These Pete Dye-Designed Golf Courses Are Only a Drive Away
Get a true appreciation for one of golf’s great course designers on this stellar driving tour.
Here's an interesting theme for a golf trip: destination by architect. And what better course-design guru to choose as our focal point than Pete Dye? He’s designed some of the world’s most iconic golf courses, including Kiawah’s Ocean Course, TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course, Harbour Town Golf Links, Teeth of the Dog, Whistling Straits, Brickyard Crossing and more. There are four great Dye courses within a day’s drive—all with play-and-stay options.
Mystic Rock Golf Course
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Farmington, Pa.
Nestled in the Allegheny Highlands, 70 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, is the 2,000-acre Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and its Mystic Rock course. Mystic Rock is signature Dye, a par-72 layout (once the PGA Tour stop for the 84 Lumber Classic) with a rating of 77 and a slope of 149, making it one of the highest difficulties in the country. But you may just forget Dye’s challenge ahead as you take in Pennsylvania’s mountain scenery.
The final three holes are Dye’s favorites of any of his courses: a par 5 with an island green, a long par 3 guarded by water the entire way, and a long, uphill par 4 where bogey awaits. It’s no surprise that Mystic Rock has been named the No. 1 public course in Pennsylvania by wwmagazine.
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort
Until recently, Nemacolin featured another 18 holes at its Links course, which is now closed. The good news is that a portion of that course will make way for a new 18-hole Pete Dye layout, which is currently being constructed, with plans for nine holes to open sometime in 2017.
Whether you’re coming for a buddies’ trip or with the family, the AAA Five-Diamond-rated Nemacolin resort offers several distinct lodging options—hotel, townhomes, private homes, even RV camping—and 10 on-site restaurants, ranging from fine dining to pub fare. And while you are this close, take a side trip to see Fallingwater, the National Historic Landmark house built over a waterfall by America’s most famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.
Rates start at $129 with caddies; stay-and-play packages available from $249 per night, depending on season.
1001 Lafayette Drive, (866) 344-6957, www.nemacolin.com
Pound Ridge Golf Club
Pound Ridge, N.Y.
Dye took this great property and utilized the full 172 acres of magnificent cliffs, streams, dense woodlands, and several rock outcroppings. Where the stone didn’t occur naturally, Dye relocated 14,000 linear feet of rock to frame tee boxes, water hazards, and wetlands.
Hole 5 Pound Ridge Golf Club
You’ll love the par 5 13th hole, with its giant, center-of-the-fairway boulder, aptly named Pete’s Rock, which sometimes even penalizes a good shot down the middle. The rocky theme continues on the par-3 15th, where a tee shot over a nature preserve is framed on the right by a large rock complex that runs the length of an elongated 9,000-square-foot green. Even a tee shot hit on the green does not guarantee par on this monster (as I can attest to). The “Headstone” hole may have you shaking your head after this geological challenge.
Although there are no on-site stay-and-play options, Pound Ridge has partnered with the nearby Delamar Greenwich Harbor hotel in Greenwich, Conn., to offer lodging for its golfers. The facility features 82 deluxe rooms and suites with a waterfront terrace, private dock, wrought-iron balconies, marble bathrooms and working fireplaces. An award-winning on-site restaurant, L’escale is an excellent dining option.
Be sure to check out nearby Greenwich, with its quintessential downtown and wonderful shops and eateries lining the main street.
Stay-and-play package offered seven days a week and includes a round of golf per person and one night’s accommodations. Weekday rates start at $455, weekends $499 (single occupancy).
Bulle Rock Golf Course
Havre de Grace, Md.
The Course at Bulle Rock
Dye’s canvas for this was 235 acres—and from it, he created one of the best daily- fee courses in the country. Bulle Rock has garnered all kinds of top course listings in many golf publications, is consistently rated the best public course in the state, and hosted the LPGA Championship from 2005 to 2009.
Yes, you have all the Dye essential ingredients: challenging greens, split fairways, risk/reward shot choices, and an 18th hole that is as good as any you will ever play. This demanding finishing hole has water on the entire left side and around the back of the green. The 13th hole is also quite memorable, featuring a long, dogleg-right par 4 with bunkers and a ravine with an old stone foundation running alongside. You’ll need a lengthy, accurate second shot into a well-guarded green to beat Pete on this one.
After your round, make sure you check out the crab cakes at Silks Restaurant in the Bulle Rock clubhouse.
320 Blenheim Lane, (410) 939-8887, www.bullerockgolf.com
Full Cry at Keswick Hall and Golf Club
The name pays homage to the property’s foxhunting history—a term indicating the sounds of the hounds in full pursuit. Your pursuit of par will be just as challenging, though in a different way than some of Dye’s other courses. You’ll be able to hit a lot of fairways, which are more generous and less penal. Here, you will earn your money on your approach shot, navigating the small greens and the protective use of mounds and bunkering.
Keswick Hall's Full Cry Course
Dye took a course last renovated by Arnold Palmer in 1992 and made it his own. The finished product has all the Dye trademarks. It also has railroad ties in some places, and he even found a way to repurpose materials from the previous course’s cart paths for edging and borders.
The par 3 seventh hole is the Dye we all know and love—an island green, except with sand all around instead of water, and the signature railroad ties flanking the outer edges. The holes from 7 to 17 have been dubbed “The Gauntlet”—my favorite part of the course. The 17th is called the “Railroad Hole” since the bridge to the tee box has been repurposed from a flatbed railroad car.
Dye installed six sets of tees at Full Cry, the shortest creating a 4,809-yard course. From the tips, its a whopping 7,134 yards. The small greens require accuracy, and you can hit fairways all day and still shoot bogey because of the demanding second and third shots needed.
Full Cry is the perfect accompaniment to Keswick Hall, an impressive 48-room mansion nestled on 600 acres. The rooms and suites feature a full range of amenities, including premium bedding and linens, luxurious bath items, and complimentary high-speed Internet access, snacks and beverages.
The acclaimed Fossett's restaurant offers Southern-inspired local and seasonal menus. Its floor-to-ceiling windows provide stunning panoramic views of the golf course and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Two of Thomas Jefferson’s best creations are nearby and worthy of a visit: the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and his home, Monticello. Charlottesville is great for a day trip of its own to explore the grounds of the university and the vibrant downtown. Several stay-and-play packages are available.
701 Club Drive, (888) 778-2565, www.keswick.com