As the countrdown continues to the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel profiles ASGCA Past President Pete Dye. Award-winning journalist Gary D’Amato looks at Dye’s relationship with Herb Kohler, which has led to four course designs in Wisconsin, and what fans can expect at the upcoming tournament.
“The man who designed all four courses for Kohler Co., including Whistling Straits, site of the 97th PGA Championship (Aug. 13-16) has been called a genius and an artist. He is both of those things. He’s also been called ‘the only architect who can outspend an unlimited budget.’ Yes, he may be that, too.
“In so many ways, Dye is a throwback. A former insurance salesman, he had no formal training as a golf course architect and shuns 21st-century technology. He’s more comfortable pushing dirt in a ‘dozer or walking a routing in mud-splattered khakis than he is attending cocktail parties at course openings.
“He has never drawn up fancy plans for a golf course, unless you count holes sketched on a napkin a fancy plan.
“‘Pete Dye designs everything from his vision — the vision of a visionary,’ says Herbert V. Kohler Jr., who hired Dye in the mid-1980s to build Blackwolf Run and kept rehiring him even though they fought, at times, like brothers.
“‘He walks the course,’ Kohler says. ‘He puts a dot for a tee, a dot for the landing area and a dot for his green and that’s the last time pencil hits paper.’
“Or, as Dye explains the process, ‘I never have drawn plans. I go out there and I yell at (the shapers) and scream at them and talk to them. Most of ’em come out pretty good, I guess.’
“Pretty good? Ten of the top 100 courses in America, according to Golf Digest magazine’s 2015-’16 ranking, are Dye designs. The Straits Course at Whistling Straits is No. 22 on the list and the River Course at Blackwolf Run is No. 91.”
D’Amato’s entire article can be found here.