I called Pete Dye at his winter home in Delray Beach, Fla., this morning to find out if there was any truth to a report in Golf World last month that he and Herb Kohler, the plumbing fixtures maven and golf developer, were considering building a course near Bandon Dunes.
“Ah, that’s pretty remote,” Pete said, a little ruefully. “I don’t know about that one.”
I asked him what’s going on at Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic, where he’s been a fixture since the late 1960’s. “We’ve got 90 holes there now,” he chirped.
“You mean you’ve got the second nine done at Dye Fore?” I asked.
“Yup. It’ll probably open in June.” Not bad for a guy 85 years young.
We exchanged a few pleasantries. Then Pete said he had to go. Probably to beat his fellow members’ brains out at Delray Beach CC, where he routinely shoots well under his age.
Back to Casa de Campo. The plan from the start was that Pete and his wife Alice, who has more influence on the design and strategy of a Pete Dye course than is generally credited, would build a second 18 at Dye Fore and split the current layout in half to create North and South courses.
It’s taken awhile. Pete took me on a tour of his handiwork in 2007. Most of the new holes appeared to be nearly done. “Hey, that’s how it is down there,” he chuckled when I asked why it’s taken so long. Never a discouraging word from the Marquis de Sod.
Dye Fore, which tiptoes along bluffs 300 feet above the Chavon River, is a perfect bookend to Teeth of the Dog, his seaside masterpiece opened 40 years ago. I love Diente del Perro, especially in the wake of Pete’s recent upgrades, but for a majestic, grand-scale test that pulls out all the stops, Dye Fore has few rivals anywhere in the world. More than any other course he’s built, Dye Fore reveals the old dirt devil’s extraordinary will and imagination. That’s true even if you skip past the black tees at 7,740 yards.