Some consider Pete Dye to be the most famous golf architect of the past 50 years, with a reputation as a creative genius and one of the most imaginative course designers in the world. Pete came about his career naturally, as his father designed and built a nine–hole golf course on his mother's farm in Urbana, Ohio, and Pete grew up playing and working on this course. Pete served in the 82nd Airborne Infantry of the United States after high school. Upon his discharge, he attended Rollins College, where he met his future wife Alice, and then enrolled in law school at Stetson University. From there, Pete became a star salesman for The Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company. During this time, Pete was also pursuing a golf career. He won the 1958 Indiana State Amateur Championship, the Indianapolis District Championship, and played in the 1957 United States Open, where he finished ahead of Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. Though a champion golfer, Pete's true interests were in the design and maintenance of golf courses, so he left the insurance business to design and build courses. Supported and accompanied by his wife, Pete built a nine–hole course called El Dorado, now titled Royal Oak Country Club, and an 18–hole course, Heather Hills, now named Maple Creek Country Club. Pete's subsequent designs were impacted by a 1963 trip to Scotland. Touring Scottish courses, Pete was influenced by their features, and he began to incorporate such concepts into his own designs. Pete's contributions to and understanding of the game of golf are evident in the impact his style has had on architecture. Besides being unique and incomparable, his designs were also environmentally friendly. The turf sessions Pete attended under Dr. William Daniel fostered his interest in course maintenance, and his projects featured his drainage and irrigation designs and wetlands areas, which still help recycle and purify water.
Pete Dye died on Jan. 9, 2020, at age 94.