For more information about Pete Dye Golf Trail courses, go to www.petedyegolftrail.com or to www.visitindiana.com for golf discounts and trip ideas.
Attention golfers of all skill levels: Two years ago, Indiana inaugurated a golf trail comprised of seven courses.
They range from scenic Culver on Lake Maxinkuckee and the college atmosphere in West Lafayette to Hamilton County suburbs and the urban experience in Indianapolis where one course has four holes inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The trail culminates at Golf Digest's 2010 Public Course of the Year at French Lick Resort.
All the courses have one thing in common: Each was designed by Indiana resident and legendary golf course architect Pete Dye, who resides at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, which he designed with his wife, Alice.
The Pete Dye Golf Trail is a collection of unique courses from the more than 20 around Indiana designed by Dye, who many consider to be the father of modern golf course architecture.
Three of the courses are in Indianapolis. They are Maple Creek Golf & Country Club, Brickyard Crossing Golf Course and The Fort Golf Course, the latter of which is located on the former Fort Benjamin Harrison military post — now Fort Harrison State Park.
Dye redesigned the Fort Harrison course for just $1. He provided his expertise for the same price to redesign the Kampen Golf Course at Purdue University in West Lafayette, and students in the Agriculture School provided the labor to move the dirt, create the huge waste bunkers and numerous ponds, and seed the fairways and greens.
The remaining three courses are Mystic Hills Golf Course in Culver, Plum Creek Golf Club in Carmel and the Pete Dye Course at French Lick.
All seven courses are unique and challenging. Gov. Mitch Daniels said at the golf trail announcement, “This trail is a treasure that will take visitors on an incredible golf journey throughout the state and showcase some of Pete's most prominent works.”
Be advised that the Pete Dye Course at French Lick costs $350 for 18 holes, another $30 for a caddie (everyone must have a caddie) and, of course, a generous tip for the caddie. The other courses on the trail range from $45 to $90 for 18 holes on a busy weekend.
Before getting into designing courses, Dye was an insurance salesman and a champion amateur golfer.
He won the Indiana State Amateur Championship in 1958 and was runner-up twice. He posted a better score in the 1957 U.S. Open than Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.
His wife won nine Indiana State championships, two U.S. Senior Women's Amateur Golf Championships, the 1968 North & South Championship at Pinehurst, N.C., and two Canadian Senior Women's Championships.
The two of them worked together to build their first course, a nine-holer, south of Indianapolis called El Dorado, which now is known as Royal Oak Country Club. Their next venture was an 18-hole course they named Heather Hills; it's now Maple Creek Golf & Country Club.
In 1963, a tour of Scottish golf courses profoundly influenced Dye's subsequent designs. He began incorporating features such as pot bunkers, wooden bulkheads, undulating fairways and smaller greens.
Dye is only the fifth course architect to be honored by the World Golf Hall of Fame with the Lifetime Achievement Award.