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Pete Dye, a Giant among Golf Course Architects, Has Left His Mark on South Carolina

Bob Gillespie Bob Gillespie
Bob is a former sports writer at Columbia’s The State newspaper. He enjoys golf at South Carolina’s 350-plus courses, and after a round, sampling craft beers from the Palmetto State’s breweries.
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Pete Dye, 92, is one of America's foremost modern golf course architects designing such iconic South Carolina golf courses as the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island and Hilton Head Island's Harbour Town Golf Links, home to the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing.

South Carolina is blessed to be home to 15 golf courses designed in whole or in part by the man once called the "Marquis de Sod." Ten are public-access courses - and of those, seven are recognized as either built solely or primarily by Dye.

We wanted to select the most notable Dye holes from courses that are open for public play. Some are no-brainers - Harbour Town's iconic 18th, backed by the club's lighthouse; The Ocean Course's par-3 17th, which helped decide the 1991 Ryder Cup - while others are close calls for the "Dye Dream 18." Feel free to create your own list, but here's our lineup:

No. 1 - Barefoot Resort Dye Course 7th

Par 4

Barefoot's No. 2 handicap hole (435 yards from the championship tees, 375 member tees) kicks off the round with a long par 4, featuring one of Dye's favorite elements - lots of sand - running the length of the left side.

No. 2 - Heron Point 10th

Par 4

This shorter hole (367 yards maximum, 329 Sea Pines tees) is a classic Dye "risk-reward" hole - tempting to the longer driver, but with a large oak guarding the right side and a creek off to the left.

No. 3 - Barefoot Resort Dye Course 8th

Par 5

Just 486 yards from the championship tees, but the fairway narrows considerably approaching the green; reachable for long hitters and a birdie opportunity.

No. 4 - Ocean Course 14th

Par 3

Perhaps the most breathtaking (and punishing) hole at Kiawah Island, with the tee sitting 151-194 yards and above a mounded green and the Atlantic Ocean and beach all along the right side. Ocean breezes dictate club selection and can blow shots anywhere.

No. 5 - Prestwick 9th

Par 5

The mirror image of Prestwick's par-4 18th, this 537-507 yard bear wraps around the right side of the club's large lake and features mounding along the fairway. The elevated green is heavily guarded by deep bunkers.

No. 6 - Ocean Course 13th

Par 4

A narrow, mounded driving hole of 404-371 yards, with the course's signature sand dunes along the left side and water running tee-to-green along the right. Did we mention the ocean breezes coming into play?

No. 7 - Heron Point 18th

Par 4

After playing in the old-growth forest for previous holes, this 403-366-yard dogleg left emerges into the wind, wrapping around the lake and finishing at a small, tucked green with mounding right and water left. You'll likely have to carry water on the approach.

No. 8 - Harbour Town 17th

Par 3

This 185-152-yard par-3 over marsh to an elevated green guarded left and back by deep bunkers is Harbour Town's second-most photographed behind No. 18. No wonder, with Calibogue Sound serving as a backdrop.

No. 9 - Windermere 18th

Par 5

Lake Windermere runs the length of the left side of this 531-475-yard slight dogleg left, while heavily-grassed hillsides flank the right. A small green guarded by the lake left and bunkers front and right make for interesting choices on the approach.

No. 10 - Robbers Row 18th

Par 5

This course, originally designed by George Cobb and reinvented by Dye in 1994, but the 18th is true Dye: a long par-5 that favors a tee shot on the left side (big hitters can cut the corner), and a pond in front forcing players to lay up, then play to the deep green.

No. 11 - Windermere 14th

Par 4

This reachable par-4 (310-267 yards) is classic Dye risk-reward. Bunkers dot the landing areas and the green sits high above the fairway, resulting in a semi-blind approach. Or play down the elevated right side - but risk going out of bounds.

No. 12 - Prestwick 5th

Par 3

Carrying the creek and all that sand between tee and green (195-164 yards) is a start, but the subtle interior sloping of the green can send balls rolling far from the hole. And of course, no Dye par-3 would be complete without bulkheads.

No. 13 - Harbour Town 13th

Par 4

The classic Pete Dye hole: not overly long (373-324 yards), but a devilish approach shot into a small, elevated green guarded by a wraparound, horseshoe-shaped bunker and, of course, Dye's trademark bulkheads around the green. Warning: don't go in the sand.

No. 14 - Heron Point 4th

Par 3

There's water all along the right side, though Dye left room to bail out left. Of course, if you're hitting from the 230-yard back tees, then that might be easier said than done. Bulkheads guarding the water side of the green? What do you think?

No. 15 - Prestwick 17th

Par 5

Head professional Jay Smith calls this "one of the hardest par-5's on the beach." A creek runs along the left side, cutting in front of the green. It can be reachable in two, but during Myrtle Beach's World Amateur, most of the double-digit scores happen here.

No. 16 - Barefoot Resort Dye Course 18th

Par 4

There's water all along the left side of this dogleg-left hole of 415-368 yards that turns back toward the clubhouse, and typical Dye mounding all along the right side to catch those trying to avoid the water. A great finishing hole, says pro Travis Dutcher.

No. 17 - Ocean Course 17th

Par 3

In the 1991 Ryder Cup, Europe's Colin Montgomerie and the US' Mark Calcavecchia took turns drowning tee shots. It's 197-152 yards over the pond, but ocean winds and a shallow green angled left-front to right-back makes it a nerve-racking shot.

No. 18 - Harbour Town 18th

Par 4

This is one of the PGA Tour's iconic holes, with the Harbour Town Lighthouse as a backdrop. Hitting 452-414 yards into the prevailing winds, with Calibogue Sound and marshes all along the left side, is tough; hitting the small green with bunkers in front is an adventure for everyone.

Honorable mention -- Windermere 10th

Par 5

A true three-shot hole (509 yards from the back), all uphill to a fortress-like, elevated green guarded right and below by a huge bunker. Don't miss it there.

Bob Gillespie
Bob is a former sports writer at Columbia’s The State newspaper. He enjoys golf at South Carolina’s 350-plus courses, and after a round, sampling craft beers from the Palmetto State’s breweries.