get here somehow or another. So they let me start building a golf course out there.
          One of the vice presidents came up after I had been there about three or four months, and he kind of stuttered, he said “Pete, today I can't speak Spanish or English. We own over 500,000 acres down here, and you're not even building on our property (laughter).
          Well, the owners down there have been putting up with me since 1970. I don't know why they haven't shot me, but they haven't. And if I hold on long enough, I'll build nine more holes. I've got nine holes under construction down there, and if I do, Mr. Finchem, they will have 90 holes. They will have 90 holes down there.
          Anyhow, I know that there are three people out here that are trustees of your organization, and I've been building golf courses for all of them, including Mr. Evans who now has Oak Tree Golf Club in Edmund Oklahoma, where I had my first major championship. It's kind of fallen apart, so we may eventually have to go back and push a little more dirt out there. And Mr. Kohler is out there. I've been pushing his stuff around for so long. We're still speaking, though. Just barely, but we're still speaking. He's going to have the PGA Championship in '10 and '15 and hopefully -- I hope I get to see somebody set this up and tell us what happened in the Ryder Cup in 2020. And then Mr. Goodwin is here and he's got the Ocean Course where we had the 1991 Ryder Cup and we're going to have the PGA Championship in 2012. So, how many people have I forgotten?
          Well, now we’ve also got Mr. Cook, and Mr. Ferguson here. They’ve bought the old French Lick Resort at West Baden Springs in southern Indiana. That's where Larry Bird was from, and they've done a great job, restored the whole area down there, and they've given me the highest point in Indiana to build a golf course.
          And I know they think I should be done by now, but we're just a little late and just a little over budget. But I hope to have -- the PGA has come by and they said, and I hope they're going to have their club professional championship there in the year 2010. Also, at French Lick Resort they have the old Donald Ross golf course that was built back in 1917, which is where Walter Hagen won the PGA in 1924 and Mickey Wright won the LPGA down there in 1960.
          Well, a good friend of mine, Lee Schmidt, came in and rebuilt the old Ross course and left the greens and the mounds just like they were back in 1917. So now here's an old Ross golf course with Bermudagrass in the fairways, and the contour from back to front, and the greens that roll five and six feet. And I have this new bentgrass golf course up on top of the hill, hopefully that will have a Stimpmeter reading of 12, which the golfers will play and then they'll go down and play the one that Mr. Ross built at six on the Stimpmeter, and on Bermudagrass. And once the club professionals get wind of that, there will probably be another revolution.
Thanks a lot. Great to be here.

Page 8-12 From Winter 2009 Florida Golf Magazine ©Copyright 2009, All Rights Reserved. Subscribe at