PGA Golf Club – Dye Course (restoration)
It’s during this time of year when much of the U.S is under a blanket of snow and frigid temperatures, which is always a good time to focus on those warm weather destinations that offer the finest hospitality and golf to our northern friends.
There’s a big revitalization going on at the PGA of America’s flagship golf property – PGA Village in Port St.Lucie, Florida. Jimmy Terry, the club’s General Manager is leading the effort of a five year improvement plan and it shows. During the season it’s not uncommon for PGA Golf club to host 600 rounds per day on its 72 holes of Championship Golf. When we arrived on a gorgeous sun drenched January afternoon the club was playing host to the annual PGA Senior-Junior Team Championship.
I have to admit it was our first time at PGA Village in many years, word had reached me from my travel scribe brethren that the recently renovated Dye Course was worthy of our attention. Since PGA Village is just an hour from our home base in West Palm, it became front and center on our radar as we learned of the Dye re-opening last fall. After an amazing lunch at the club’s Taplow Pub, it was off to our round on the Dye.
The Dye course was the third championship layout built at PGA Golf Club, opening in 2000 after the two Tom Fazio designs – Wanamaker and Ryder (formerly known as the North and South courses). St.Lucie Trail rounds out the stable of championship routings for the club (originally designed by Jim Fazio, it has also undergone a similar facelift back in 2014). PGA Village is obviously very involved in growing the game, and the 6-Hole Family Short course is a great example of that. If tuning up your game is the focus, the 35 acre PGA learning center is one of the finest of its kind in the world.
After 15 years the Dye layout had lost some of its luster, so an overhaul was in order. Although Pete Dye gave his approval on the work, it was Head Agronomist Dick Gray and staff that went to work restoring the links style beauty. “All we did was restore the greens back to Pete’s original intent, and put new skin on them, Gray said.” “Then we just re-faced the bunkers.” Gray and his staff also uncovered bunkers that had become overgrown by bermuda turf over the years. New Celebration turf in the fairways and Tif-eagle greens restored to Dye’s original dimensions have it looking and playing better than ever.
As you can see from the photo above, it was a picture perfect January day in South Florida for our spin around the Dye course. The par-5 seventh is very gettable, but the task becomes robust if your tee shot finds this wicked combination of sand and turf that guards the right side of the fairway. Not sure what it says about you if you fancy this bunker compound, but I do . . . maybe it’s because Pete Dye has a way of creating demonic golf landscapes that are beautiful. Whatever the reason, I find that the more I experience Pete’s designs, the more affinity I gain for his sinister work.
The tranquil setting at the Dye is a blend of some of the best natural Florida surroundings – mature Slash and Loblolly Pines, wetlands, coquina waste areas and of course clear blue skies. There are no hardscapes to be seen (other than the halfway house snack bar between the ninth green and tenth tees). The complex around the 11th green (shown above) offers more extreme obstacles the further you get from the putting surface. Note the angled and raised pot bunker that’s circled by 6 ft of thick bermuda rough some 40 yards from the pin. Is it Picasso, mad scientist or genius? Perhaps all three, but one thing it’s not – is ordinary.
Pete Dye gives the golfer a less intimidating visual from the tee here than on many of his more famous layouts like Kiawah Ocean, Whistling Straits and TPC Sawgrass, but just like those, hitting the correct side of the fairway is paramount to having the best angle for each approach.
Spending the day on the updated Dye was a blast, conditions were superb and the course provided more than it’s fair share of challenges (we used every club in the bag). Coming down the finishing holes at gloaming is a sight and a day that we won’t soon forget. We look forward to our next visit to PGA Viillage, where later this spring we’ll feature the St.Lucie Trails Course.
For more info: https://www.pgavillage.com/